Last update: 18/06/2021

Over the past decade, IDF Europe has organised annual Youth Leadership Camps (YLC). The aim of these camps is to support a new generation of young advocates and create a strong pan-European network, as well as strengthen IDF Europe’s engagement with youth. Reflecting the health situation in 2020, an online-based leadership training programme was developed as an alternative to the physical YLC. The Youth Leadership Lab (YLL) is a space for co-creation and collaborative thinking that alternates between educational sessions and social interaction to create a community of young advocates. 

The vision of the YLL and YLC aligns with IDF Europe’s aim to nurture, support and empower young emerging leaders. With a strong focus on ‘learning-by-doing’ and input from both expert guest speakers and fellow youth leaders, the YLL/YLC aims to motivate young leaders to advocate for better care, education and quality of life and to create projects that will have a positive impact on local, national and European diabetes communities.

Being welcomed into the international community and meeting others who also work to improve the lives of people living with diabetes is one of the most profound stepping stones towards becoming a strong leader and diabetes advocate.

IDF Europe decided to build further on the success of the first YLL and will again in 2021 hold a Youth Leadership Lab! The 2020 YLL graduates played an essential role in developing the 2021 LAB and are committed to providing mentorship to future lab participants.

This year’s LAB will start on June 21st and end on November 21st.

Please note applications for YLL 2021 are now closed


Click the image below to find out how to apply:

Youth Leadership Lab 2021 ExplanatoryDoc final

 Watch this short promotional video for this year's YLL:



The Youth Leadership Lab is made possible through the support of the Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes, Lilly Diabetes and Medtronic.

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Past editions

Youth Leadership Lab 2020

Participants from 14 different countries joined the first edition of the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Lab in 2020. The Lab took place from the 4th of August until the 14th of December. Two platforms were used to deliver the content and social aspects of the online youth leadership programme. Participants also had the opportunity to make use of Discord to share moments and memories with their fellow youth advocates.

The introduction of the #GoodNewsChannel helped participants share positive thoughts and good news stories to help cope with difficult periods of lockdown and the current global health crisis. The support received during the Lab was perceived as very valuable by many participants. “It’s amazing to have a community that feels like one big family, that we never met in real life but still know by heart”.

The 2020 programme consisted of weekly online sessions, alternating between education in the form of 1.5-hour webinars, Q&A sessions, best practice sharing and social gatherings. Spread over four months, various speakers joined the online sessions to cover a whole range of different topics. Bastian Hauck, IDF Europe Board member, actively engaged throughout the Lab period. His webinar about “why the patient voice is important” was an inspiration for all participants. Understanding the differences between healthcare systems and access to care across Europe is fundamental for diabetes advocates.  Dr. Lauren Quinn, UK,  and Dr. Iryna Vlasenko, Ukraine, facilitated the session on this topic and highlighted some of the disparities between Eastern and Western European countries. Participants actively contributed by sharing examples of innovative diabetes treatments in their country.

To talk about discrimination and stigmatisation, the YLL had the pleasure to welcome one of the strongest supporters of the #LanguageMatters movement, Renza Scibilia. Using practical examples, Renza pointed out the importance of effective communication with people with diabetes from the perspective of healthcare professionals. As it is a tradition in every youth camp, a session about physical activity WITH actual physical activity could not be missed! People got on the move behind their screen, despite it being a virtual event! Enara from Spain stated that this was her favourite session ‘because it was so funny to see people running and laughing behind their screen to win the game’. Aside from this physical activity, Bas Van De Goor, an Olympic Games gold medal winner living with type 1 diabetes shared his experience as a professional athlete. His lecture on diabetes and physical activity confirmed that, here again, there is no “one size fits all approach” for PwD but that different types of activities will require different approaches in terms of food and insulin intake and management. Annie from Greece later said that ‘Diabetes stopped her from doing things over the years, but after hearing Bas’ lecture, she felt inspired to challenge herself again when it comes to physical activity’.

One of the most successful sessions of the programme is the “taboo session”. As in previous years, it was moderated by Cristina Petrut, a clinical psychologist.  She was joined this year by Sufyan Hussain, an endocrinologist. Both moderators live with diabetes and were able to create a safe environment for participants to discuss, as quoted by Melissa from Belgium ‘things that only people with diabetes will understand’.  She also added that it felt like ‘we were all in the same room, but actually we were all in our own house - still it felt like a safe environment’. This event brought the participants even closer and contributed to strengthening the “community feeling” that is unique to YLC/YLL participants. The session on leadership was moderated by Cajsa Lindberg from Sweden. She described formal and informal forms of leadership and encouraged participants to find out about their own leadership skills. Her session followed the project management module, moderated by Sophie Hindkjær from Denmark and Jaivir Pall from the UK, where future YLL projects started to be discussed.

