Direct Relief

Adorably Named Camps Create Summer Adventures for Kids with Diabetes

Eligible camps that meet enrollment criteria and abide by the requirements for donated product distribution receive medical supplies and medications free of charge. (Photo by Dayna Murphy/American Diabetes Association Camp)

As children across the country embark on their summer adventures, a few dozen camps make it possible for kids with diabetes to experience the outdoors.

Located at the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve in San Diego County is Camp Wana Kura, a day camp organized by the American Diabetes Association. There, by lakes and under trees, children engage in activities like hiking and racing paddle boats. With a focus on providing a fun and unique experience for kids with diabetes, Wana Kura gives campers a chance to build friendships and grow together. Over the course of four days, children connect with others while developing necessary skills to live a full life with their condition.

A camper at Camp Needles in the Pines packs his belongings on the last day of camp. The week-long camp helps children learn strategies for managing type-1 diabetes (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

In North Carolina, Camp Needles in the Pines offers children with Type 1 diabetes a chance to have fun and bond with others. On the banks of the Pamlico River, located in the eastern part of the state, kids between eight and 14 play outside. From archery to canoeing, the week-long camp is never short of activities. In addition to providing items like insulin and glucose test strips, the staff includes medical professionals who monitor and help children manage their diabetes.

In addition to Wana Kura and Needles in the Pines, Direct Relief also supports 124 camps with adorable names like:

Camp UPeninsulin

Founded in 2006, Camp Upeninsulin is a summer youth camp for kids with type 1 diabetes. This August, campers ages nine to 15 will gather at Clear Lake in Michigan for a week of fun. (Photo by Camp UPeninsulin)

Riding On Insulin

Located in Montana, Riding On Insulin offers ski and snowboarding programs, in addition to bike camps, for kids and teens living with type 1 diabetes. (Photo by Riding On Insulin staff)

Camp Sugar Falls

At Camp Widjiwagan in Antioch, Tennessee, children with diabetes attend camp with their siblings. Children learn about healthy and active lifestyle habits in a safe and supervised environment. (Photo by Camp Sugar Falls staff)

Camp Hot Shot Wentworth-Douglass

Over the course of a week, kids with diabetes enjoy crafts, sports, games, and fun in New Hampshire, along with other campers who have diabetes. (Photo by Wentworth-Douglass Hospital)

Since 2013, Direct Relief has worked with BD, and more recently LifeScan, to support camps for children with diabetes. Items like insulin syringes and tests trips are sent for campers to monitor blood glucose levels and manage their disease.

This year, 124 camps will receive Direct Relief’s assistance, which will reduce the cost of camps, allowing more children a chance to participate. The donations also allow more funds to go toward activities for kids to continue enjoying the great outdoors.

“You make it possible for me to go to Camp Stix each year,” one camper wrote after attending the summer camp for children with diabetes in Spokane Valley, Washington.  “Camp is the only way for me to be around more people like me, with type 1 diabetes. It lets me feel normal and free. Camp also reminds me how much I need to take care of myself and my diabetes so that I can live a long and healthy life.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 208,000 Americans under the age of 20 have Type 1 diabetes, a disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them.

For the first time this year, Direct Relief will be sending insulin pump supplies, which help control blood glucose after food consumption, as well as other essential items like needles and meters for glucose monitoring.

Staff prepares the final shipment of critical medical items, like test strips and needles, for diabetes management. (Photo by Bryn Blanks/Direct Relief)

Diabetes camps will run through the fall, with most occurring in June and July.

As kids with diabetes embark on an adventure to remember, Direct Relief’s medical donations will support campers in monitoring and managing their disease.