I’ll confess, this was my first time at camp. I’ve done my share of camping, but have never been to camp- certainly not diabetes camp. So at 29 years old, I could relate to the nervous fidgeting as children arrived with backpacks and waved goodbye to their parents.
Summer camp is often hailed as the ultimate experience for children. For these children, the value of summer camp is more than most people can fathom. For one week, they are in the company of other children who understand life with Type 1 diabetes.
Camp Briardale is one of 12 camps across the country organized by the Canadian Diabetes Association. This year, 80 children with Type 1 diabetes (81 including this kid) spent one week in Roseau River, Manitoba. Camp certainly isn’t a break from diabetes- unfortunately this disease doesn’t take days off- but it is an opportunity to share in the camp experience, knowing a full medical team is on site. Familiar faces from the Diabetes Education Resource for Children and Adolescents (DERCA) lead the medical team, and each cabin is assigned one cabin counselor, a medical counselor and a nutrition counselor. These children are well taken care of, but the true significance of their camp experience is not medical. Let the friendships created at Camp Briardale carry these children through the emotional burden of living with diabetes. That support will last a lifetime.