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Thread: Camp and diabetes

  1. #1

    Default Camp and diabetes

    We just sent our oldest (non-D) off to adventure camp this week: kayaking, mountain biking, stand-up paddle-boarding. He's 5.

    Afterwards I wondered whether his younger brother will get a similar chance (He's 3). It seems ridiculous to imagine him going somewhere an hour away, doing strenuous exercise all day, with a bunch of counselors in charge of him. It made me realize he may not get the same opportunities his older brother is having.

    I'm wondering how others have handled these camp situations and if anyone has found safe camps that will take kids with diabetes and still do adventurous or strenuous activities with them? His daycare offers camps but they're tame by comparison. I am sure that as he gets older (3rd - 5th grade) there are options, but what about for younger kids.
    1 2-year-old T1D boy
    pumping Minimed 523 8/16
    Dexcom G5 5/16

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by samson View Post
    We just sent our oldest (non-D) off to adventure camp this week: kayaking, mountain biking, stand-up paddle-boarding. He's 5.

    Afterwards I wondered whether his younger brother will get a similar chance (He's 3). It seems ridiculous to imagine him going somewhere an hour away, doing strenuous exercise all day, with a bunch of counselors in charge of him. It made me realize he may not get the same opportunities his older brother is having.

    I'm wondering how others have handled these camp situations and if anyone has found safe camps that will take kids with diabetes and still do adventurous or strenuous activities with them? His daycare offers camps but they're tame by comparison. I am sure that as he gets older (3rd - 5th grade) there are options, but what about for younger kids.
    I love this question! My daughter is one of those kids who was born to be a summer camper (polar opposite of her mom!), and she's having a great summer.

    Last summer and this, she has attended two traditional day camps at the local recreation center and another community organization, with swimming, crafts, sports, obstacle courses, canoeing, etc. She has also attended a few specialty camps at the local university. The directors of all three camps brought in a nurse to train a few counselors and administrators on all things diabetes. Regarding the kind of camp that your 5 yr old attended, our area has a bunch of mountain adventure day camps, and the largest of them also told us that they had a staff nurse and would do whatever it takes to care for our dd (unfortunately, we had to pass this year because of the distance, but it is an option).

    The first two weeks of this summer were somewhat rocky diabetes-wise, but not that different from the first two weeks of school. The silver lining is that, after all that crazy outdoor activities, her overnight Dexcom traces have been absolutely beautiful.

    While my kid is having a ball at day camp, I don't think her camp options are as wide-open as other kids'. For example, I would hesitate to send her to some of the smaller "boutique-y" camps in our area, like the one at her gymnastics studio, or at the local dance or arts spaces, because those programs are way less professionally run than the municipal rec center and they just aren't staffed or budgeted to provide the same level of care. I also wouldn't send her to camps where the kids spend most of the day in the water (like kayaking camp, which is a thing here), because BG control would be a nightmare, and we'd probably have to switch to MDI for the week to keep her equipment safe.

    She really wants to go to ADA sleep-away camp when she's old enough, and I think she'll love it. We also haven't ruled out that a non-diabetes camp might be an option down the line also, if we find the right fit (and if she ever starts waking up to her CGM alarms! ).
    Snowflake
    Mom to
    DD TR, age 7. Dx-ed with T1 04/04/2012. Omnipod & Dexcom user. Dx-ed with celiac 12/23/2013.
    DS1, age 5.
    DS2, age 1.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    696

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
    I love this question! My daughter is one of those kids who was born to be a summer camper (polar opposite of her mom!), and she's having a great summer.

    Last summer and this, she has attended two traditional day camps at the local recreation center and another community organization, with swimming, crafts, sports, obstacle courses, canoeing, etc. She has also attended a few specialty camps at the local university. The directors of all three camps brought in a nurse to train a few counselors and administrators on all things diabetes. Regarding the kind of camp that your 5 yr old attended, our area has a bunch of mountain adventure day camps, and the largest of them also told us that they had a staff nurse and would do whatever it takes to care for our dd (unfortunately, we had to pass this year because of the distance, but it is an option).

    The first two weeks of this summer were somewhat rocky diabetes-wise, but not that different from the first two weeks of school. The silver lining is that, after all that crazy outdoor activities, her overnight Dexcom traces have been absolutely beautiful.

    While my kid is having a ball at day camp, I don't think her camp options are as wide-open as other kids'. For example, I would hesitate to send her to some of the smaller "boutique-y" camps in our area, like the one at her gymnastics studio, or at the local dance or arts spaces, because those programs are way less professionally run than the municipal rec center and they just aren't staffed or budgeted to provide the same level of care. I also wouldn't send her to camps where the kids spend most of the day in the water (like kayaking camp, which is a thing here), because BG control would be a nightmare, and we'd probably have to switch to MDI for the week to keep her equipment safe.

    She really wants to go to ADA sleep-away camp when she's old enough, and I think she'll love it. We also haven't ruled out that a non-diabetes camp might be an option down the line also, if we find the right fit (and if she ever starts waking up to her CGM alarms! ).
    My daughter has been going to diabetes camp since she was 3, as a family camper & then an overnight camper(around 7 or 8) and now, she has been a counselor in training at camp & is working at diabetes camp most of the summer(she is now 18). They do plenty of active things, like rock wall climbing, biking, canoeing(sp?),archery, swimming, hiking etc.

