Ahh the sweet smell of nature, or is that sweaty kids and insulin?? Either way it’s basically the same. It’s my favorite time of the year. Being surrounded by friends who “get it”, having the support of our amazing medical staff and nutritionists, and seeing the kids make lifelong friendships.

The ADA changed my life, being diagnosed at age 3 in 1999 and living in a small town, we didn’t know any other kids with diabetes.  A couple years later I went to Camp Daypoint, and for the first time I met other people my age who had to check their blood sugar and take shots.  I learned how to give my own shots.  As I got older and went to Camp Needlepoint, I made lifelong friends who have helped me in every way possible.  From dealing with depression to helping me find a place to live in the cities to helping me with pump and testing supplies when I don’t have insurance, my “camp family” has always been there.  Now I get to go to camp every summer as a counselor and see kids who in one week go from being embarrassed and ashamed of diabetes, to talking about it to anyone who will listen.  We see the kids realise that they can do anything with diabetes, that it can never hold them back.

First year campers are generally extremely shy, and holding onto their parents when they first get to camp. Newly diagnosed campers might still be afraid of blood sugar checks and insulin injections.  Before the end of the week we get to see our whole cabin group working as a team, building gnome homes or trying to climb across the lava pit.  Seeing the kids excited about doing their injections/pump changes alone or in a new spot for the first time is my favorite part about camp.  Seeing them excited about taking control of their diabetes is inspiring.  These kids are warriors.

-Kiya Schroeder

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