School, Sports, and Diabetes!

Meet Dakota Egert. He’s in fifth grade. He plays football, basketball and soccer. He likes to hang out with friends on the weekend. He likes to ride his bike and scooter outside. He was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in August of 2014. School, sports, diabetes… how does he deal with it all?


How’s the school year going, Dakota?

Actually, really great! Fifth grade is funner. We get to switch rooms and there’s a lot more history than all the other grades. We get to do more science and a lot more reading.


The football season just ended and the basketball season is underway. Do your teammates know that you have diabetes?

Yes, because they’re my friends and I’ve been to their sleepovers before and they’ve seen me check my blood sugar and give myself shots.


How do you deal with a low blood sugar while playing sports?

My coaches already know that I have diabetes so I just ask if I could go take a break. I tell them if my blood sugar is low. And then I go over to wherever my stuff is and I check my blood sugar and eat. I keep juice and fruit snacks and granola bars in my bag.


Do you notice a difference in how you play depending on your blood sugar?

Yes. When my blood sugar is low I usually don’t play as well. When I’m high I kind of feel lousy. I kind of feel like slow and want to go lay down.


When you were first diagnosed, did you parents come into school to talk about diabetes to your teachers or classmates?

Yeah, my mom came in and talked to my teachers.


How does lunch work? Do you go to the nurse to check your blood sugar?

Yeah I go to the nurse to test before lunch. Sometimes the nurses don’t know better than I do and I go lower. Then I have to go back and eat something. One of the nurses has diabetes.


Do you bring your own lunch or count your own carbs for the school lunch?

Both, depends on what’s for lunch. For school lunch, they have nutritional information at the nurse for it. My favorite school lunch is a hamburger.


What piece of advice would you give a fifth grader that was newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and dealing with school and sports?

I would just tell them it doesn’t matter whatever you’re doing in the classroom and you should tell the people that you usually sit with why you have to do something. If you take shots, then they usually think you are super brave and they get freaked out and they let you do your thing. In sports, you should tell your coach and your teammates so they know.


Thanks for chatting with us Dakota! Good luck with the basketball season!

-Lauren Evans, YPLC Marketing Chair

Breaking Down Myths About Diabetes

With Halloween season rolling around, It always brings costumes, parties, scary movies, and of course, a great loot of candy from trick or treating. No Halloween day is complete without all the treats brought into school, and the many days following, of bringing candy from trick or treating as part of lunch.

There are a lot of misconceptions about diabetes, and a lot of them can show up at school, and involving food. Especially around Halloween, with all the treats being around, the misconception that always popped up the most was “oh you have diabetes, you can’t have this candy.” While the sentiment of kids and teachers being aware of diabetes is nice, theres obviously a huge, and actually harmful misunderstanding happening.

A misconception like that leads to an idea that having diabetes completely restricts any kind of choice for what you can, or can’t eat. A comment of being told that you can’t do something because of having diabetes is very excluding, especially from someone whom isn’t diabetic. It is particularly excluding during a time when things like candy and treats play a part in the parties and social events of Halloween.

Like many aspects of diabetes, this misconception of candy being forbidden, is one we can work to correct by letting people know what diabetes is, and isn’t. While diet and management of diabetes is an everyday task, It is very important to remind ourselves, and others that diabetes is not a exclusion from partaking in things like Halloween parties and social events, or smaller things like having some candy, diabetes is living life to the fullest while doing the best you can to manage this disease and educate others!

– Joe Kinney

Perfect for Fall: Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese

Are you looking for the perfect Fall recipe? These muffins are a great treat on a cold Autumn day! I made them last night and they are delicious! Check out the recipe below!



Serves: 9 (1 muffin each)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 18 minutes



2 oz.                         cream cheesek

1 tbsp.                         pure maple syrup

1                         large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup                         canned pumpkin puree

1 ½ cups             almond flour

¾ tsp.                         baking soda

1 dash                         sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

2 tbsp.                         raw pumpkin seeds



1.) Preheat oven to 350°

2.) Prepare nine muffin cups by lining with muffin tin liners or coating with spray. Set aside.


3.) Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.


