Packing for Diabetes Summer Camp

Kim Benjet Health Guide
  • My 8-year-old son, Josh, is going to an American Diabetes Association sponsored Diabetes SLEEP AWAY Camp for one week.  He’s old enough to go to camp. He’s certainly enthusiastic enough. His only concern has been who will change his pump infusion sites.  Then he realized it was diabetes camp with doctors from our endocrine practice. Of course someone will know how to change his site, and he might even learn as well.  I suggested to Josh that he might return with more diabetes tricks than I know.  Since he was diagnosed at age 4, my husband and I have been the “experts,” but slowly we’re transferring that “expertise” to Josh. He’s ready for camp, but am I ready?

     We’ve read the packing list over and checked it twice.  We have piles of clothes, towels, and sheets lying on the floor.  Now we have to pack the diabetes supplies, but not as many as I would have thought. Surprisingly we are NOT to bring the following things:  glucose meter (we even have to detach Josh’s cozmonitor and leave it at home), lancets, test strips, ketone strips and insulin!  The camp supplies meters and one-use lancets to prevent any contamination. They provide insulin.  All we need to bring is the insulin pump supplies (infusion sites, cartridges, extra batteries).

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    I’m nervous as I log Josh’s blood sugar numbers this week and continue the ongoing efforts at tweaking his basal rates.  I want to provide a clear picture of how his body responds during the day, but our days are ever-changing with the start of summer.  Yesterday we went to an amusement park – clearly not your “average day.”   His numbers are up and down. He had pizza for dinner – aaah, that makes for irregular numbers. As I stress over getting a “perfect” model week, I remember what the doctor at the orientation said: she will turn down his basal rates by 10 to 15 percent no matter what numbers I bring her.

    Diabetes camp is not a “regular week.”  Kids are much more active, and although it’s run with ample medical professionals, they are not striving for tight blood sugar control.  They stress safety and fun.  The focus is making sure the kids have an amazing time and learn about living with diabetes in a fun-filled, challenging setting. 

    I’m anxious. My husband insists that I will cry as we drive away from camp – we’ll see. I am excited for Josh to try the high ropes course, hike through the woods, swim to his heart’s content and stay up late around the campfire.  I’m excited for Josh to be in a setting where everyone deals with diabetes and it’s just a part of what everyone does.  I’m looking forward to sleeping through the night knowing someone else will do late-night checks (the counselors assure me that they will).

    I’ll let you know how our week turns out, and I'd love to hear from other families who are experiencing diabetes camp for the first time.

    For more information about diabetes summer camps see:  -- very comprehensive list that you can search by state.

  • the American Diabetes Association’s camp site

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Published On: June 18, 2007