While participants were already working on developing their own projects, Sabine Dupont, Senior Consultant at IDF Europe, highlighted some fundraising opportunities to be explored to finance diabetes initiatives. Weronika Burkot from Poland and Dimitris Kaperdanakis from Greece, both active bloggers and advocates, gave a short introduction on how to conduct effective communication campaigns. During the last session, participants presented the projects they had been actively working on for weeks. YOURAH’s Steering Committee, the IDF Europe Board Youth Committee and some of the YLC alumni mentors attended this session to provide the participants with constructive feedback and help them further develop their respective projects in the future. The first edition of the Youth Leadership Lab proved to be highly successful. A big thank you to all who contributed to the programme!  And congratulations to all participants who stepped up to the challenge of joining the IDF Europe Lab!

Watch the Aftermovie for the 2020 YLL:


YLC 2019 - Şile, Turkey

22 youth from 18 countries participated in the 9th Edition of the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) in Şile, Turkey on 7-13 July 2019. The camp, hosted by the Turkish Diabetes Foundation, aimed to foster the next generation of diabetes advocates and leaders.

IDF Europe Chair, Prof. Sehnaz Karadeniz, together with Turkish Diabetes Foundation Board member, Prof. Mehmet Sargin, welcomed participants and kicked off the one-week camp during which the youth advocates improved their communication and presentation skills, learned about a wide range of leadership topics, networked, and shared their knowledge and experience with the other participants.

Physical activity was one of the cornerstones of the camp, as it is for the management of diabetes. The welcome session concluded with the intervention of IDF Europe Board Members Kyle Jacques Rose and Iryna Vlasenko, who stressed the value of exercising and explained that playing different sports would be a daily activity during the camp.

The second day focused on the importance of communication with a lecture run by Ayse Naz Baykal, a professional video producer and previous YLC participant, who explained why and how to make impactful videos. This was followed by a hike around a nearby lake. The IDF Europe YOURAH group was then introduced by three of its members (all previous IDF Europe’s camp attendees), during a session explaining what being part of YOURAH means: getting involved in a variety of activities to raise awareness of diabetes and advocate for the rights of people with diabetes.

As has become a camp tradition, a flash mob was organised on the Wednesday, in front of Şile’s Town Hall, which was attended by the town mayor. This followed two workshops run by Prof. Karadeniz on policy, advocacy and leadership. The rest of the day was spent on a cruise on the Bosphorus, during which participants were able to strengthen their connections and discuss a variety of topics in a relaxed environment with several Members of the Turkish Diabetes Foundation Board.

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Thursday was another busy day. IDF Europe Board Member, Cristina-Maria Petrut, led a workshop on project management, which was followed by a workshop on Healthcare Trends in Europe run by Kyle Jacques, Iryna and YLC coordinator, Sabine Dupont. The workshop focused on personalised medicine, artificial intelligence, big data and telemedicine. The results of a survey on diabetes care in their country completed by each one of the participants ahead of the camp were also presented during this session. The results showed the wide disparities in access to diabetes medicines, care, technologies and devices across the region.

Thursday’s highlights included the visits of Prof Dr. Mithat Melen, an economist and Turkish Politician, Can Seyhan, a businessperson, and Gurkan Acikgoz, an ultramarathon runner, who shared their inspirational experiences of living with diabetes. The day ended with the “taboo forum”. During this session, participants shared their perspectives and debated subjects and issues which they may not feel comfortable addressing at home or with their healthcare team.

Following sessions on leadership styles and the psychology of diabetes led by Cristina; working with volunteers, presented by Iryna; and new technologies, introduced by Kyle Jacques, the camp ended on Friday night with the closing ceremony. Organisers, faculty and youth attendants shared a few words on the week and the youth participants received a certificate of attendance. Many of them then decided to showcase their talents – dancing, comedy, and entertainment in the form of quizzes etc. – in the “kaleidoscope of talents” competition.


YLC 2018 - Prague, Czech Republic

The 8th edition of the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) took place in Prague, the Czech Republic between the 8-14 July, in collaboration with Svaz diabetiků České republiky, z.s. and DIAstyl z.s.

The organizing team welcomed 22 participants from 21 European countries for a full week of interactive workshops, presentations, and sports activities, with the aim of developing the next generation of young advocates in diabetes.  Read the full YLC2018 newsletter here.