4.) Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.


5.) Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.


6.) Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.


7.) Spoon batter into each prepared muffin cup, filling a little less than ½ full. Press down a little with fingers.


8.) Spoon about 1 heaping tsp. cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin. Evenly fill muffin cups ¾ full with remaining batter

9.) Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds.


10.)  Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

11.) Transfer muffin to rack; cool.


These were so good, especially warm out of the oven. Hope you give them a try! Happy Fall!

– Lauren Evans, YPLC Marketing Chair

A Look Back At Step Out 2015

The weather was clear and the sun was shining at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley on September 26th for the 2015 ADA Step Out event. Over 1,000 individuals came out in support of the event, either in participation or volunteering their time, and over $180,000 has been raised overall. Our own Camp Needlepoint team raised over $15,000! We want to thanks those that came out on September 26th for their time, hard work, and dedication to the Step Out event, and we hope to see you back again next year!

Donations are still open for Step Out and for the Camp Needlepoint team! To donate to the team, please follow the link to the team’s Step Out page12049316_10156045303755024_4913460058050292424_n12079715_10156045303775024_1997683163696451210_n12039319_10156045306165024_426926346701002688_n12038147_10156045306465024_3757501175524003138_n12042701_10156045305305024_7960511548214514861_n12038107_10156045305025024_4836201063737152280_n11214192_10156045304675024_3206094561508810181_n12074922_10156045305920024_2699313210770939601_n12032245_10156045305885024_8541138603492451156_n12037976_10156045306605024_3865969233609410608_n

Diabetes EXPO: Exercise Your Personal Power

blogWhen an illness like diabetes enters a family’s life, everyone is impacted.  While it may be inconvenient, it can be an opportunity to assess our current habits and routines.  For many of us, disease informs us that there are healthier choices we can make.

When we take responsibility for our own health, we are exercising our personal power.  Once we consciously set an intention to be healthier, life cooperates with this desire.  Then we need to be diligent, stay on course with the change and receive support.  Understanding that we will have an inner struggle to go back to what we automatically do, we can persevere.  Part of the process is discovering our innate strength to overcome obstacles.

Life has given me many opportunities to change harmful behaviors into positive ones.  This is the reason I am participating in the Diabetes EXPO.  By sharing my insights, I want others to know they have what it takes to be happy.  Through education, we can gain more insights into the mind, body and spirit connection.  It is exciting to make small changes that can have a huge impact to one’s health and well-being.

When we see and embrace our small successes, we are able to continue growing.  We can welcome a disease as a way to show us a better way to live our lives. 

Ellie Peterson

Lauren Evans Brings You Our Step Out Walk Preview!

Lauren Evans here, your Camp Needlepoint Step Out team captain! Who else is getting excited for the Walk?! Only TWO days away!


What does the Step Out Walk mean to me?


It means reuniting with my camp friends. This past summer was my sixth year at Camp Needlepoint. I have made some of my closest friends at camp; one of them will even be in my wedding next summer. Some live close and I see them often. Others live further away and with busy lives, we don’t get to see each other as often as we could like. We all get to come together at the walk for a great day.


It means seeing the campers come together again. Laughing, joking, and reminiscing about camp memories. I love seeing campers forming bonds like I have and making lifelong connections with others. They can all have their own best friends at home, but there is something special about camp friends. They understand something that many others don’t.


It means looking around at all of the people supporting one great cause. Seeing all of the different teams, the vendors, the media… they’re all there for one reason: to stop diabetes. The energy at the walk every year is contagious.


It means raising money for something very near and dear to my heart. I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for almost thirteen years and my mom has had Type 1 diabetes for almost ten. The money raised goes towards amazing programs like Camp Needlepoint and also research to find a cure. I hope one day to be able to say, “I used to have diabetes.”


It means hopefully seeing YOU at the walk this Saturday!


Have you joined the Camp Needlepoint team yet? Register at Also, join us for our after party at the CNP tent with Subway lunch and to celebrate another great Step Out year! RSVP to

As a Parent, What is it Like to Send Your Child to Camp?

