Camp AZDA Fun!

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I am more impressed with the Phoenix American Diabetes Association each day. They have an amazing group of staff and volunteers. I am lucky enough to get to visit their sponsored Camp AZDA on VIP day. Camp AZDA is held for one week each summer in Prescott, AZ. I am revived and reminded why I am doing what I do as The Diabetes Coach! True, I might feel revived by the cooler temperatures at the higher elevation; but I know it is the camaraderie that I see between campers, counselors, and staff that gets to me!
I remember my own diabetic camp days as both a camper and counselor. They are some of the best summer memories that you could imagine! A big Shout Out to TCDC in Soddy Daisy, TN! It seems that the reasons we diabetics like attending camp doesn’t change. Kids are with other diabetics that understand the way they live. They are also just kids enjoying the summer. They are making friends, getting some independent time, learning new activities, and getting to goof around. Most every kid needs this kind of freedom in the summer, but children with diabetes need it even more I think. A diabetic has to lead such a structured life that this is a refreshing change.
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During my summers at camp, I made lifelong friends, learned about managing my diabetes in ways that my endocrinologist couldn’t show me, and generally had a great time! I got dirty, had mosquito bites, improved my canoeing skills, got to wear funny costumes during skit night, and fell in and out of love (as only a 12 year old can) each summer! It was glorious and wonderful!
Despite the many years that have passed since I attended camp, I saw the exact same things at Camp AZDA. It didn’t matter that so many of the kids are now wearing insulin pumps, carry their CGMs, or that the dieticians now need to not only count grams of carbohydrates, but also consider gluten free foods, and allergies more than ever. I saw great kids, learning, laughing, and making memories. I also saw some that were hot and maybe not used to going without the hairdryer each day. They still seemed to be having a good time. As was typical at a camp for kids with diabetes, I saw entire cabins sitting in the shade to stop and check blood glucose levels. I saw a few counselors munching on some glucose tabs as they were busy changing costumes for the approaching activity. I saw the doctors having fun with the kids and then without making a scene, they turned around to handle a minor medical issue and check on the kids that had needed dosage changes earlier.
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I heard kids cheer on others as they made strides towards independence in their life with diabetes. They might have given their first shot by themselves or just completed their first pump site change. I also saw them lifting each other with jokes and friendship in ways that had absolutely nothing to do with diabetes. That is the key to a great diabetes camp! Camp AZDA did a wonderful job of incorporating learning and growing in life with diabetes and simple fun summer activities. Way to go Phoenix ADA!
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