What is the "purpose" of diabetes summer camps?

Is the "education" the sole (sic true) purpose? Or is it a beautiful byproduct?

Whatever the activities; canoeing, tennis, archery, hiking, bonfires, polar bear swimming, arts and crafts, etc., etc.... are THOSE "diabetes" activites, diabetes education (ie learning moments) per se or simply activites where people ~my age~ are doing something all together.who just happen to all be diabetics!

For some of us camp was long, long ago (Camp Firefly (PA) late 70's). So I thought I'd ask... what's your take, your view on what happens at a diabetic summer camp? Is education slipped into everything thats done or only at particular times with very specific people...

Thoughts anyone???

Tags: camp, education, psychology, purpose, summer, summer-camp, teaching

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I don't know about Camps for People your age but when I was a Kid and now, Diabetic Camps were where Kids can have lots of Fun, a place to meet other Children with Diabetes. To share new experiences, Diabetes related or not. To give our Parents a much needed 2 week vacation for 7 years(LOL!! :) ). To have some Good Lifetime memories. To perhaps have a Diabetic Friend/Penpal after leaving the Camp. To learn how to draw up Insulin, give shots, where to give the shots, what types of foods to eat, just the basics of Diabetes, how to test your urine(back then), if you didn't already know these things and different tips about caring for yourself. You also learn how to swim, canoe, make different crafts, get to know how to care about different animals, how to ride a horse, camping survival tips, how to socialize, how to make a bonfire, how to play different games, play different sports, how to draw, how to whittle, how to dance, how to be a leader, some astrology, some ghost stories and so on. Probably lots more now for both Kids and Adults like how to carb count, how to use a pump, CGMS, probably some stuff that you learn here, etc.

I still have my Camp Banting t-shirt and pamphlet from back then, somewhere here. For 2 weeks it cost $95.00 per Child. My Cousin told me what the price was about 6 yesars ago. I almost fainted. Of course, if Parents can't afford it, I think the fee is paid out of a Diabetes fund which is Nice.
Hello Terrie:

Thank you for contributing.

IYV/IYE do you want the camp experience to be a template for learning or a template for memory with a massive side order of sneaky dragon instruction (sic. diabetes education)?

I went to a camp in the mid 90s a couple of years after I'd been diagnosed. At the time I was on prescribed amounts of CHO and insulin at certain times and was a very "well behaved" diabetic. I was shocked when I saw most of the other teenagers there smoking (in secret of course) and pigging out on chocolate and biscuits. The camp was fun and very active but I do think it's there that I picked up bad habits (eating habits, not smoking!) and became too lenient on myself...
Hi Stuart. :)

IMHO Diabetes Camps for Kids should be FUN and hopefully Good Memories are automatic, for most. Then is no reason learning secondly, cannot be Fun. It's only 2 weeks a year and Life is tough on the outside.

That's interesting. I went to Camp in the 1960's, Stuart in the 1970's, and Bananagirl in the 1990's. We need someone who went in the 1980's.

It shows how times have changed. When I went to Diabetes Camp....NO cigerettes or booze was allowed and NO sweet foods. You ate the normal foods that were served there. Mind you the age was from 8-13. Even so, some Kids did smoke at age 12 but it wasn't allowed on the grounds. Rules are rules. They also had a shop at camp where you could buy unsweetened candy, pop and gum, trinkets, clothes, personal needs, souvenirs, etc.
Hello Bananagirl:

First thank you for contributing.

Ever met a diabetic who literally is so rigid that their "self-discipline" is toxic? I have...
I'll take lenient thanks -ws-!

My young child (6 years old) has attended a diabetes summer camp for three years now. The major draw for me is that she can be around kids that are like her. At camp it is normal to test your blood sugar, count carbs and inject insulin. The other draw for me is that there are nurses there that can care for her. Without diabetes camp she would not be able to go to camp right now since she is not yet able to completely manage her diabetes. Since I work full time, I cannot take the time off work to attend a week long camp with her (I already take a lot of time off work for appointments and when there are problems with her pump site and her blood sugars). They do slip in education, but I would say that the main goal is for the kids just to have fun. They have a classroom setting for a small part of the camp; but they also have people roaming around the camp teaching the kids and asking the kids questions. They have a rewards system for them to participate and answer the questions so they can win things; so I guess it is a way of kinda sneaking it in. I appreciate the education they provide, but this is not why we send her there (I can educate her myself). The freedom of going somewhere like this without your parents when you are a young child with diabetes is HUGE!
I would think that it might be the reverse of being around people like you, more like NOT being the only person with diabetes in the school, beating diabetes by normalizing it.
I'm going to a Lions Club sponsored Diabetes Camp this Summer. This is going to be my first year, so I am excited but nervous. My cousin went when he was around my age and he said he loved. He went every year he could and after that, he was a counselor.
To me, it sounds like they teach you about how to take care of your diabetes and give you extra tips that you didnt already know, but most of the time you are having fun, doing crafts and playing sports, swimming, and playing games. You know, just BEING with other people with T1. Sounds like a break to me, not being the only one. I'm the only one in my grade and the only one in my family (besides my cousin, who I dont even see once a year), and I dont have any friends with T1 (besides all of you(: )

I went to Camp Firefly Pa in the late 70's.

Hello Jeryl:

Any idea what happened to firefly? Can't find any records about it using any terms...


When I googled "camp firefly pa 70's" I saw two items, yours and one on the site ,,,,http://community.diabetes.org/t5/Adults-Living-with-Type-1/Camp-Fir.... They found a few items.





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