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Diabetic Summer Camp, IYHO...

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Ronin1966, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Ronin1966

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    What happens at diabetic summer camp? As a parent, are your expectations and your kid(s) the same or different re: what will happen at "Diabetic Camp" :D

    Consider are diabetic camps simply a place to prove your child is FAR from alone, as a kid with diabetes? Is it a place where diabetes is simply a by-product of what they do or is it the true core focus of all activities? It has been a long time since "Camp Firefly" (PA.) long ago....

    There were classes taught by nurses, doctors. All kinds of activities canoeing, archery, hiking, swimming, huge bondfires, arts and crafts, singing, movies, all kinds of things. But most I don't remember as being specificly diabetic per se. But, adults were/are always kinda sneaky that way <wg>.


    So, what's your take re: diabetic camps. What do you expect from them?
    Thoughts anybody?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  2. nanhsot

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    Hmm, my answer is multi-faceted.
    Last summer my son was falling into a pretty scary funk, so diabetes camp was literally a way to get back his joy, and it accomplished that.

    From his perspective it was a way to meet friends who understood, take a break from diabetes (at his camp all meals are counted and dosed for them), and get a break from our nagging/worry. And it was a WHOLE lot of fun stuff.

    It met all his goals.

    As a mom, my hopes were all the above, except that *I* got a break too, from counting and worrying. It was lovely.
    I had hoped that he would come home with a better sense of management, and how important it was. This goal was not met. He learned a lot, but he also came to the realization that hardly ANYONE had as good of control as he did, and they didn't seem alarmed by staying in high numbers as a rule, as a life. In fact, most people gave him the impression (the other kids that is) that staying up in the high numbers was just their norm. He didn't necessarily come home thinking I'm a loonie for adamantly working to keep him in good ranges, but I worry that continued exposure to that mindset will do that.

    He came home sick as a dog and was high and hard to bring down for weeks.

    Sending him again though, just the return of joy was well worth it. He has friends he still communicates with regularly and that was worth a lot as well, that connection.
     
  3. mathcat

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    It very much depends on the camp. The camp my son has gone to is a week-long day camp. Medical and nutrition education is included but maybe only about 30 minutes per day with none on the last day (family day). The rest of the camp focuses on activities such as swimming, water slides, shooting water rockets, arts and crafts, relays of various sorts, and many more activities. Firsts, such as first shots or site changes done by a camper are praised and casual conversations that include diabetes occur. Parents have a chance to connect and to hear one speaker a day (parents have a choice of whether or not to come to camp). The campers are safe in that there are medical protocols in place and the groups of campers are always accompanied by medical staff. But, diabetes is mostly just handled so that the campers can move on to the fun stuff. The key diabetes messages are essentially "you are not alone" and "diabetes does not have to hold you back." But the focus is just on fun.
     
  4. virgo39

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    I think my expectations are pretty similar to those of my DD.

    First and foremost, we both want/expect camp to include fun activities, swimming, playing, singing, mini-golf outing, crafts.

    Second, we want DD to be able to see/interact with other kids with D.

    Third, we want a bit (but not a lot) of D-education -- at an age appropriate level.

    Fourth, I want her to be safe during a long and active day (she would go to a day camp from 9-3). My expectation is that she would be better cared for (though last year, the last day of camp, they stack insulin by correcting at snack time).
     
  5. hrermgr

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    Ummm...I guess we wanted T to go to D summer camp so she could interact with other kids with D and know she can do anything she wants to do. It's also a great learning opportunity for her and us. We wanted her to have fun in a safe environment--and to be able to "let go" of D care for a little while. Another neat benefit (for me) was to see the older D kids taking on counselor and counselor in training roles. My DH did this years ago but I didn't know him then. Really our kids can do anything!

    T went to daycamp last year and we intend for her to go again this year. We were extremely impressed by the staff, programming and medical care provided at Camp Needlepoint.
     
  6. suz

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    Couldn't have put this better myself - all the things we want in camp.
     
  7. Marcia

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    Abbey has gone every year since diagnosis. Benefits? She has made lifelong friends, has a safe overnight camp experience, spends a week at a beautiful camp with many activities, every camper there shares a special bond, she loves it so much she wants to be a counselor, AND I GET A WEEK VACATION FROM DIABETES! On camp application, we can set personal goals for Abbey for her diabetes care and education.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  8. swimmom

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    This is Lauren, not my mom. I go to Sweeney and it's really fun. I think that learning about diabetes is important but I think of camp as more of a place to have a lot of fun and not worry about diabetes. The med staff even checks you at night so you don't have to worry about delayed lows. Even some of the counselors are diabetic.
     
  9. Lawana

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    My take is "it depends." Dd attended D-camp summer before last and it was ok, but nothing special. By temperament, she does not thrive in situations with large groups. If it weren't for the counselors that made the effort to speak to her when she was alone, it would have been a disaster. The one activity that she was really looking forward to, horseback riding, was canceled because of the heat. She also had trouble at night, when, according to the rules, she had to have someone accompany her to the restroom, and noone was willing to get up with her. As a last resort, the counselor told her to just go by herself. So much for "the rules." So if your child does well in that type of group situation, it could be a fabulous experience to not have to be "different" because of his/her diabetes. On the other hand, if that type of situation doesn't generally work well, then D-camp is no magic elixor.
     
