My 7 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am slowly adjusting to this new "normal" our life has been forced to take. But, I find I have so many questions and no answers. One worry I have is can she go to the day summer camp she has always gone to? Both my husband and I work and I have to have childcare for the summer. She would be devastated if she could not go to camp and see her old friends. She also has a twin sister without diabetes and I hate to send one to a normal camp and get a babysitter for the other. Every time I do a google search all I come up with are the 1 week diabetes camps. Can kids with Type 1 go to normal summer day camps? What do all the other working parents with kids with Type 1 diabetes do with their kids all summer? Help!
My 10 year old daughter was dx at age 9, on 8/22/08. She asked me the same thing. I emailed the camp dean and asked her if Hannah could still go to camp, about 3 weeks after she was diagnosed. The dean wrote back immediatly, and said she knows how much Hannah loves camp, and they would do anything necessary to be able to allow Hannah to go to camp, and they did. Hannah went to Diabetes camp first, so she could see how her sugars reacted to all the activity, and then went to her regular camp without a problem.
Most camps have a nurse on staff, regardless of what kind of camp it is. Ask to meet with the nurse beforehand, and explain what is going on, and her treatment for normal and sick day routines, and all that good stuff. Hannah went to Diabetes camp, regular camp, to Missouri for a week with family (myself not included) and also went to daycare. We had no issues other than the occasional high sugar from activity (adrenaline, liver kicking out sugars, etc). I got a big backpack ready of all of her supplies, since she was not pumping at the time, and packed about 2 weeks worth of "d-gear" even though she was only gone one week at a time. I also typed up a list of instructions and what to do and when to do it, as well as emergency numbers, and sent it to the camp beforehand, as well as had it with me during registration. There was great support from everyone, and I told them that I would have my phone on and with me at all times, to call whenever they needed.
Hannah also was doing swim lessons last fall, and the swim instructor worked with me, and finally told me that he was comfortable with watching for the signs, and I was able to go walk the track at the Y while she was swimming, and I found that to be a great stress reliever.
It really all depends on how your daughter feels. Does she want to go, is she comfortable enough with recognizing signs of hi and low? Can she check her own sugars, if needed? Hannah was more than ready to go to camp, and was counting down the days, but each child is different. The time at camp allows the child to realize that their lives can stay normal, they just have a different way of making sure they stay healthy, not so unlike a kid with asthma or a child who is allergic to bees. They just have to be alert and watch out for the things they need to watch out for. This is also a great time for mom and dad to take a breather, and possibly spend time with their non-diabetic kids, for the one on one time that they can't always have when diabetes takes first priority.
I hopes this helps. If you have any more questions, or would like to see what I typed up, for an idea of what I put on it, let me know. Send me a message here, and I would be happy to give you the info.
Great advice melanie! I also think that if you get ahold of the camp early and let them know I am sure they can work something out. She should be able to enjoy everything she did before! Good luck!
My now 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed late March of last year -- right before she was starting soccer, track, and softball. Not to mention the end of the school year and the start of the summer day camp/childcare program she has always attended. It takes preparation and it takes lots of conversations and discussions. And I believe you need to be a little pushy sometimes in terms of the willingness of others to both understand the gravity of the situation AND to let your child be "normal." It's a balancing act that needs to be perfected on a daily basis by all of those responsible for the care and well-being of our kids. And they can do it.
Maya had an excellent experience overall in all of these situations. Volunteer coaches are probably the most difficult -- and I feel badly because they certainly don't sign on for it. So, I spent a LOT of time watching practices when I would have dropped her off and came back to get her before she had Type 1. But, this is just the new way of doing things. And as she has gotten more comfortable with knowing herself and her body and as I have gotten more comfortable explaining emergency protocol to coaches, those practices have gotten better as well.
You can make this work -- no doubt! Good luck!
Keep in mind, your daughter and you can do anything that you set your mind to! I am sure she can go to the camp she has always gone to- you will just need to make sure that there is someone trained to help her deal.
Don't completely over look diabetes camp- it is one of the very best experiences of my life and she can learn a lot about herself and her disease there.