Growing up as a CWD (child with diabetes), some of my favorite memories are of diabetes camp. Just like regular camp, we had swimming, arts & crafts, and singing around campfires. But we also had "checks & shots," carb counts for all our food, and midnight and 3 a.m. wake-up calls for testing glucose levels. Being surrounded by other kids with diabetes made me feel less alone and less different, which is vitally important — especially when you're a teen!
Having to leave camp at the end of high school was devastating, and I know many adults with diabetes who wish they could relive their former days as a diabetes camper. Well, now you can!
Dr. Matthew Corcoran, an endocrinologist and CDE (yep, he's both!), founded the Diabetes Training Camp, a diabetes camp with a twist — it's completely focused on fitness.
But don't think that this is some Olympic-style boot camp or a Biggest Loser-wannabe-thing. Nope, Diabetes Training Camp is designed for folks with diabetes of all ages and all fitness levels, whether you're just hitting the track for the first time or if you're a long-time fitness fanatic. In addition to Dr. Corcoran, the staff is well-versed in diabetes and healthful living: head coach Rick Crawford has worked with Team Type 1; and the mental health skills coach, Carrie Cheadle, worked with teens at a California diabetes camp, Bearskin Meadows. There are also several staff members who have diabetes, so you know the staff really "gets" the struggle with managing diabetes while exercising.
These camps have been held all over the country, and this year's camp was hosted at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Dr. Corcoran (who btw has guest posted for us in the past) said that it's possible next year's camp will take place at the same school, but they're still waiting to finalize the location.
Diabetes Training Camp bills itself as an "experience" and it's true. The camp provides five days of education and support, fitness training and classes, plus meals and housing. It is a bit of an investment — between $1700 and $2500 depending on the location of the camp, facilities and coaching needs — so if you're interested, start saving up...
On my way home from the ADA Scientific Sessions in Philly, I stopped by this year's session to check it out and speak to some of the staff members. Everyone was very welcoming and all the campers were engrossed in the activities, which range from swimming to cycling to strength training. There was pretty much something for everyone, and I didn't see a single bench-warmer.