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Some of the 2018 Camp participants


As in previous years, the YLC involved a range of activities such as team building games, physical activities, presentations by the participants and workshops led by the IDF Europe team. Topics covered included youth activism and advocacy in Europe, leadership, living with diabetes and healthcare systems in Europe.

It is no doubt that the highlight of the week was the flash mob on the main square in Prague. The live performance was shared on Facebook and other social media platforms, attracting more than 600 views in less than a few minutes. An excellent example of their path towards more youth advocacy in diabetes!

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Flash Mob performed at the Old Square , Prague


Another important outcome of this 2018 Camp was the creation of a YouTube channel, DIAmazing Team, as an effort to share experience and demonstrate that diabetes must not be an obstacle.

We would like to thank the Czech diabetes organisations, the members of IDF-Union of diabetes patients and the Czech Diabetes Society for their cooperation in the organisation of this year's camp. We also thank Eli Lilly and the Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND), who are long-time supporters of this important initiative for young Europeans living with diabetes. 

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Czech diabetes organisation, IDF Union of Diabetes and Czech Diabetes Society participants


Watch the Aftermovie here:


YLC 2017 - Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The 7th edition of the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp has just come to an end and it was a great success! The organizing team welcomed 22 participants from 21 European countries for a full week of interactive workshops, presentations, and sports activities, with the aim of developing the next generation of young advocates in diabetes. You can find the programme HERE.

This year’s camp took place in  Cluj-Napoca, Romania, between the 10th and 16th July, in collaboration with the Federatia Romana de Diabet, Nutritie si Boli Metabolice.

2017 Youth Leadership Camp ReportREPORT - YLC 2017 - FINAL 

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As in previous years, the camp involved a range of activities such as team building games, physical activities, presentations by the participants and workshops lead by the IDF Europe team. Topics covered included youth activism and advocacy in Europe, leadership, living with diabetes and healthcare systems in Europe.

It is no doubt that the highlight of the week was the flash mob. This was performed by the participants on the 13th of July in the salt mine of Turda, at 115 meters depth!  The live performance was shared on Facebook and other social media platforms, attracting more than 600 views in less than a few minutes. An excellent example of their path towards more youth advocacy in diabetes!

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Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to the Federatia Romana de Diabet, Nutritie si Boli Metabolice as well as our sponsors, Eli Lilly and the Foundation of European Nurses in Diabetes (FEND), who have continuously supported this important initiative for young Europeans living with diabetes.

“I would wholeheartedly recommend the camp! The week was invaluable. I met great friends, inspirational professionals, and had experiences I will never forget - especially organizing a flash mob in a salt mine! I cannot thank IDF Europe and Diabetes UK enough. The most important outcome for me was perhaps the simplest: it made me realize that all the projects in my mind can be truly realized with the right effort, strength, and passion. It was incredible to meet people in careers I aspire towards, and I feel I now have the knowledge and confidence to set my own projects in motion. With a mission at heart, we can all be leaders and make the change we want to see in the world”.  Rebecca, UK

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If you’re interested in knowing more about our summer camp email us at: 

YLC 2016 - Agros, Cyprus

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From 11 to 17 July 2016 Agros (Cyprus) was the home to the 6
th edition of the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp, organized in collaboration with the Cyprus Diabetes Association and with the support of Eli Lilly, FEND, Medtronic and Roche. (for more info click here)

Watch the 2016 Youth Leadership Video here:


YLC 2015 - The Netherlands

Watch the 2015 Youth Leadership Video here:

From 13 to 19 July, 23 youth advocates from 23 countries across Europe met in the Netherlands for a week of experience-sharing and peer-to-peer learning.

During the camp, youth advocates learned about different types of advocacy, campaigning activities and strategic planning methods, and will also be introduced to the work of IDF Europe. Combining sports activities and interactive workshops, the camp is also an opportunity for the youth advocates to find out about the differences in diabetes care and daily-life realities across Europe, share their strategies on how to cope with diabetes and learn from their day-to-day triumphs and challenges.

An inevitable result of the camp is peer-to-peer learning. Back in their countries, camp participants are inspired and eager to get more involved in raising awareness of diabetes at national level with concrete projects, from creating their own youth group to developing campaigning activities.


  • Watch the 2012 Youth Leadership Camp Video here!
  • Watch the 2011 Youth Leadership Camp Video here!

Diabetes camp resources

YLCInterested in organising your own camp for people with diabetes? Diabetes Camp Resources are available from us and our member associations that will assist you in organizing camps.

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