  10. Beach bum

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    We've been doing D camp for several years now and this is my take:

    D camp is a camp that is equipped to care for my child properly, very little explanation needed when we drop her off. Kind of like dropping off at school.

    The camp is great because when it's time for snack/lunch your child isn't the only one who has to stop by the nurse, they all line up and test. Then they get all goofy trying to see who has the highest/lowest numbers etc.

    Yes, they do all the usual camp stuff, games, singing, crafts etc. However, they also talk about D. My daughter likes it because she can talk about it and everyone else gets it. I always have to answer her venting by saying "I can only try and understand how you feel, it must stink" while the kids at camp can say "ya, doesn't it suck when that happens?" She also learns new things about taking care of her self.

    Most of all, D camp empowers her to deal with her diabetes in a positive way.

    We've been doing D day camp for a while, but now she has decided this year she wants to d overnight!
     
  11. joan

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    My son has been an on and off camper for years. Last summer a junior counselor summer before counselor in training. The main thing I wanted my son to get from camp is to have fun. Next being with others with d and 3rd a sense of independence. If he learned something great, if not I didn't really care. For him the last 2 years have been really great experiences. He loves camp. I think as a teen hanging with the other counselors is very freeing. They just get it. As much as he has friends at home the bond with the camp friends is very strong. He really came home this summer much more confident as a person and definitely more independent.
     
  12. Ronin1966

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    Hello mathcat:

    Point of clarification... week-long day camp? Was overnight offered?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  13. piratelight

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    My overall goal was just for Hunter to be able to go away to camp and do all the fun camp things while we were all sure he would be safe. That was accomplished!
    He went 3 years ago for a week, took a year off, went last year for a week and is talking about going this summer for 2 weeks! While I miss him,. he does have a great time, hang out with people who get it, and he's safe. He also does learn some things so that I consider an added bonus.
     
  14. Ronin1966

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    Hello nancy:

    First thank you for taking part, I appreciate your thoughts and time.

    <<(at his camp all meals are counted and dosed for them)

    Wow, we had to know our doses, carbs, fats, calories everything that was in our lunch and that was back in the "dark ages". Humngh... interesting. Don't remember what the reward was for getting breakfast, lunch "right" but enough and the whole cabin got something as a reward.

    <<*I* got a break too, from counting and worrying.

    Yeah, you among parents here... might not have been ACTIVE over the top worrying, but, you wondered how he was doing... if he was having any problems I'll bet ;)

    <<he also came to the realization that hardly ANYONE had as good of control as he did, and they didn't seem alarmed by staying in high numbers as a rule,

    As uncomfortable as that truth might be... lows scare everybody. I understand their approach, that thinking. Too tight and there is zero buffer, crash and burn (low) is guaranteed.

    Did the education he got cover any "new ground"??? Or was it details, specifics that were glossed over before?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  15. pianoplayer4

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    as a teen I would have to say, (I have not been to d camp) but if I went then I would want to have a break. I know we need to learn how to take care of ourselves and all but, we have all year to do that. I would want to go and spend time with other kids who "get it" but also, have a week where I can (as much as possible) forget about my diabetes:cwds:
     
  16. nanhsot

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    Meals were counted for them, but they did have little daily quizzes (by cabin) on counting carbs, on all the facts there were taught. They learned about pizza by eating it, junk food, etc, But I really loved that he was given a break from the daily grind of having to count every morsel of food that went into his mouth. A meal was popped in front of them and a syringe was given. He loved it. That he loved it was enough for me. At first I was put off by it, thinking that he needed to be in charge of it and learn more, but then I realized that he already WAS in charge, and having just a few weeks of not thinking about it was really a valuable thing. And he came home really appreciating my cooking!

    Honestly and truly, I let go while he was there. I am a very instinctual person and my instincts told me that I could. And I even got the dreaded phone call telling me that "he's OK....but..." he had been hospitalized with a stomach bug (pretty much the whole camp was sent to the infirmary at one point). I loved that they didn't call me during...but after. They had it in hand the whole time and didn't freak me out during. I honestly truly trust their medical staff, and I'm a hard sell when it comes to stuff like that.

    This particular camp has a daily live feed video, so I saw him almost daily, saw him win a DS (live!), saw him dancing and enjoying himself. Pretty cool. I didn't always catch it live but I was able to see him if not in video at least in photos every single day. Pretty good way to reassure parents.

    Sorry but I disagree with your thoughts on tight control. I work in a medical field where my daily reality is that complications of this disease are dire. I believe tight control is essential, and we have very few lows. It's possible. Easy? Nope. But possible. I think the mindset of running high to prevent lows is a horrible horrible thing.

    I do think his education covered new ground. I particularly appreciated that the teen cabin had quite a few lectures on drinking and diabetes. Something I'd rather stick my head into the sand about quite frankly, so I was happy that it was discussed in a frank and honest way.
     

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