Residential camps for kids with diabetes provide an unmatched opportunity for learning and fun. Surrounded by counselors and other kids with diabetes, campers are freed from the feelings of being different and are able to enjoy one of childhood's great pleasures: summer camp. Here are some tips to help both camper and parent make the most of the adventure:
Tips for Parents
- Mail is very important. Beginning a week before camp starts, send a card or letter each day. This ensures that your camper will receive mail on the first day, plus every other day. Ask grandparents and friends to send cards too!
- Camp doctors routinely decrease insulin amounts, under the assumption that the activity level at camp is greater than what most kids are used to. If your child is active, be sure to let the camp doctor know. Work with the doctor to determine an appropriate insulin dose while your child is at camp. Many parents, myself included, were shocked to find our children's blood sugars over 400 mg/dl (22 mmol/l) with large amounts of ketones after our first camping experience.
- Give your child a disposable camera, but be ready for an entire roll shot in the cabin on the first day.
- Don't call the camp to check in on your child. If there's a problem, they will contact you.
- Send extra socks.
- Relax and enjoy your break from diabetes. Maybe even take a vacation!
Tips for Campers
- Don't take anything you can't afford to lose. That means leaving special things at home, such as stuffed animals. Camp means dust, dirt, rain, and bugs. But that's part of the fun!
- Leave your jewelry at home. If you have pierced ears, wear simple post earrings.
- Take lots of extra underwear and socks, especially socks.
- Take extra shoes, because shoes do get wet at camp.
- Bring sun screen and use it.
- Bring some paperback books or a deck of cards, just in case the weather isn't cooperative. For older kids, a diary or journal would be great.
- Be prepared to try blood tests or shots if you aren't already doing them. If you're already doing blood tests and shots, encourage the campers who are doing it for the first time.
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This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.
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