YACC pilots a new program: Retreat Yourself for a day!

June 11, 2009

On June 6, YACC partnered with Hope & Cope in Montreal to hold its first one-day workshop for young adults. The purpose of the workshop, like all our programs, is to deliver inspiration, information, and support to young adult patients, survivors, and supporters. It is a form of mini Retreat, but unlike the Retreat Yourself program, the workshop is delivered on a local level and is a one day event. Montreal was the first of many Canadian cities to host the event (we hope), so we can reach more young adults, reduce the isolation, and enhance the sense of community. You are not alone takes on a whole new meaning!

On a beautiful and sunny Saturday morning, nine survivors and three supporters met at the Hope & Cope Wellness Centre JGH (an amazing site to hold our first workshop). We were very lucky to have experienced, generous, and motivated facilitators on board with us to make that day the success that it was.

Susanne O’Brien, Executive Director of Hope & Cope and a long supporter of YACC, acted has our host (and mother hen taking care of us like no other).

Sylvie Aubin, psychologist at the Jewish General Hospital and part of the McGill AYA Clinic, had an open discussion on issues around sexuality, intimacy, and relationships with the one-day troopers. It was wonderful to have someone with her expertise to address issues that are too often forgotten.

Gwynneth Gorman, Drama Therapist and Volunteer Coordinator for Cedars CanSuppport/Faire Face, allowed us to be playful bringing her touch of drama therapy in the day getting the participants to play on the theme of stress and how we cope with it. We had so much fun doing it, that we did not even realize we were processing some coping skills.

Scott Adams, Exercise Physiologist at the Wellness Centre, got people moving and also learning how to better incorporate physical activity in their daily life and why it’s important to do so.

Deborah Bridgman, a three-time cancer survivor shared her story and inspired everybody in the room.

I was also part of the day and got to share on YACC’s programs and updated the survivors on some information on the young adult issues.

Scott acted as our BBQ chef and everybody had time to chat and get to know each other during lunch. Claire from VOBOC (Venturing Out Beyond Our Cancer) stopped by during lunch and distributed wonderful gifts to the survivors.

Like mentioned above, this was our first workshop and according to the evaluations and the feedback we received from the participants, it looks like it was a success! Not every survivor is able to attend our four-day Retreats and we were able to give those survivors another option in their community can allow them to connect with other young adults who while while learning, sharing, and getting some support.

This was just the beginning and we are hoping to send this new program across the board! Next stop? Toronto was interested; Anyone else?

I want to take this opportunity to thank again everybody who participated and also thank the precious collaborators and facilitators; we could not have done it without them!

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