I’ve Never Aged Out of Diabetes Summer Camp

A former camper with Type 1 shares why she comes back each year to volunteer.



As an adult with Type 1, do you think your days of diabetes summer camp are over? Not if you volunteer there.

My love of diabetes summer camp is so well-documented that I even have a tattoo commemorating my years there. After aging out of being a camper or a counselor in training, I decided to volunteer. I was doing it for the kids at camp, but I was also doing it for me. I find that I still get just as much out of the experience now as I did then, maybe even more.

There are the pure “camp” aspects, to be sure. I still enjoy the singing and dancing after meals and leaving the tie-dye activity center with colorful hands. I love getting to act goofy and pausing “adult behavior.” I may not be getting end-of-camp awards, but I live vicariously through the campers as I watch them try new things.

Summer camp is fun, but diabetes summer camp is rejuvenating for everyone, including the volunteers. I enjoy hearing and learning from all of the diabetes stories peers and campers share. I can look back and be grateful for the support I gained over the years there, and the camaraderie of being surrounded by others who truly understand Type 1 never fails to move me. I love to see other campers bask in that glow for the first time.

When I volunteer at camp, I feel rejuvenated and want to do more for my diabetes care, myself, and my community.

Here are some links for diabetes summer camp volunteer opportunities. Feel free to send us more at cidlebrook@epscomm.com.

http://www.diabetes.org/about-us/careers/workcamp.html
http://www.campleo.org/volunteer/
http://www.ridingoninsulin.org/volunteer.html
https://www.campkudzu.org/volunteers/at-camp/
http://www.fcydcamputada.org/#!get_involved/c8k2
http://www.diabetescamping.org/#!staff/c1627

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Mindy is the Communications and Partnerships Coordinator at the College Diabetes Network (CDN) in Boston, MA and is a former CDN Chapter Leader. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a minor in Sociology. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on March 8, 2000 when she was 7, and she has been involved in the Diabetes Community since then. She thoroughly enjoys diabetes camp, travel, crafts, reading, and being awkward. She blogs about life, diabetes, mental health, and women's health on her blog, There's More to the Story. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @mindy_bartleson as well as on Facebook.