Hi, my name is Katherine. My daughter, Ellery, has attended ADA’s Camp Needlepoint/Daypoint for several years and I can honestly say that it’s the highlight of her year. She looks forward to that one week all year long, every year.


Camp Needlepoint and Daypoint offer all of the typical experiences of summer camp and so much more.

Camp Needlepoint is the only place where kids are surrounded by people who truly understand what it means to live with diabetes. And at this camp, they experience first-hand that they don’t just have to live with diabetes, they can live WELL with diabetes, live FUNNY with diabetes, live ADVENTUROUSLY with diabetes, live SILLY with diabetes… live NORMALLY with diabetes.

Camp is where these kids can let their guard down and build themselves back up to thrive for another year. It rejuvenates them like nothing else and it fosters the strength of spirit these kids need to continue running this diabetes marathon.


Thank you, ADA. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity and it is one of many reasons that our family supports the ADA. Some other day I’ll write about the many other good reasons to support ADA but, for now, I’m focusing on camp because the ADA’s Walk to Stop Diabetes is right around the corner and this event is an awesome opportunity for camp friends and camp staff to reunite and have fun together for this great cause. If you haven’t signed up already, please do! It’s a great morning of fun and fresh air with your diabetes friends!

Unfortunately, this year Ellery is unable to attend the Walk because our family will be out of town. She’ll miss seeing her D-friends but that isn’t stopping us from supporting the ADA… Ellery is signed up as a Virtual Walker and as raised money over the summer to support the Camp Needlepoint walk team (and to earn that cool team T-shirt).

So, if you’ve never attended the walk – check it out! If you’ve attended in past years, don’t miss this year – I hear the camp reunion activities will be better than ever!


Let’s stop Diabetes!

Don’t Feel Ashamed or Embarrassed, Embrace It! Paige Clements Talks About Returning to Camp Needlepoint and Her First Walk in Step-Out


Diabetes changed my life and Camp Needlepoint and the ADA might have saved it. I have had diabetes for over 15 years and I started going to diabetes camps that very first year and every year after that until high school. I lived in Texas for half of those summers and tried many different diabetes camps down there. However, Camp Needlepoint was always special. I even traveled to Minnesota from Texas one summer just to spend that magical week in the best diabetes camp I knew. Camp was always a time to feel normal, get silly, and meet lifelong friends.

Unfortunately, I stopped coming to camp during high school because I did not want to miss any sports practices. Not going to camp those years is one of my biggest regrets. During that time away my diabetes got out of control. You could say it is because of high school “changes”, hormones, or being lazy. But I know it was because I was embarrassed. I was so embarrassed to be “that diabetic girl,” so I hid it. My friends parents tried to accommodate me by buying sugar free syrup for sleepovers, having healthy food instead of birthday cake at birthday parties, and constantly asking me to check my blood sugar. I know that they had good intentions but I felt like I was the only one being singled out for a condition that I could control on my own. Because of that, I chose to not control it. I checked my blood sugar very little, only put my pump sites where my friends wouldn’t see them, and never talked about my diabetes.


After my freshman year of college my A1C was 11 and I knew that I needed to control myself and remembered those amazing summers at Camp Needlepoint. I was nervous going back to camp as a counselor after being gone for so long but once I arrived in Hudson, I immediately remembered why camp is the best place on earth: the people. They brought me back into the Needlepoint family like I had never left. We talked about everything from school to our anticipations for the next two weeks at camp to the last time we changed our lancets. It became clear that diabetes was not something to be ashamed of. Diabetes is the one thing that brought this special family of ours together so it was to be embraced, not hidden. My first two weeks as a counselor will never be forgotten and they were just what I needed to get back on track. I dropped my A1C 4 points after camp and all of a sudden desired to be this huge diabetes advocate again. I checked my blood sugar in public with pride, showed off my pump sites, and educated my friends about diabetes every chance I could.

Now, this year is my first time walking the Step Out Walk. I am excited to walk for such a great cause and being able to do it alongside my Needlepoint family makes it even better! Not only do I get to walk with my dia-besties (a term we came up with at camp), but I get to spread awareness and raise money towards a cure that would help not only myself, but the rest of the family that I have made at camp.