    I think waking to cgm alarms becomes easier when they HAVE to, as opposed to when they know mom will deal with it.

    Going to a non-d camp can be an option...you just have to work with the people in charge. I think as the technology gets better for our kids, it gets easier for them to participate in anything. My daughter did cheer camp overnight when she was younger, I checked in with the gal in charge of the group regarding bloodsugars. When they performed during the day, I was there as a "spectator" like a lot of other parents...I just happened to have an extra supply of juice & things for treating low bloodsugars A positive attitude & a cooperative approach go a long way. she also did a 6th grade science camp trip & while I didn't love the stress it caused me, she survived, lol.
    Kim
    Mom to Danielle, age 18, dx'd type 1 age 3 in 2001. MM 630G pump with cgm. dx'd celiac 6/09
    She will be a sophomore at University of Utah in the fall 2017.
    Go Utes!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    106

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    Great question Samson. I have found that I am comfortable with sending my son off to camps with strenuous activities if I am well prepared to make it easier on those in charge of supervising my son. Liam has been to several non-D camps over the years: outdoor adventure camps, BMX camps, water ramp camps (for freestyle skiing), etc. I prepare a one page 'cheat sheet' for the supervisors that outlines what he will do when he is high or low, and when I need to be called. Since he was 8, he has had a cell phone so he can contact me. I go over the one pager with both the supervisor and Liam together so that they both have the same explanation (this avoids the "well sometimes my dad wants me to do 'x'." situations.) Having done this with camp supervisors, teachers, etc., one thing I have learned is that I need to present this information such that it builds trust and confidence in the supervisor who may have to help Liam address a low or high or bolusing the better the response.

    Having said the above, it wasn't always easy to let him go to such camps. I would be (and still am) concerned about his BG levels and whether he was following the instructions given. Over the years, he has shown more responsibility and I have learned to let go a little more.

    Just remember, our sons and daughters with T1D can do anything ... As parents, we need to provide them (and their supervisors) with a little extra guidance.
    _______________________________________________
    Dad to:

    Liam, 12, dx. T1 @ 4.5 yrs. old 01/06/2009 and BMX rider
    Xavier, 10, (non-D)
    and Amalia, 8 (non-D)

    Animas Ping as of August 1, 2010; Omnipod June 26, 2017

    .

  5. #5

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    Bill,
    This is great information. At what age did your son start going to these camps? And did he have a CGM?
    Thanks
    1 2-year-old T1D boy
    pumping Minimed 523 8/16
    Dexcom G5 5/16

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    106

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    He was diagnosed at 4.5 yrs. It was around 6-8 that he started doing the various camps. By age 8, I had become more comfortable with helping both guide him and the supervisors. We only got a CGM going this past year. For the integrated CGM / pumps, this may have helped. We were using the Animas Ping till yesterday, and same issue with the omnipod, it is an 'extra' item for him to carry and not forget.

    All the best,
    Bill
    _______________________________________________
    Dad to:

    Liam, 12, dx. T1 @ 4.5 yrs. old 01/06/2009 and BMX rider
    Xavier, 10, (non-D)
    and Amalia, 8 (non-D)

    Animas Ping as of August 1, 2010; Omnipod June 26, 2017

    .

  7. #7

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    We did a mix. We predate Share's existence, so in the earlier days/younger years, I went on some camping events. She went to non-D sleepover camp alone; the director was great about kids with special needs. The thing we drew the line at was adventure camping with no one with diabetes experience in a remote area without cell coverage. That was upon the advise of an adult with T1D who said that while he'd never parented a CWD, he'd raised three teen daughters and knew D, and that he'd recommend against it as an error could have cost my daughter her dream. He suggested we do those activities as a family instead.
    8/2010 - 9/2011 MDI, Lantus & Humalog
    9/2011- Medtronic Revel 723 & CGM
    11/2012 - Dexcom G4
    2013 - Cut-The-Cord for water times after multiple Aquapac failures
    10/2015 - T-slim

    "Life is not waiting for the storms to pass, but learning to DANCE in the rain."

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by samson View Post
    We just sent our oldest (non-D) off to adventure camp this week: kayaking, mountain biking, stand-up paddle-boarding. He's 5.

    Afterwards I wondered whether his younger brother will get a similar chance (He's 3). It seems ridiculous to imagine him going somewhere an hour away, doing strenuous exercise all day, with a bunch of counselors in charge of him. It made me realize he may not get the same opportunities his older brother is having.

    I'm wondering how others have handled these camp situations and if anyone has found safe camps that will take kids with diabetes and still do adventurous or strenuous activities with them? His daycare offers camps but they're tame by comparison. I am sure that as he gets older (3rd - 5th grade) there are options, but what about for younger kids.
    This is my daughters third year at day camp, she's now 5. In our experience, it really goes camp by camp. For the first two years, my husband ran down to the camp to dose the insulin, but this year, the camp is doing it. If you have a particular camp in mind, I'd talk to them about whether or not they'd be willing to consider taking on kid with diabetes. With proper training and communication, there's no reason that kids with diabetes can't do everything that all kids do, but not every camp or caretaker is willing to do what it takes.

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