The words “diabetes” and “camp” may not seem to go together.

Camps offer games and activities and they’re supposed to be fun. Diabetes involves carbohydrate testing, and sometimes insulin injections, which are not fun.
But children with diabetes do all the same activities as other kids, the only difference is that they do these activities under the eyes of a well trained medical staff whose specialty is dealing with diabetic children.

A typical day at camp might start at dawn, when everyone wakes up and tests their blood. Then, after the days first insulin injection, everyone eats a breakfast that fits into his/her meal plan. Test, insulin injections and meals are scheduled between all types of activities: Outdoor activities like archery, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and sailing; team sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, street hockey; plus dancing, performing arts, crafts and even radio broadcasting may be offered. As the sun sets the campfires are lit and children gather around for stories and special bonding with fellow diabetic campers and staff.

For older diabetic children there are many well supervised trips they can choose to participate in if they wish. A overnight hike through the Maine woods, a 50 mile horseback ride in Colorado, 3 days on the Suwanee river in Florida or rock climbing adventure in California . During these activities diabetic children learn how to fine- tune their blood sugar control. For instance, when everyone stops to test his/ her blood sugar, the staff can help figure out how much food or insulin they need to keep blood sugar in normal range.

Dustin Moore was not excited about going to a camp full of kids with diabetes, he never imagined he would get to try things like kayaking, rock climbing, sailing or backpacking on a rough mountain trail. During these activities he learned a lot about his diabetes. “The camp counselors were the key to my learning about my diabetes”, says Dustin. You can learn a lot by just watching what they do and listening to them. It was so nice to see older people who have managed to be healthy, happy and athletic with diabetes. “Seeing someone you look up to control their diabetes is very cool!” says Dustin.

Paul Madden’s parents wanted to send him away to a special diabetes camp. “I had no idea why,” he says. “I didn’t want diabetes to be my specialty.” That was 35 years ago! He must have had a good time, because now he manages a diabetes camp for the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Most camps have a high return rate for campers, many of whom have gone on to become counselors, staff, and role models for younger campers. Thus it is reasonable to assume that they have benefited not only from the camp experience but also from friendships that have developed from being in an environment where the norm is to have diabetes.

Sponsors Thoughts...

As a hotel we are in the business of giving people memorable experiences and that doesn’t just happen at our hotels but in our communities as well. Nothing brightens our day more than getting a letter from a diabetic camper that has had a great camp experience partially because of our donation and that is a gift that will last us a lifetime.

Abigail Flynn, Hilton Inns

Judging from the letters from campers I have supported, the camp experience for a diabetic can be life changing. By attending camp with other diabetic children and counselors, these youngsters soon realize that they are not alone and that their condition can be managed without dominating their lives. I’m amazed at how many of these people arrive at camp thinking “why me” and leave saying “no problem” I can handle this.

Dan Johnson, Steven Bader & Co – Valley Falls N.Y.

All of our campers come from financially challenged families and receive partial scholarships.

We invite you to become a Camp Angel by sponsoring a child to attend camp.

Camp Angels is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-exempt in accordance with IRS regulations.

Scroll to top