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My third Youth Exchange

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Written by Juuso

Another week for young people who stutter is behind us. And it truly exceeded my expectations. This was my third year in a row, this time attending as a facilitator. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? We had three facilitators in this years camp. Me being the first one. Raul, one of the most humble and hard-working men I know. Always asking for help, never being moody! The third facilitator was Jurjen, who gave me a huge spark to start write blogs and record vlogs for our Stamily project!

From left to right: Juuso, Raul, and Jurjen

The three of us helped the main kitchen team (volunteers who did not stutter) and I have to thank everyone in the kitchen team. They were interested about stuttering. They wanted to know what they can do to make us feel better. We just wanted them to listen and that’s what they did. During the week I told one of the chefs, Daria, that we don’t want people filling our sentences, when she asked about it. And so she listened, no matter how big block some of us had while talking with her. Stuttering doesn’t just effect the stutterers. It can also make fluent people better listeners. So if you know someone who has a stutter, talk with her/him. Give her/him the space, smile, let her/him take the time. I promise you, it feels amazing for both of you!

But that’s not all, we didn’t spend the whole week in the kitchen. In the start of the week, I knew that some of the workshops are already familiar to me, so I thought they couldn’t give me anything new. But boy, how wrong I was! Giving emotional speeches, breaking down to cry when giving positive feedback after one touching, brave and beautiful speech. And you know what, no matter if you stutter or not, it’s okay to cry! Showing your emotions is a brave and real thing!

Open Mic

I also had no idea how much I mean to people. How much I inspire others. We had some reunions with people from my first camp two years ago. And they told me they were amazed, almost jealous, how mature, kind, smart and free man I am now. One of them was amazed how quickly I always bond with people during these weeks. I was also told that these exchanges wouldn’t be the same without me. “These weeks need your presence!” I think my jaw is still on the ground from these words. I can only thank everyone who took part in the camp. Please, keep being who you are, keep following your dreams!I also met people from last year. Back then, I didn’t really bond with them. But now, I started to bond with them too. On the first day, we had really good conversations, spoke about our feelings. We felt warm! I even called one girl I met last year my dutch little sister while giving speech in front of 40 people! Stamily indeed is a family, and we want you to join our family.

Making music with Rik!

Then the day came. The day when we all had to leave. After my first camp, I was sure I couldn’t feel sad on the last day. But again, I was so wrong. During the week we shared personal stories, had fun, played games, laughed a lot and cried a lot. We weren’t just a group from different countries. We bonded into a family, only in one week. We could have our own country if you ask me!

I am so grateful for this opportunity again. Hearing all the amazing and touching words and stories means the world to me! No matter if you stutter or not, look for a person who has a stutter and get to know her/him. It’s an absolutely beautiful thing, trust me.

See you next year!

With all the love, Juuso from Stamily


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