Diabetes Education & Camping Association
12557 New Brittany Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33907
How should I prepare my child for camp?
Preparing your child and your family for diabetes camp is one of the most important aspects of the positive experience! Most camps have a visiting day before the season opens when you can visit with the entire family, learn the camp routine, meet staff and other campers and see the facility. Camp is fun and staff are trained to ease the transition. Utilize them if your child seems abnormally apprehensive. Call the Camp Director for tips. Talk with your child about the camp experience, about meeting new friends with diabetes. Focus on the fun activities of camp, show them the camp brochure, read books with a flashlight under the covers at home and “play camp” before you even get there!
What if my child gets homesick?
While homesickness does not “feel” good, it is a normal part of transitioning into independence and leaving the familiarity of home. At camp, we accept homesickness and are well-equipped to deal with it. It is much harder for the parents than it is for the campers and staff. Typically, by the third day of camp, homesickness has subsided and campers have adjusted to their new routine, new friends and staff members. Typically, in the rare event that homesickness affects your child in an atypical way, the Camp Director will be in contact with parents to discuss options for a positive outcome.
What if I get “childsick” (or miss my child)?
Parents getting “childsick” – meaning you miss your child so much you can hardly eat or sleep – is more common than campers being homesick. After all, they are having a blast with new friends while you are at home worrying about their safety, whether they are fitting in, whether camp is taking care of their diabetes, whether they remembered to bolus, and so on. Don’t worry – we got it! Go out for dinner, go to a movie. Rest, relax. This is your time for respite. You deserve it. It’s okay to take time for yourself. The reunion is a few days away.
Can I call or visit my child at camp?
Most camps do not encourage or allow parents to call campers during the session and most diabetes camps (because of the short sessions) do not have visiting days. One of the most important aspects of camp is to allow youth to form a social group, where they make friends that last a lifetime and form bonds with others that will carry them through great, and perhaps not so great, times. When parents disturb that bonding time, it can interrupt the development of that social experience. Plus, having phones all over camp is disruptive. And, before cell phones, most camps only had one or two phone lines. It’s a short session. And a little time away is a good thing. It builds independence.
What if my child gets sick at camp?
DECA recommends that all camps follow American Camp Association standards for healthcare delivery. This means that they have a fully equipped healthcare center. Diabetes camps are super-stocked with diabetes supplies donated by our industry partners. Healthcare staff work 24 hours (resident camps) or full time (day camps) to ensure your child has access to every healthcare need. All camps have policies and procedures for this and for emergencies and off-site emergency care, if necessary.
What is the check-in process like?
Check-in is different at every camp, but be prepared to spend a few hours meeting with your child’s counselors and members of the healthcare team. A healthcare intake is required by most states. And, you will have the specific opportunity to speak with a healthcare team member about your child’s diabetes. You want to make sure that the camp has all the information necessary to make the camp experience safe and positive for your child.
Are there any current parents of this camp whom I could contact to answer any questions I may have prior to dropping my child off at camp?
Many camps have a list of parents who are willing to talk to new parents about camp. Check with your child’s camp to see if this is possible or visit the GLU Forum.