With summer rapidly approaching, it’s the perfect time to start looking at diabetes camps for your child. Diabetes camps are a great way for your child to experience summer camp with the peace of mind that there are professionals on staff educated to handle type 1 diabetes. It’s also a great opportunity for your child to spend time surrounded by kids who understand what type 1 diabetes is like.
Where do I start?
First, find out which camps are nearby. Beyond Type 1 and the Diabetes Education & Camping Association (DECA) created this camp finder as an easy tool to find nearby camps. Once you find camps in your region, you can find a camp that fits your schedule and price range. Most camps have a visiting day prior to camp starting. Joining a visit day is a great way to get a feel for the camp site and talk with the Camp Director and staff about any questions or concerns.
Will there be staff to take care of my child’s diabetes?
Absolutely! Camps that are members of DECA are often affiliated with major medical centers and are staffed with a volunteer team of diabetes professionals including endocrinologists, diabetes educators, mental health professionals, nurses, and dietitians. Many of the counselors who volunteer also have T1D and were campers in the past. All these people work to provide the best care for your child while they’re at camp.
Will there be diabetes education?
Diabetes camps work to ensure diabetes education in multiple ways. There are specific diabetes education activities planned at various moments throughout camp that are both fun and educational. Throughout camp there will also be spontaneous teaching moments, whether it’s your child meeting a new friend with T1D and sharing stories or a counselor sharing how they manage low blood sugar. These camps provide a perfect mix of fun and education.
What if I have a teen or young adult with T1D?
If your child is 16 or 17, many of the DECA camps provide a “counselor in training” program. This is an opportunity for you child to take on a leadership role at camp and serve as a role model to the younger campers. At age 18, your child can apply to be a counselor at camp. It’s very common for the counselors at camp to be between 18 through their mid-20s.
If you’re interested in more information about diabetes summer camps, you can check out https://beyondtype1.org/diabetes-camp/.