Camp for Kids with Diabetes
Camp is a magical place that changes lives forever!
Every year, more than 6,000 campers and their families come together to share a week of summertime fun, making memories that last a lifetime. Often one summer turns into three, four, five or more. Campers come back because its their favorite week of the year!
Camp is a lifeline for children with diabetes to develop the critical skills needed to thrive while managing this disease. We know children with diabetes and their families walk a tightrope—keeping blood glucose levels not too low and not too high. It's a dizzying array of skills to learn and manage to stay healthy.
Diabetes is constant—children must manage it all day and all night and it never goes away, But Camp is an equalizer. Surrounded by their peers who understand what it's like to live with diabetes, campers share their fears and frustrations at the same time, they celebrate diabetes milestones or "firsts" at Camp. It may be the first time to inject their insulin or change a pump site without help. Those moments don't go unnoticed; campers will often hear their name at morning announcements showcasing "firsts," followed by clapping and cheers. It's a supportive community and it's not just for the kids. For many families, Camp is the first time they feel comfortable leaving their child with someone else because doctors, nurses and experts are onsite, focused on the health and safety of every camper.
Camp is FUN! Campers learn by doing—properly evaluating the food they eat, discussing the symptoms they experience and understanding that the physical activity they undertake impacts how they manage their diabetes. We look for "teachable moments," and diabetes care is built into the daily schedule so kids can focus on having summer fun—swimming, canoeing, hiking, crafting, singing songs, practicing archery, studying astronomy, playing sports and more.
Confidence, Competence and Community
Camp is the best medicine imaginable. Kids experience a traditional summer camp experience in a medically safe environment while developing social skills, self-respect, and lifelong friendships. Most kids don't realize how much they are learning because they are having so much fun.
We know Camp boosts children's confidence, knowledge and ability to care for themselves. A recent three-year study highlighted the positive impacts of Camp:
- Development of skills needed to manage blood glucose
- Reduction in feelings of isolation
- Hope to children and their families
- Respite for parents