- Camping and the activities provided are fun
- Provides an opportunity for children and teens with diabetes to meet peers
- Gives parents and siblings a break from the daily demands of diabetes
- Gives kids a chance to learn or improve diabetes self-management skills in a supervised setting with experienced and professional staff.
Defeat Diabetes Foundation supports a model of personal responsibility coupled with a peer based support model. Diabetes camps allow kids an opportunity to be with people who are just like them and learn from each other to overcome the daily challenges. Most diabetes camps have adult counselors with years of experience managing their own diabetes that can share coping mechanisms and point out potential pitfalls in self-management.
In addition to the normal safety concerns associated with kids and camping, parents of children with diabetes have an extra list of health concern ranging from nutrition to proper medical care and supplies, to learning how to manage diabetes during strenuous activities.
Camps have a staff of diabetes health care professionals, and many of the counselors have diabetes themselves. All staff has been thoroughly trained to handle any emergency that may arise.
Some of the safety features you will find at diabetes camp include:
- On site medical team with appropriate medical facilities, equipment and supplies
- Personally tailored nutrition information and guidance
- Closely monitored glucose testing, insulin injection and pump maintenance
- Activity schedules that accommodate the special needs of children with diabetes
Diabetes education at camp
The real value of a diabetes camp is the education about diabetes that takes place. Many camps make diabetes education classes a part of the regular schedule. However, all camps utilize an approach that teaches by doing. Staff will work with each child individually as new situations present themselves.
Parents should realize that their campers are not going to return from a one-or two-week overnight camp completely ready to take care of themselves. Self-management of diabetes takes time to master, and children will learn to take responsibility at the age and pace that is right for them.
Because each child has different needs, camps will use a variety of methods to share diabetes knowledge and skills that help them feel more confident and self-sufficient. Camps are best at providing an atmosphere where children feel safe to try different diabetes skills in the context of a closely monitored setting.
Be sure to make certain that the camp you select is properly accredited.
Unfortunately there are just a few diabetes camps in each state with limited sessions and enrollment for each session. Be sure to start early in the year when considering a diabetes camp for your child to insure that they have an opportunity to attend what will surely be a life changing experience for them (in a positive way!)
Some diabetes camps provide scholarship opportunities for children who are able to demonstrate need.
We’ve tried to provide you with as much information as we can about the various diabetes camps that are listed in our database, but the information about each camp varies from organization to organization. In addition to reviewing Internet resources, be sure to call the camp and have one or more conversations to insure that the experience will be a good and positive fit for your child.