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Why we run diabetes camps for children and adolescents
Summer camps are just around the corner and expression of interest is closing soon!
In this post, we want to share with you why camps are so important for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
Chege is one of 2650 Victorian school-aged children living with diabetes
Chege was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on 2 June 2015. This prompted a journey of discovery and learning.
Chege and his family found his diagnosis with type 1 diabetes overwhelming as no-one in their family had ever had the condition. They initially hoped the diagnosis was wrong, but they eventually came to terms with his future living with diabetes.
The whole family changed their life with Chege, including how they shopped and cooked. When it came time to see what impact living with diabetes would have on Chege's life, his brother and sister were right there by his side, as was his mum and dad. Chege's mum recalls that the entire family went as a team to the hospital to support Chege and learn about his condition.
Chege is one of around 2650 Victorian school aged children who live with type 1 diabetes, one of the most common chronic childhood conditions. This number is steadily growing for yet unknown reasons.
Chege and his fellow campers at a junior camp in Somers, Victoria
These camps help kids learn more about living well with diabetes. At camp, children also meet other kids living with diabetes and they learn that having diabetes does not limit them doing the things they like to do in life, as long as they take proper care.
Although the prevalence of type 1 diabetes is growing worldwide, it is still uncommon for children in Victoria to know other children with diabetes. These camps give them an opportunity to be part of a group where living with type 1 diabetes doesn’t set them apart, giving them a sense of normality when dealing with the chronic condition.
The aim of camps is to provide a place where children and teenagers can learn about their diabetes and gain independence through adventure. These camps rely tremendously on the commitment and enthusiasm of the volunteer leaders and health professionals (diabetes nurse educators, dietitians and doctors) who provide their generous support.
Many of the volunteers have type 1 diabetes and attended camps themselves as children. These leaders act as role models for the campers. As adults, they have taken the opportunity to give back; knowing how much stronger, resilient and independent they became after attending the camps themselves.
Beyond the educational benefits, children attending camp can participate in varied activities like surfing, canoeing, swimming with dolphins, ten pin bowling and camping in tents. These activities help build confidence and help foster the next generation of leaders.
Surfing lessons at the 2017 junior camp
Places in the 2018 camps are limited, so send in your expression of interest forms as soon as possible. Expression of interest closes 1 September.
Diabetes Camps Expression of Interest forms can be found here.