The 2016 annual Youth Group Meeting was held over the weekend of 9-11 September in Utrecht, the Netherlands. EPF staff Valentina Strammiello and Danielle Flores organised the meeting and attended as representatives of the Secretariat.
This was the first meeting for new Youth Group member Laura Arnout (BE). After a welcome dinner on the evening of the 9th, the meeting kicked off the following Saturday morning. The group had a full agenda and began with members reporting back on their advocacy activities from the past few months.
It was an action-packed summer for members Polis Stavrou (CY), Thomas Hough (UK), and Borislava Ananieva (BG), as all three helped organise different patient youth camps in their respective countries. The group then spent the entire afternoon restructuring the roles and responsibilities with the group, which was no easy task! At the end of the first day, the group managed to squeeze in a bit of fun by participating in an “Escape Room” teambuilding exercise.
On Sunday, an election was held and the members elected Marlou Schenk to join the Youth Group Board as their new Treasurer. Then the group held a brainstorming session to generate ideas for their work plan for the upcoming year. In 2017, the Youth Group will produce a video on discrimination and also contribute to the planning and organisation of an EPF young patient leader summer school, with a focus on advocacy training and capacity building.
The Youth Group will continue to actively recruit new members in 2017, particularly focusing on the countries and disease areas that currently lack representation within the group. The Youth Group will also contribute to the upcoming EPF Access campaign, providing their unique perspective as young patients. The goals for the coming year are very ambitious but after this gathering of planning and networking, the EPF Youth Group is highly motivated and up for the challenge!
Danielle Flores, Junior Project Officer
Valentina Strammiello, Programme Officer and Youth Group Coordinator