by Cika Boka and MladiCe,

“Second Regional Convention of MladiCe (YouthC, C-code for Cancer) „I want to know – 2story″ was held in Belgrade from 20–24th August 2014.

The Convention gathered 53 young cancer survivors from all ex-YU countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Also, convention gathered psychologists, parents, guardians, sociologists and volunteers, and for the first time even, some volunteers from abroad (Turkey).

The first day passed with arrivals, accommodation setting and getting to know each other. We welcomed our guests with bread and salt as it is tradition in Serbia. Meeting and socializing officially begun in the open in front of museum “25th May”, where there are quiet and nice nature surroundings with a park. Dinner was in one of the most famous pizzerias in town “Eagle”, and just before enjoying that taste from the oven, all Balkan MladiCe presented their groups and work in the past year.

The next day, as planned to be the goal of the convention, was dedicated to workshops. They were interesting and related to gender, men and women behavior, power and relations as well as labeling and name-calling. Through participation in those workshops and especially role play, we have learned something new, confirmed our present knowledge and totally lost any traces of stage fright jitters. And for the perfect ending of the day we played paintball as team building activities. Those who skipped paintball for some reason used that time for the recess and to prepare for the evening out, but later they really regretted not having  participated in this teambuilding game.

The evening in restaurant “Korchagin” was dedicated to collective music therapy and dance for chilling and building strength for new activities that awaited us the next day.

On the third day we had workshops for self-representation, relations with others, our and others perception, discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes. This day swept in laughter and awesome fun cause the concept of the workshops was to role play and step by step discover what it is about. Some of the MladiCe didn’t like those workshops, but we, as their hosts from Serbia, and moderators from the Association Čika Boca encouraged them to speak out openly about their discontent. And then, after a hard day of work followed the ultimate best ever fun at the Convention prepared to raise our adrenalin levels – motorcycling from Ada to Avala (total of 50 km ride through the breezing air with professional bikers on Harley Davidson’s and similar). Riding in this impressive convoy (organized with police escort) of 60 motorcycles with us and our friends from the Serbian Moto Clubs left us all breathless and released us from various fears, as well as it gave us a unique view on Belgrade itself.

On the last full day, Saturday, we spent the morning to do evaluate the Convention. Than we danced tango on the grass in the Therapy Garden at Ada Ciganlija resort, and we all pretty well managed to learn tango basics. Dancing tango, we suddenly came up with the idea (and we did it!) to video record HAPPY MLADICE BALKAN. After lunch, we trained American football with the champions Wolfs (male team) and She-wolfs (female team) fully equipped with helmets and all. We learned throwing and catching ball as well as how to knock opponents. Those sport activities were a delight both for MladiCe boys and girls. After football we had spare time to do whatever we wanted, swim in the lake, ride bikes, rollers, even some of them tattooing, coffee drinking and so on…

That final evening we spent appropriately in the quarters of the Association of Rock Musicians of Serbia listening and actively singing with them ex-YU rock songs. We jumped, we sang, we danced, we even played instruments. Some of us are pretty good in all those things!

Before we knew, Sunday came, and we said goodbye to each other, already feeling how much we will all miss each other and looking forward to gather again in Zagreb next summer!

General impression after the Second Regional Convention of MladiCe is that we all feel empowered, released from some of our “chains” and pressures, much more with positive attitude and certainly connected with each other. We bonded more this time, got close and came up with the great ideas which we will, I hope, realize in the near future.

Some pictures of this convention you can find at the MladiCe page and a special “Happy” video you find here!