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Who is headed to Diabetes Camp?

Jun 15, 2011

I’m packing my backpack, walking sticks and fishing rod as I head into the mountains for my annual volunteer work at an ADA camp for children with diabetes.

I will join a team of other professionals this week and again in another two weeks. I will lance dozens of little fingers to check for blood glucose values, organize the carbohydrate counting and make sure the kitchen is following the menus we have created for the coming months. A group of us will take the teens rafting and backpacking. We will spend sleepless nights as we check each child at least once so they and their parents can sleep soundly, knowing their child is safe with us. I will return on Sunday, so exhausted I will regret scheduling patients on Monday. And I will be so happy that once again, I added camp to my life.

For those of you that have attended diabetes camp, you are familiar with the huge learning curve. If you have not attended, put it on your “bucket list.” If you are unfamiliar with type 1 diabetes, you will learn more in one week than you could in a full semester at school. Even if you have a child with diabetes, the variation in outcomes associated with exercise, the dosing adjustments based on carbohydrate intake and the benefits of insulin pumps will all be part of your diabetes landscape for the week. If you are well versed in children with diabetes, you will still learn tons, and the volunteer crew will appreciate your expertise!

Going to camp also provides a wonderful escape from the day to day downloads of meters and pumps, education classes and paperwork. Kids have ah-ha moments and we remember again how great it is to be in the field of diabetes education, interacting with these kids who day in and day out are the real troopers.

There are multiple camps around the country that offer a variety of options for children with diabetes. If it is not the right year for you, put it on your list. You will return feeling the warmth of being a part of something very special.

How many of you have helped staff a diabetes camp? Did you love it as much as I do? What did you like/dislike about it? Why should other professionals make time for the experience? Share your stories with us!

4 comments

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  1. Jun 28, 2011

    Please let me know how I can find out if there is any diabetes camp in my state, New Jersey. I would like to volunteer my time. I have been reading your blogs and others and find them to be so fascinating and educational. Please keep them coming! Thank you! Sincerely, Dee Tran RPh, CCP
  2. Jun 27, 2011

    I'm heading to camp this week too. It will be my first camp adventure but I truly looking forward to this moment.
  3. Jun 16, 2011

    I just finished volunteering at a 2 day camp for children with diabetes. Carla, you are correct about learning a lot. I work with adults with type 2 diabetes so I'm not used to the insulin pumps. The children are amazing and they taught me a lot. While exhausting, volunterring is so fulfilling. Next year, a 3 day camp is planned and I am definitely volunteering again. I also urge all eductors to add the experience to their bucket list.
  4. Jun 15, 2011

    I have learned so much at diabetes camp. It's a privilege to work on a staff manned with dedicated volunteers and it's fun to assist young people in having an outdoor-oriented experience with other children who will become their life-long friends. It couldn't happen anywhere except diabetes camp. If you have never been to a camp, try it. You'll get back ten-fold what you give.

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