The 2023 edition of ICC (International Camp on Communication and Computers) took place from 17 to 23 August in the small town of Telč in the Czech Republic, with the participation of thirteen European Union countries, to which a note of internationality was added by the presence of Japan.
ICC is an international camp characterized by the variety of training and recreational opportunities. Among the activities scheduled in this edition there were 28 workshops and 12 free time activities.
The national coordinators, assistants and ICC Board members are given the task to organize a large number of workshops, thus giving young people the opportunity to participate and choose among sessions with topics ranging from new technologies to sport, from traveling independently to manual activities such as making bars of soap, just to name a few.
The European Blind Union (EBU) committed to contribute to the success of the initiative by sending as its representatives Francesca Sbianchi, Head of the EBU Working Group on youth activities, and the qualified assistant Elisa Teodori.
EBU has long established a collaborative relationship with ICC in order to promote the development and ever-increasing presence of youth leadership within national associations of the blind and partially sighted.
In her first workshop, Francesca Sbianchi gave participants the opportunity to learn about the international mobility opportunities that the Erasmus + and European Solidarity Corps programs offer. These are fundamental experiences for the growth and development of skills and abilities useful for access the labour market and for active participation in society.
In the second workshop, she addressed the topic of personal enhancement by providing participants with strategies and tools regarding body language, self-empowerment and self-valorisation, also through the identification and choice of suitable outfits, make-up, hair styling for different occasions, since these aspects are directly interconnected with the psychological sphere and play a key role for effective social inclusion. Boys and girls got involved in these activities, leaving the sessions with a revised image, which they kept throughout the week.
However, ICC was not limited to workshops alone but -thanks to the rich program of experiences to be carried out in their free time- offered young participants the opportunity to learn about the potential of such experiences, thus encouraging the creation of new friendships and the discovery of new hobbies and passions.
Participants were able to try their hand at climbing and baseball; they cycled in tandem along the country roads near the university campus and drove boats and bathed in the town's ponds.
On Sunday 20 August, the Vida Science Centre in Brno welcomed the ICC group into its interactive exhibition spaces, giving participants the opportunity to learn more about the functioning of natural and scientific phenomena.
By participating in ICC, young people can get involved in many different experiences; what makes this Campus truly innovative is that young people have the opportunity to independently choose which activity to take part in, outlining their own personalized weekly programme. The power to choose favours the self-determination and self-empowerment of the participants who, as they approach adulthood, enhance their skills in a cheerful and informal atmosphere.
For all these reasons, ICC can be considered as a unique experience, and it is essential to underline the great significance of this event, promoted and supported in its 28 editions by important European universities and centres for special education. From being an excellent but limited practice, ICC is now turning into an event of growing European impact, which can only be consolidated through the collaboration with the movement of persons with visual disabilities at European and national level.
In fact, for twenty years now Italy has been represented by the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted (UICI), while other countries are generally represented by institutes/centres for the blind or universities. It is really important for organisations of persons with visual disabilities to take part directly in such events precisely because there is a need for workshops to be created and led by people with visual disabilities. This kind of cooperation would certainly bring innovation to ICC's approach to visually impaired youth empowerment, as well as enhance the leadership skills of our youth.