Diabetes is a tough condition. I would never wish it on anyone. However, I feel blessed to have had it because of the things I have learned, the memories I have made, and most importantly the people I have met. Camp is the best place on earth and I know I will never miss a chance to go to camp again!

– Paige Clements


*Help us reach our $20,000 by joining the Camp Needlepoint team and fundraising!*

Why Being Goofy At Camp Needlepoint Is The Best!


Hello! My Name is Luke Johnson.

I am 20 years old, living in St. Paul, MN and am working full-time in Minneapolis. I like to play Lacrosse and Hockey, and I have had Type 1 diabetes for nine years.
Having diabetes means a lot more to me than taking insulin and testing my blood sugar.
Being diabetic has lead me to the best friendships of my life and has taught me many life lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today.


I currently work at Camp Needlepoint/Daypoint in Hudson, WI. Now this is no ordinary camp, because here, everyone has diabetes.

I have been attending Camp Needlepoint since I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11 on 03/04/06. I started off as a quiet camper that showed up on the first day scared out of my mind, not knowing anyone. This quickly changed after I meet my counselors and other campers. I could tell after the first day that this was going to be an adventure I would never forget. There are memories at camp that I cannot put into words to describe to you. Camp Needlepoint truly is the greatest place I know. It’s home. I keep coming back because I know first hand how hard it is to live with diabetes and to constantly have to carry that weight on our shoulders. Being a counselor at Camp Needlepoint not only helps me control my own diabetes, but it teaches kids that they can still live an amazing and fun life no matter how “different” they are.


That is also a similar reason why I love to raise money for the ADA Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. It’s all about the kids. This saying is basically my life motto. I am a very outgoing and goofy person. I put myself out there no matter how dumb or silly it makes me look, because if it makes a kid smile and remember that life is ok with diabetes, then I absolutely did my job. There is no better satisfaction in this world than making a child with diabetes feel “normal.”

That is what the ADA Step Out Walk is all about. It’s about coming together as a diabetic community and raising money (and laughs) to finally find a cure for this disease. There are only so many goofy things that I can do to make a diabetic kid’s day. We need a cure!
I absolutely cannot wait for the Walk this year. I have attended the Walk for the last 5 years or so, and it gets more fun every single year. I always ask my campers and fellow counselors at Camp Needlepoint to come join in the festivities with me.

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The memories we makeand fundraising we do at the ADA Step Out Walk truly are the stepping-stones to finding a cure for this disease. We can find a cure, if we all come together as a whole diabetic community. I always tell my camp friends that we are not just a group of diabetics… we are a family!

What is it like to be a nurse at Camp Needlepoint?


Hi, my name is Marrissa Henry-Mashuga. My first experience at Camp Needlepoint was fifteen summers ago.  I remember as a teenager thinking, why is my mom insisting that I go to camp?  It only took me that first summer to figure out what she had been thinking.  Camp was one of the best things for me at the time; not only was it fun and did I make many memories as a camper, but it was the support as a newly diagnosed kid with type one diabetes that I needed and didn’t even know it at the time.  I can still remember the overwhelming, but good feeling I felt in the dining hall at the fist meal when I wasn’t the only one needing to carb count!  Camp gave me a new outlook on how I was going to tackle living with diabetes in a good way.


I came back as a camper for a few years, CIT, Counselor, CIT director and now as a nurse.  Although my role has changed at camp, I still feel the same excitement at the beginning of the week.  I enjoy coming to Camp Needlpoint as a nurse to provide medical oversight for the campers to ensure that they have a safe, healthy and fun time.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see or hear that a camper has done their first shot or put in a pump site for the first time!


As we approach the ADA’s Step Out Walk, it reminds me of how important fundraising is for diabetes.  This disease affects millions and I think it would be safe to say that most Americans know someone or is closely impacted by diabetes.  I think that the amount of support and turn out for the walk year to year is very powerful.  Diabetes, type 1 and type 2, affect not only our families, but our community, our country and our world.  Please help support and share the importance that the Step Out Walk provides for the diabetes community and cause!

*Join the Camp Needlepoint Step Out Walk team at*