March 20, 2011

Summer Camp On My Mind

Diabetes Summer Camp is on the brain!  Not just my brain...but Ally's brain too.  When we recently had our endocrinologist visit, we also had our annual meeting with the social worker.  Ally is not a big "talker" when it comes to people outside of her little world.  It takes her half of the school year to even warm up to her teacher.  I just knew that this was going to be an awkward meeting because Ally would shrug her shoulders and say, "I don't know" in answer to the social workers questions and prompts.  So we sat down, I held my breath, and the social worker asked Ally if there was anything that she'd like to talk about.  Ally quickly started talking about how much she wants to go to Diabetes Camp this summer and Did she have any information about that?

It looks like Ally is not alone in thinking about Diabetes Summer Camp.   Haley and Kelly wrote about their Diabetes Camp experiences on Naturally Sweett's blog last month. 

My initial reaction to sending my soon to be 8 year old away for a week is NO WAY!!  I know my girl and I know that she is very timid.  It takes her so long to warm up to a new situation and feel comfortable.  I worry that she will be homesick.  I'm concerned that she will worry about her health needs.  Will the stress of being away from home cause the exciting camp experience to backfire?

I promised myself that I would give it a hard look...with an open mind.  I need to do this for her. 

It would be a good opportunity for my husband and I to have special time with the other two girls, especially Jessi.  I only say that because Lexi is probably too young to understand that Ally gets a lot of D related attention.  You and I know that neither of the girls would really appreciate the kind of attention I'm talking about, in the D sense.  But they don't see it that way.  They only see that someone else is getting more attention than they are...a lot of the time.

I would be able to sleep a whole night through (although chances are that I will be lying awake wondering if she is ok).

Above all I KNOW that this would be the BEST opportunity ever for Ally!  She would have the chance to feel that "SAME" - the way that I felt when I started making connections in the DOC.  It is an amazing feeling to know that you are not alone.  I want Ally to feel that.  I can't imagine how isolated she must feel at times.  I try so hard to imagine what it is like to live with diabetes every single day...but at the end of the day I don't have diabetes.

It would also be a great chance for her to gain some independence in her own diabetes care. 

Ok...I'm about to hyperventilate here just thinking about it.  sigh.  breathe.  breathe.  breathe.

I cry every time that I think about Ally being gone for a whole week.  I can't imagine how I will hold it together when the day comes that I have to drop her off at camp.  I can't imagine what I will do with myself all week...except for missing my girl.

I'm afraid she will be homesick.  I am slightly worried about puting her diabetes care in the hands of strangers for a whole week!  I am just going to miss her beautiful spirit.

Now, with all that being said...did you notice that I said "I am going to..."  If she feels ready, I will totally encourage her..I'll just be going crazy on the inside.  I know what a wonderful opportunity this will be for Ally and I want that for her.  So, we will just have to see if she feels ready this year.  But if not, I know that she will be ready sometime in the near future.

Now, tell me.  Is your child going to sleep away camp this year?  Will this be his or her first time?  If not, I could use all the tips I can get...just in case this ends up being a go for us this year!

**Ironically, just as I was about to publish this blog post, I received an email notifying me of this program offered by Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association...
Today Lilly Diabetes announced it will help children with diabetes attend summer camp by donating 88 scholarships to the American Diabetes Association’s 2011 campership program – one scholarship for each year Lilly Diabetes has supported the needs of those living with diabetes, beginning in 1923 when Lilly introduced the world's first commercial insulin.
I love that they are making Diabetes Summer Camp a possibility for some children who may not otherwise have been able to attend.



  1. YES YES YES times a million!!!

    this is such a great blog. I'm proud of ally! and you too for even thinking of letting her go

    she will love it

  2. Oh my..... I can't imagine! I know I'll have to- and for her sake, I want to.... But for now I'm glad Sweets is too young! I'll let you go first!

    Good for you! Good for Ally to ask about it and good for you to have the courage to let her go! I'm proud of you!!

  3. What great timing for this post! I just received all of the paperwork in the mail saying that my son was accepted into camp for the Summer. This will be his first time at overnight camp. 2 years of day camp under his belt and he is very excited (yet slightly worried) about overnight camp. We did get to tour our camp last summer, while the kids were there and he already knew a couple of them from day camp!

