Why D-Camps?

“Why would I send my child to a camp where all the campers have type 1 diabetes? Don’t they deal with diabetes enough already?”

Diabetes introduces kids to a new reality, one that often makes them feel different from their friends. For many kids, there is no one else in their school or community who has diabetes and it can be a struggle to acknowledge diabetes openly.

A diagnosis also brings with it a whole new set of skills for kids to learn: how to test their blood glucose (sugar) levels, prime a needle for injection, insert a pump site, count carbs, recognize a high or low blood sugar, and maintain a balance between food, insulin and activity.

At D-Camps however, campers get a break from being different. Camp is one of the few places where everyone just “gets it,” where the world runs on “diabetes time” and nothing has to be explained. Campers will meet other children who share a personal understanding of the challenges that come from living with diabetes, and many of these relationships develop into lifelong friendships. When children leave camp, they will have gained a new level of independence in managing their diabetes and feel empowered to continue the healthy practices they learned at camp.

So, why send your child to a camp where all the campers have type 1 diabetes? Because together, we will take charge of diabetes and never let it define us. We will explore, share, learn and laugh because we’re all in this together.

Check out our video! 

Click here to download the 2016 D-Camps Guide.
Click here to download the 2016 D-Camps Poster.

Our Story

A legacy of support, education and good times

 

Diabetes Canada's camping tradition began when Camp Banting first opened its doors in 1953. Since then, our camp program has grown extensively and Diabetes Canada now operates 12 overnight camps across Canada, more than 10 family camps and a growing offering of camp connections all year long. Collectively known as D-Camps, our programs provide kids living with type 1 diabetes the opportunity to connect with friends who truly understand them, build self-confidence, develop lifelong skills and learn to manage their diabetes independently. All this support happens in a fun, nurturing and medically supported environment that gives parents peace of mind. Today, Diabetes Canada is proud to be the only national provider of summer camp programs for children and youth living with type 1 diabetes. Our camps offer a true camping experience while accommodating the needs of our campers. Each camp offers an array of activities that make use of the facilities and natural environment available at each location.

Where kids can be kids

D-Camps encourages kids to indulge their sense of fun and adventure in a diabetes-friendly environment where they can:

  • Meet and connect with other kids and staff who share the same experiences they do and who understand what it’s like to live with diabetes;
  • Participate in outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, canoeing, campfires and archery that help promote self-esteem and personal growth; and,
  • Learn how to manage their diabetes independently in a supportive environment. Campers often return home eager to be more independent with their diabetes care and better able to manage day-to-day hurdles.

At Diabetes Canada and D-Camps we believe that our camp and youth programs are for all children and youth living with type 1 diabetes regardless of ability, colour, ethnicity, exceptionality, gender identity or expression, race, religion, and/or sexual orientation.

We teach more than campfire songs

While at camp, children learn about diabetes management in an enriching, diabetes-friendly environment. Here, diabetes education is experiential, meaning that learning how to better manage diabetes happens through doing. Campers see their new friends test their blood, they listen to the doctor explain why they are prescribing a specific insulin dose and they take part in their own diabetes management. They will inevitably share their personal stories with diabetes and how they handle certain situations. These special experiences result in many “ah-ha!” moments and “diabetes milestones.” In fact, many of our camp alumni recall that camp was the first time they administered their own insulin or handled their own pump site insertion – a major accomplishment in the life of a child living with diabetes!

 

 

Our Medical Staff

Diabetes is 24/7. So is our health-care team.

D-Camps is an opportunity for you to rest easy knowing your child will learn crucial skills and gain confidence while being monitored by a dedicated medical team. For more than 60 years, parents just like you have entrusted their children to camps provided by Diabetes Canada.

At each camp, a team of dedicated health-care professionals provide the highest level of diabetes education and management around the clock. This team includes pediatric endocrinologists, doctors, registered nurses, diabetes educators, dietitians, student nurses and student dietitians.

Camp may be a busy place, but our diabetes management practices are organized around each child individually. Supported by program staff and peers, campers meet with the camp health-care team multiple times each day to review blood sugar patterns, prepare their carb choices for meals, adjust insulin doses for activities and manage fluctuations. Overnight, each camper’s blood sugar is tested by a team of health-care staff who treat lows and correct highs. At camp, diabetes management fits into the day as naturally as a jump in the lake or an evening campfire. It’s a special place where the world runs on “diabetes time.”

Peek into a day at camp
At each of our camps, we devote specific times to blood glucose monitoring (BGM), administering insulin and teaching children other skills that will help them self-manage their diabetes. We also spend large portions of the day swimming, playing sports, hiking, creating artistic masterpieces, or singing at the top of our lungs.  
 
7:00 a.m.       Wake-up, BGM and flag raising
8:00 a.m.       Insulin and breakfast
9:15 a.m.       Morning program #1
                     (water and land sports, art and more!)
10:15 a.m.    Snack
11:00 a.m.    Morning program #2
                    (water and land sports, art and more!)
12:00 p.m.    BGM and cabin cleanup
12:30 p.m.    Insulin and lunch
1:30 p.m.      Rest period
2:30 p.m.      Afternoon program #1
                    (water and land sports, art and more!)
3:15 p.m.      Snack
3:30 p.m.      Afternoon program #2
                    (water and land sports, art and more!)
4:30 p.m.      BGM
5:00 p.m.      Insulin and dinner
6:30 p.m.      Evening program (e.g. campfire, Capture the Flag, or other camp-wide games)
8:00 p.m.      Flag lowering and BGM
8:30 p.m.      Snack
9:00 p.m.      Night program/Younger camper bedtime
10:00 p.m.    Bedtime