The Council 2018 is up and running and the first session of the year was full of energy and enthusiasm! An amazing group of young people, trustees and staff joined together for an evening of planning, brainstorming and looking ahead. This is the first of 4 Council meetings this year. 

Marysia, 18, a Council participant who has been to several LIFEbeat camps, tells us more about the session. 

Council on Thursday was a refreshing break away from our busy schedules and allowed us to not only reconnect with others, but also with ourselves and our creativity.

The minute we walked in, an energy of excitement and gratitude floated around the room; encouraged further through questions of what we value in our lives. Memories of camp – be that 7 months ago or 7 years ago – sparked in our minds as we shared experiences and personal thoughts on what camp has meant to us, what it’s taught us and how we can expand and develop it.

Throughout council, we were put into groups – first mixed groups of peer mentors, staff and youth. In these groups, we collectively discussed personal experiences and lessons we learnt from camp, and how we’ve applied them to our day-to-day life. The most touching thing about this for me was hearing how someone who hasn’t been to camp in 7 years is still using what she learnt in her life today, and the impact camp has had on her is one I could resonate with: a sense of returning to family to engage with others in a way we may find difficult in wider society.

The next groups we were in, which we could choose, was a focus point on working to improve LIFEbeat and offer everyone opportunities in the growth and development of this incredible charity. We had the amazing chance to be part of the brainstorming process from two of our Trustees, which created potential opportunities for young people to voice their wishes on the direction of LIFEbeat. On the other side of the room we had brainstorming about what young people wish to see in future camps or events outside camps related to the charity – this included more community meetups and an Open Mic night like we have towards the end of camp. We also discussed prominent issues around young people today and how we can tackle those or aid those who are tackling them, such as mental health or substance abuse. The diversity of conversations and discussions that spread throughout this one room in Central London created energy that I know radiated off of all of us as we departed.

We experienced a very touching moment at the end of our busy and productive council meeting where we shared words about a young man who tragically lost his life on Valentine’s Day this year, and sang for him in his memory. Even though not all of us knew him, this moment reiterated the closeness of the community in our ability to share the same sadness over this devastating loss.

Overall however, it was a refreshingly beautiful and exciting council meeting and a very good start to our 2018 season, with lots of opportunities offered and the potential for young people to work with the heart of LIFEbeat. It’s an indescribable feeling when you witness and partake in the passion of people who have all got the same consensual wish for LIFEbeat: to sustain and expand it for the next generation to experience exactly what we have, and feel the same kind of hope and empowerment we have been offered following camps and meetings like council.

‘It does exactly what it says: it puts the beat back into life.’

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