    I am TORN!!! He will love it, I know he will!! He will thrive and it will be so good for him!!! I, on the otherhand, am already tearing up thinking about leaving him on that Sunday! I will be a basketcase!!! I am sure that sleeping at night will not happen until the day before we pick him up!!

    I cannot wait to read other comments from those whose child has already attended. And I am so gonna check out those scholarships!

  4. We are doing a "family camp" They have activities for the whole family including my non-d son. My daughter is only 5 and I am not ready for her to go on her own and neither is she :) thank goodness...I will email you for strength in a few years

  5. You've read my mind. This could be MY blog post! I have such mixed emotions. I want Jack to go. I think it'll be a fantastic experience from which he'll learn and grow. Rather than being the only kid with D in a school of 1000+ students, he'll be like everyone else. I can only imagine how wonderful and comforting that will be for him. But the thought of him being out from under my control is scary, and I will miss him dearly. I think my other two kids will be jealous of his experience, and they will miss him big time, yet they'll enjoy getting more of me and Gregg.

    I don't know whether I'll enjoy the D-free time or whether I'll spend the week worrying.

    In AZ, kids must be 8 to attend camp. Jack doesn't turn 8 until the end of July and the camp here runs in June. We were told we could send him this year, if we got special permission, but we're going to wait one more year. We don't want him to be the youngest kid there, and quite frankly, I'm just not ready yet. He may be turning 8, but he's still my baby!

    Can't wait to see whether Ally feels ready this year!

  6. Charlotte went to camp for the 1st time last year (she was just weeks away from turning 7 at the time). She had a great time and won "Most Improved Camper". C can be very outgoing, but only once she warms up. I was a little worried that once she got there she would be sad when we left, but I was really surprised that she just jumped in the pool with the other kids and waved good-bye. I of course cried like a baby on our way back home. It was a great break for us and for her too I think. We just finished her camp application for this year and are looking forward to camp again this year! I think it's a great experience for her to be around so many other kids with D just like her!

  7. I asked Joe about it after reading your wonderful series around Ally's diaversary. He was on the fence and then opted for Hockey Camp - LOL. I do think once he starts that it will be an annual thing. I want him to make some strong bonds with some other "d" kids. He does not have that yet. He does not seem to want it yet. I am not sure how hard to push or to let it slide.

    Great post Misty. Sometimes I feel Joe and Ally are living parallel lives. Your post on "independence" reminded me of Joe as well. Love you...and your sweet girl!

  8. I could have written your post two years ago - you're not alone!!! Trusting someone with your child's life is so hard! We did a family camp. Highly recommend it!! We all had a chance to relax and enjoy! They had at least one nurse, a doctor, dietician etc. They all had experiance with diabetes and treating it. Some where from our endo office. Our endo came up for an evening as well. The counselors also had type 1. They ate meals with us and sat with a differnt family each night. They babysat the kids at night so we could go to special classes for us to hear the lastest advancements, talk with other parents etc. My non- D kids got to do everything and were given backpacks, coloring stuff etc. All the carbs and servings for meals were figured out for us. (soo nice!) I can't say enough good. My whole family loved it and wanted to go back.

  9. Natalie is only 5, but she sounds a lot like Ally. I would expect Natalie to not say a word to the social worker either! That is great to read that Ally opened up to her. We have a family camp here and it is for ages 6 and up. I am so thankful, a parent has to attend because I am so not ready to think about sending her away and trusting others to care for her! Look forward to reading about your decision and how it all works out.

  10. Misty, I was exactly like your little Ally! If the teacher called my name in grade school, I turned bright red and clammed up and wouldn't say a word! My first year at camp was a little rough, but I kept going back because I loved it and it ended up being the best thing for my shyness. If Ally is ready to go and you're ready to let her, camp will do amazing things for her!

  11. Way to go MOM!! I share tears of worry and joy for you and Ally. I can't wait to hear how it goes for your whole family, I truly believe this is going to be a wonderful experience for everyone.

  12. What camp are you looking into for her? Super-excited for her! Noah hasn't gone to a camp as a camper but will be visiting camps all over the country this summer during "The DD Road Tour" to help inspire kids to raise awareness of diabetes in their communities. We hope to maybe meet her!


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