A Nervous Mom’s List of Five Things to Look For In a Summer Camp
1. Medical staff – You can get away with an in-town camp that has no medical staff if you are nearby and available by cell phone, but even that’s a little risky. For sleepaway camp, a full-time nurse is a must.
2. Near a hospital - Any sleepaway camp that is so remote it involves a drive of more than 10-15 minutes to the local hospital is out of the question. Too much can happen with diabetes in 15 minutes in a remote location.
3. Previous campers with type 1 – Don’t let your child be the guinea pig for an inexperienced staff. My experience is that people who are new to being responsible for kids with diabetes tend to clamp down on them, and don’t allow them to do much. If the camp you select has never had a camper with diabetes attend before, chances are your child won’t have much fun.
4. Not too many different classes in one day – Some camps involve changing activities every 30-45 minutes, each with a different counselor, for a full day. My experience has been that in that situation, you have to have a conversation with each separate counselor to explain what to do if your child has a problem. It’s just too many opportunities for your child to fall through the cracks with no one noticing.
5. Snack times – If there’s a fair amount of physical activity, your child will need snack breaks, and he or she will feel less singled out if everyone else is having snacks too. Plus there will be less pilferage of your child’s snacks by other hungry kids if everyone has their own supply.
Whether in town or sleepaway, summer camp can be a great experience for a child with diabetes. Just make sure you choose wisely.
Published On: March 10, 2006