The first British Stammering Youth Weekend in September was a resounding success. As well as Hayley's video below, there is a message from organisers, and experiences of the weekend from Nisar Bostan and Lynne Mackie.
Stammering can be a challenging and isolating condition. This can be particularly true in the time transitioning from a teenager to an adult: leaving home for the first time, making new friends, finding a girlfriend/boyfriend, university presentations, job interviews – all come with their particular stresses, made yet more difficult with a stammer.
We have found meeting other young adults who stammer going through the same situations is a great help in finding your way during these years. So, we put together a weekend to provide that opportunity to others. A weekend around simply socialising and having a good time with other young adults who stammer. A weekend when you could just get on without having to worry about being fluent all of the time: The British Stammering Association Youth Weekend.
The weekend was held at an activities centre in beautiful Northamptonshire. Fifteen young adults who stammer attended. The cost was low (£60) thanks to subsidisation from the BSA coffers and due to the generosity of individual donors we were able to give out several bursaries to further reduce the costs for students and those on job seekers allowance.
The weekend involved: abseiling, raft building, rounders, walking, talking, zip-lining, aggressive card games, a BBQ, an adventure course, dancing, maybe a little bit of alcohol and a late night rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody (thankfully, no video recorded of that one).
We thoroughly enjoyed it. And we even managed to get some proof other people did too - including the quotes below, and personal accounts of the weekend by Nisar and Lynne further down this page. To top it off, Hayley and her GoPro made the video encompassing the whole weekend!
“To those who never came, or were tied up one way or another… come next time! Events such as the Stammering Youth Weekend changes lives. They inspire confidence, and empower change. Suddenly you start challenging and tackling those irky thoughts which have been plaguing you for aeons.”
“It was great to be able to meet new people of a similar age and have fun, without the constraints that my stammer usually imposes on me in social situations.”
We would just like to thank the generous donors, the BSA for its endless support, and the fantastic people who attended.
There will be more Young British Stammering Association events to follow,
Hayley, Rory and Patrick
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved in future events or alternatively join the Young British Stammering Association Facebook group.
My weekend would have been a run-of-the-mill one had it not been for a bursary offered to me, by a gracious donor. Aah… the fledgling finances of a university student!
Before the Stammering Youth Weekend ensued… I had only ever been to one other event oriented around people who stammer. Nostalgia still kicks in for every time I hear Glasgow!
My horizons can be measured with a ticker-tape and some cellotape! In hindsight, I was very apprehensive of spending the weekend in alien surroundings (the countryside!), and with people who I did not know the surname of. Ironic, really, as a large chunk of those who came were from our London Stammering Association troupe.
The weekend was brilliant. Still baffles me how an event of such magnitude was pioneered and executed so faultlessly. With a diaspora of activities scheduled, with particular emphasis on communication and team-building fostering… we were not given enough time to catch a sigh! My highlight was the raft-building on the Saturday… we stayed afloat throughout! Ha!
We talked, listened, empathised… and laughed.
For me, it was really sobering talking to everyone who had made their way over… and not giving a nickel or a dime for how imperfect we sounded. We talked, listened, empathised… and laughed. Like so many other things which float by us… something is only ever as wrong as you make it out to be. And who would have thought… I’m now besties (!) with a wonderful lad from Estonia, with more visits planned! Until then… WhatsApp will make the cut.
The tingly feelings and experiences we were able to take away… none of this would have even been remotely possibly without the organisers, comprising of Hayley, Rory and Patrick respectively. I sincerely hope the BSA continues to act as their appendage, when (hopefully!), the same trio decide to plan another outing.
Writing this all up is a wee bit melancholic-esque. Aah… such an amazing weekend! To those who never came, or were tied up one way or another… come next time! Events such as the Stammering Youth Weekend changes lives. They inspire confidence and empower change. Suddenly you start challenging and tackling those irky thoughts which have been plaguing you for aeons.
My new one-liner… something is only ever as wrong as you make it out to be.
I attended the YBSA Youth Weekend in order to meet other young people who stammer, share experiences and maybe have some fun while I was at it.
Held at an outdoor activities centre in Northamptonshire, the schedule offered a great mix of organised group activities and free time to relax and chat with our fellow attendees. Raft building was a particularly hilarious highlight, as we struggled to stay on our handmade log-and-barrel rafts while fending off sabotage attempts from the opposing team. We also took on a miniature assault course, balance beams and abseiling, all of which resulted in sore muscles but a definite sense of achievement.
Raft building was a particularly hilarious highlight
The best thing about the whole experience, however, was getting to know the other people there and hearing their own stories and approaches to their stammer. Being able to discuss our stammers in a welcoming, judgement-free environment allowed us to be ourselves and open up about something that we may not be comfortable discussing in our day-to-day lives. Even those of us who seem secure in our stammering identities can be reluctant to talk about certain troubles that we face and a weekend like this offers a great opportunity to share with people who have also struggled with their speech. These events offer us a support network that we can turn to even after the weekend itself has finished and it would be amazing if more people would be able to get the chance to attend events like this and make those connections for themselves.