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    • My First Day of Camp by Katie Risch

      At the age of 15, I attended my first summer at Camp EDI (Exercise, Diet, and Insulin)-The Gloria Hirsch Camp; a camp offered through the American Diabetes Association in Missouri. I will never forget the first day of camp. As my mother drove me in, tears ran down my face because I didn’t want to participate in the experience. I was worried that the way I managed this daily disease would be criticized, but instead, I found complete acceptance. I learned a lot over the course of my three years as a camper. Read More

      During those three years I learned many important lessons about type 1. One of the most valuable lessons was how important it was for youth to have a place they felt they belonged, a place where they could find support in managing diabetes. Camp allowed me to make lifelong friends that have stuck with me throughout the years. To this day, I still lean on these friends when diabetes days are long and hard. On those days, I remember the blessings that have come from diabetes, which has brought great people into my life, and allowed me to find a career that I am passionate about, CAMP!

      After each summer at camp, I had a stronger desire to keep working hard and becoming a healthier person. I wanted to be a role model to those living with diabetes. As soon as I discovered that I could make a professional career from camping I knew that this was the right path for me.

      It has truly changed my life! I recently graduated from Western Illinois University with my degree in Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration with an emphasis in Camping Administration and Adventure Recreation. As I walked across the stage, I reflected on my journey with diabetes, the highs and lows, and felt grateful for the path I chose. I have spent the past ten summers working at camp, and have been blessed to spend the last four with Camp EDI.

      The last day of camp, my mother greeted me and I had tears streaming down my face. This time, I didn’t want to leave this amazing place where, for the first time, I experienced hope. I now get to experience that with my campers on the last day of camp. I see the same hope in their eyes. Hope that each summer we will gather in this great place with friends and that someday there will be a cure!

    • Allison, age 16

      I just got back from camp (again) and I have to say ten years is not nearly enough.  When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was only 6 years old, and I was scared and felt very alone.  A friend of ours in the Lions' Club suggested that my parents take me and my brother to a family camp session the next month.  Being at camp made me feel like I belonged, and not only has the experience helped me, it has also helped my friends and family understand, and to help me with my diabetes. Read More

      While at camp instead of being homesick, I can say that for myself and many others, when I am home, I get camp sick.  I miss the sunshine filled days, Gaga (the best game in the world!), the pond, all of the campers, the cookie bake-offs, eating spoonfuls of peanut butter when your blood sugar is low…I do not know where to stop or where to begin.  In all my years as a camper, and now a staff member, I have never seen anyone not have fun at camp.  Between the camp dances with the boys and counselor auction, you never run out of things to do.  Singing songs by the campfires, dancing around the dining hall singing about a bog, boa constrictor, or a chicken in the air, and having a polar bear swim (swimming at 6-6:30 am) are just a few things that never lose their charm.  Friends made at camp are friends for life; the memories will always be there.  After waking each other up at 11:00 at night, or at 1:00am, to go to healthcare, or go to check blood sugars, you cannot help but look back and smile.  All I can say is, that now I cannot imagine my life without camp, it is my home, and my family is there too.

    • DTreat

      DTreat is a retreat program that connects young adults between the ages of 18-25 with type 1 diabetes. Young adults attending DTreat have the opportunity to attend discussions, workshops and social events on life-affecting topics. Read More

      To find out more about DTreat, or to get involved in the DTreat community, visit the DTreat Facebook page.

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