If your child has type 1 diabetes, summer camp may be the most unforgettable experience they ever have.
Parents and kids come hardwired for fun. For some there are tears of joy and worry shed on drop off day. For others there are hoots and hollers- the sights of old friends and their parents hitting the gas pedal for the airport. Summertime fun is in the air.
All of the kids and parents are so different but those things slide right away. The bond they all hold in common is so much more- type 1 diabetes.
The kids roll in with all of the typical camping gear- flashlights, sleeping bags, sunscreen… but their list of supplies doesn’t end there. This is diabetes camp after all.
Looking at a few hundred campers (all with type 1 diabetes) and ready to have fun is an amazing experience. I love just sitting and being a silent observer sometimes. Pump tubing hanging and dangling off of arms and bellies and legs may be the only obvious signs that these kiddos have type 1 diabetes. They may be diabetes experts by default, but they are having a ball together from sunrise to sunset.
At diabetes camp these kids have a week of complete understanding and acceptance. No need to explain what that thing is attached to your arm or your pants. If their blood sugar is high or low, needs are met immediately with everyone understanding just how they feel. For a child with a chronic disease this underlying thread of commonality is not just important, it is vital.
I hear the buzz of parents- questions that would mean little to an untrained ear:
“Watch your tubing, your going to pull your pump out!”
“Did you change the basal rates already?”
“Do you think she is going to be high after we change the pump settings?”
“Are you low?”
“Where’s your glucometer?”
“Do you need juice?”
“Make sure you put your pump back on after swimming.”
“What’s a juice fairy?”
“Please let someone know if you don’t feel good.”
“Oh, oh and I LOVE YOU!”
See She Sugars article titled “Type 1 Diabetes Summer Camps, Where True Friends are Found” for camp resources.