OIFE Youth Event 2015
Attending the first international OI youth weekend held in Germany – UK Delegate Penny Clapcott said how fortunate that this way her second OIFE youth event, the previous one being in Belgium 5 years ago. Penny said to be in Berlin, Germany; a place I’d never been to before, was exciting and it was great she had been asked to attend as formal delegate for the Brittle Bone Society.
“It was great to be welcomed at the airport by one of the German delegates to get things started straight away. I got settled into my hotel room and I got to share a room with a helper that came from Norway”.
The first night was spent celebrating fellow BBS member and UK delegate Kat’s birthday and that got things off to a flying start, and we started exploring our surroundings.
The next day was a full on day, leaving the hotel at 9.30am and not getting back until gone midnight. We did so much in the first day I can’t quite manage to list everything we saw a bus tour around the city in the morning, then free time to explore Alexandaplatz which meant a bit of shopping!
In the evening we all met up again for a lovely meal and then at 9.30pm we went to a government building to look at the incredible views of the city. We went to the top of the dome which was completely accessible with a ramp that went around and around. A mission to get to the top but way too much fun going speeding down. We had a German guard at the bottom doing his best to try and get us to slow down but that wasn’t going to happen when you have 25 wheelchair users enjoying the completely smooth long ride all the way down.
The next day was a little bit more chilled out which was needed, we had a great group discussion about empowerment, self determination and what independence means to us and the importance of speaking up for ourselves. We got to explore many different issues and I believe this was the most valuable part of the whole trip. We later then had to navigate the German underground station on our own to get to the restaurant meeting point which was a little scary but we had been using it from day one as a large group. This was the best meal by far as we had all had formed some great friendships and started to relax. We even managed to get the restaurant owners to put music on for us and we all were given free shots at the end of the night and they joined us in a few toasts!
On the last full day we went to a museum which was all about Berlin which was interesting. After a little culture we decided to hit the biggest shopping centre in Berlin and spend some money! We then had a great last meal together and made our way back to the hotel where we had our final drinks and celebrations together.
It was great to meet other OI’ers from Europe, lots of similarities and differences in the way OI is dealt with in each country. I feel very lucky that I do believe I have made lifelong friends from this event and I can’t wait to keep in touch. We already have a few people wanting to visit us lovely lot from the UK and I know we will be going out there to visit them.
Brittle Bone Society UK Delegate
OIFE Youth Conference,
Berlin Germany 2015.