It is my impression that there are many people who post to this forum who simply need to sit and talk with other people about the challenges of living with T1 diabetes. There are the parents of children who have diabetes, the newly-diagnosed young adults, the teenagers who are struggling with being themselves in spite of their diabetes, and the people with T1 who are slipping into not-so-good management habits. And the list goes on.
I have begun to wonder if it might be worthwhile for JDRF (or some other organization) to develop a series of weekend “retreats” that might serve the specific (and different) needs of these groups of people affected by T1. A retreat might focus on a specific topic, like helping parents/young children prepare for the start of school. In that retreat there might be specific lectures on medical, nutrition, and management/coping topics, followed by breakout groups where experienced and not-so-experienced participants could visit and share ideas, questions, and experiences. Each group might be facilitated by a person who has expertise in the group’s area of interest to ensure that discussions remained focused and provided real benefit to everyone involved.
By having the “retreat” last for a weekend, participants might have time to “settle in” with the larger group, allowing for more-open discussions and detailed questions.
Each “retreat package” might be offered in many areas around the country, making it easier for people to attend a retreat that was closer to home. If the organization did a good job of keeping physicians and diabetes educators informed of the events those practitioners might be quicker to encourage patients to participate in a specific retreat.
I really appreciate the concept of the JDRF Summit meetings. But I wonder if those meetings are “informal” enough to allow participants to “network” and find answers to questions that resolve pressing needs. I also appreciate the concept of JDRF’s Chapter Meetings. But none of those meetings occur anywhere near me, so it makes it difficult to justify the travel to attend a brief meeting.
I thought I’d post this idea. Now, it may be that such things are already happening and I’m not aware of them. Nevertheless, I wonder if people with T1 would find these kinds of focused retreat events helpful.