Camps Make a Difference!

"K feels like she is not alone in the battle. Diabetes Camp not only benefits K but our entire family. Diabetes is a family disease and we are all affected. A week away at camp allows me to learn to let other people take care of diabetes."

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Camps make a difference in the lives of children with diabetes. In 2015, the American Diabetes Association completed a three-year study on the impact of Diabetes Camps on the children who attend. Results show improvements in self-confidence, diabetes-related stress, knowledge of diabetes management, and overall diabetes management. Camps have a positive effect on campers and make a difference, one camper at a time.


  • A 10% increase in campers who are confident to manage their diabetes, with the greatest improvements among the newly diagnosed (16% increase)
  • An 8% increase in the number who are confident to try new ways of managing their diabetes

Diabetes-Related Stress

  • A 7% decrease in diabetes-related anger
  • A 6% decrease in diabetes-related sadness

Knowledge of Diabetes Management

  • An 11% increase of overall knowledge of proper diabetes management
  • A 9% increase in the number who know how to figure out the correct insulin dose
  • A 7% increase in the number who understand carbohydrate counting

Diabetes Management

  • A 10% increase in overall ability to self-manage problems related to diabetes management
  • 19% of newly diagnosed campers (i.e. diagnosed for <1 year) showed improvement in their overall ability to manage diabetes-related problems

Newly Diagnosed? The Association's Diabetes Camp program shows the greatest impact for youth diagnosed with diabetes for less than one year.

The lessons and impact of camp lives on for years after the summer ends. Many former Campers give back by becoming camp counselors and medical staff.

"You were there for us when we felt so alone—when my son, J, was diagnosed at age four. Then, two months later he's at camp with kids his age and everybody is getting finger sticks and dosed insulin. Diabetes is the norm and they're just kids having fun at camp. Life is normal again!"

Testimonials from Parents, Campers and Staff

Thank You from Camp Parents

To: American Diabetes Association Camp Staff
From: Camp Parents across the country

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your hard work and dedication to this program (as well as the countless others who I know contributed). The camp had such a profound impact on our entire family and we are already counting the days to next year!" — Kris S.

"I just want to say thank you to you and the staff from the bottom of my heart for putting together such an amazing camp and place for kids with type 1. This was my daughter's first year and she had a fantastic time. She was so sad to leave her new friends behind and I think it really helped her face living with diabetes head on for the first time. I really appreciate your providing such a meaningful experience for my daughter and she is planning to return next year." — Mary O.

"N cannot stop talking about camp and actually went to bed last night teary… missing his bunkmates and being at camp. He had such fun… which was our biggest goal…but he also stated on the ride home: mom, I really think I am a better diabetic after going to camp. Music to my ears!"

"I wanted to take the time to thank you for a few things. First and foremost, it would not have been possible financially for C to go to Camp this year, without the generous support from your organization, thank you."

"Tori came home from camp and checked her BG. She started laughing and told me to look. If there was ever a sign that everything will be ok, this is it! Thank you for all that you do! I can tell you put everything into these programs."

"Guiding and encouraging kids at camp has led him to a career of working with special needs kids in home health settings. His heart is for kids, and he seeks to help them make life "do-able", just as experiences like Camp New Horizons have done for him."

Thank You from Campers

To: American Diabetes Association Camp Staff
From: Camper, Camp Confidence, Triangle D and Teen Camp

"Six days to be just like everyone else. I’ve had diabetes for 13 years now and sometimes it's hard to find people that I can relate to. It's tough to feel like you’re the only person in the world who has to deal with this, but then you go to camp. Camp to me, is a place where I feel safe and people understand what I'm going through. When I'm there everyone gets it, no one stares, and there's no explanation necessary. Camp has really impacted me and motivated me to take care of my disease. Every year, with the thought of camp, I strive to stay in better control and take care of myself."

Thank You from Camp Staff

To: American Diabetes Association Camp Staff
From: Camp Staff

"Having the opportunity to be part of a program that has the ability to migrate such positive, strong and loving people who all unite due to one mutual passion has been life changing in itself for me. We're all in it together and we WILL make a difference!"

  • Last Reviewed: June 29, 2015
  • Last Edited: November 25, 2015

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast