Diabetes Camp: Where Friendships Grow on Common Ground
It’s summer, which for many families means one thing: time to send the kids off to camp. Summer camp is about making friends, new experiences, learning and, most importantly, having fun.
The American Diabetes Association's summer camps offer all of this and more each year. For more than 70 years, we've been providing children and teens with diabetes an opportunity to see that they're not the only one living every day with the disease.
Our campers meet and learn from other kids and adult counselors with diabetes and share their coping strategies while experiencing day-to-day challenges and triumphs. It's a time when many children with diabetes start to accept who they are and learn to get the most out of life. And it's a chance to become confident that diabetes can't stop them.
Diabetes Camp offers all of the fun that other summer camps do. Kids go swimming, canoeing, fishing and rock climbing, while also learning to take care of their diabetes no matter what they are doing.
Of course, going to camp is a big step—not only for kids, but for their parents as well. Many parents worry that their child will get homesick during the week of camp. They soon realize, though, that camp is not only a learning experience for their children, but also a lot of fun. In fact, the last thing many of the campers are thinking about is going back home.
Other parents worry about their child's diabetes management but soon realize their children are in the care of professional medical teams that volunteer their time with these children. After a few days of knowing that their child is safe and having a great time, parents begin to enjoy the much-needed respite from 24/7 diabetes care.
Read what some of our parents have to say about their children’s experiences at Diabetes Camp:
"Thank you for making Jackson's first time at Camp Freedom so amazing! He will never forget you and all the fun times you shared! He is counting down the days to next year." —Jennifer, mom of Jackson
"Thank you to the Staff at Camp Freedom—it was heartwarming to see so many people stop and say good-bye to my daughter! She had an awesome time and will be back next year!" —Wendy, mom of Raeanna
"Thanks to all of you—you guys rock! It was Ethan's first year at camp and he had such an amazing time! See you next summer." —Tina, mom of Ethan
"I just wanted to tell you how much our daughter, Khloe, enjoyed her first year at Camp Carolina Trails. As I’m sure you have heard many times before, this was her first time being around other kids with diabetes. The look on her face at lunch when everyone whipped out their monitors put a smile on my face. I think that was the first time in the almost two years since she's been diagnosed that she felt 'normal' again. I hope this is the first of many years for her at Camp Carolina Trails." —Khloe's family: Kris, Kipp, Kaden and Kyler
“Chase had a truly fantastic week with his new friends and couldn't say enough about how much fun he had, enough that his twin sister (without diabetes) wants to attend next year with him. Brace yourselves!” —Laurie, mom of Chase
"Just a quick note to say thank you for helping get Isaiah to Camp Freedom this year. He LOVED it! He talked our ears off half way home and then fell asleep. He's already talking about next year. It was a great experience for him!" —Kathy, mom of Isaiah (first-time camper)
"Maddie's first words after camp were, 'Hi Mom, can I come back next year?' Thank you for providing her a wonderful experience." —Susan, mom of Maddie (first-time camper)
"I just wanted to thank your staff for making me feel at ease with leaving my son, Anthony, at camp on Sunday. It is so refreshing to see folks who genuinely care for children and are willing to be so transparent in hopes that they will take these soft skills and become great people. It was so great speaking with the counselors and hearing stories similar to ours. I could see Anthony becoming a counselor and being an activist for this unfortunate disease. Thank you in advance for all that you are giving my child. I applaud you all. It just makes me smile to know that although I miss my son, I am completely confident that he is in good hands with your staff." —Kiera, mom of Anthony (first-time camper)
To learn more about the Association's summer camps for children with diabetes, visit our website. With 41 camps in 24 states, chances are there's a camp near you and your family next summer!
To read more stories like this, please visit our blog: Diabetes Stops Here.