Is 11 years old too young to send my son to Diabetes Camp?

He's never been away from home, or even us, ever.  I really feel it's important for him to experience some independence in a safe environment with other kids he can relate to.

How do these camps manage pump site changes if the child can't do it themselves?  Or carb counting if they still are 100% independent at it?

Any experiences you could share would be most welcome!


Beth, mom to Ted, dx'ed 3/02

In my opinion, 11 is not too young at all.  I started going to camp when I was 8 and was definitely a little scared at first, but it helped me learn to control and accept my diabetes SO MUCH quicker than I would have without camp.  As far as pump sites and carb counting, that'll probably depend on the camp, but both the camp I went to and the one I now work at give the camper a choice of whether to change their own site or to let a med staff help them with it, and both count the carbs for the campers just to be safe, while teaching the campers to count carbs on their own for after they leave camp.  If your son is scared to leave home, I'd suggest starting with a shorter, one-week camp, but I think that any camp experience at all would be AMAZING and amazingly helpful for him. 

I don't know where you live, but my two suggestions are Camp Sweeney and Texas Lions Camp...they're both in Texas if you live anywhere near there.

Thanks so much for your reply Kimbert :)

We live near Philadelphia, so the one we are looking at is the Donovan McNabb Diabetes Camp.  We spoke to Ted's endo this week and she assured me it was a great camp and many of the staff members at CHOP help out there.  I'm going to send him!  He's really excited about it too!

Thanks again for sharing your experience with me!

No problem!  I haven't heard of Donovan McNabb, but I'm sure it'll be a great one!  I'm glad you've decided to send him, cause I'm sure he'll have a great time and learn so much.  :)

Send him!!! Going to Camp were the best years of my life...Even after 20 some years I still talk and see a lot of my old camp friends. There are medical doctors and nurses that will be on staff that will help him with his pump & nutritionist with the carb counting. He's at the age where he needs to learn how to do for himself wihen it comes to diabetes. He'll be fine, trust me he'll be wanting to go back every year after!!!

11 years old is not to young. When I went to diabetes camp there were 8 year olds there having fun. Now the other part of the story is does he want to go? I mean I don't. Im forced into going almost every summer. I have to go this summer too. But I get a new cell phone when I get back.

send him!!!!!!!

im sure there are medical staff that will help him with site changes, carb counting etc. They have to have them there for safety! If you have any questions of how the camp is run you should talk to someone in charge of running that camp! But send him!!!!!! It really will be an amazing time for him!

I'm going to camp with year! as a counselor, it will be my 12 year anniversary  of diabetes and camp going. I was 12 my 1st year and gave myself my 1st shots there at camp. at the camp I got to we help campers change sites- and like how i took my 1st shot- now a'days we help kids do their 1st independent pump preps and site changes. We never let them count carbs alone, camp is about learning to do that and a yearly refresher in relearning how. This year I'm wanting to push learning how to measure with a scale and count carb content of foods by weight It should be a really fun activity.

Camp Hamwi made me the happy and and independent person I am today. I am still friends and talk with a few of my friends from my 1st year at camp!!

My feels towards camp is that it is 1 week without worry. and SO much living fit into 1 week to make up for the hard times that happen between camp. =) the time of my life

I started going to camp when i was 5 or 6!

SEND HIM!!!!!!! :)

Camp not only taught me some finer points  of the technical junk with diabetes (how to make a site insert less painful, how to get a resevior or syringe to be bubble-free, etc), but helped me feel less lonely and more emotionally prepared to deal with it.

no way im 11 and im going to sleep away camp this summer!

I have never been to diabetes camp and I am 14 soon to be 15. I am thinking about trying to get my mom and dad to let me go next year, I want to make more diabetes friends face to face. I hope they will let me go. And I say send him to camp.

i hope your son had a blast at mcnabb's camp.  i went to camp nyda from 1967 into the 70's. i was 6 when i first went. i loved it.  camp was a month-long sleepaway. it was hard at times, but always a good learning experience that i still remember until today.

Definitely not. I've been going to camp since I was 8. It's kind've unnerving going to camp the first time but once you get there it helps. Plus you make alot of diabetic friends.

Not at all! I've been going to camp as long as I can remember... I think I was 8 when I started... & it's scary at first, but he'll LOVE it.

11 is not too young!  I have been a camp nurse at Camp Nejeda for the last 12 years.  It is a great experience for all.  I am also a Type 1 who did not get the chance to go to camp in the 70's when I was young, but I did send my son, Frank, who developed Type 1 when he was 3.  Let us know how Ted makes out.  As a mom to a mom, it might be one of the hardest things you do, letting him go, but it will be one of the best for him.  Also some camps like Nejeda have family weekends where the whole family can go or Best Friend weekends where they can bring an ND (not diabetic) friend.

It is never to young, at Camp Firefly we had children as young as six. I know it is way more stressful for the parents to let them go, but it does them a world of good. With management as well as discovering that they are not alone. I didn't get to camp until much later but I WISH I could have gone when I was six!!!

No - the sooner the better!