When our son Liam was diagnosed at the age of 7, the Certified Diabetes Educator who was training us in all things type 1 mentioned a sleep away camp for kids with t1d. I could not imagine that Liam would be ready for a week-long sleep away camp the following summer. I generated about 10 reasons why it wouldn’t work for Liam to go to camp. I contacted the camp director who very patiently addressed each one of my concerns. I relented and registered him for camp. I was a wreck when I dropped him off that first year. Leaving him in someone else’s care for the week was miles outside of my comfort zone, and it was one of the best parenting decisions we have ever made.
For one week out of the year, Liam is with kids who face the same challenges he does. Everyone has to do a blood glucose check before eating. Everyone has to count their carbs and bolus. Everyone has to be on the lookout for highs and lows. There is a level of understanding among his fellow campers that we just can’t provide no matter how hard we try.
I think about that decision to send him to camp every time we’re faced with a new t1d situation that falls outside of my comfort zone. It’s a reminder of how important it is for me to be brave and allow him the space he needs, particularly as he approaches adolescence.
Steve and I now skip across the parking lot when we drop Liam off for camp. We know he is going to have a blast and will stand a little taller (literally and figuratively) at the end of week. As a bonus, Steve and I get time to ourselves and 5 nights of uninterrupted sleep. No alarm clocks set for the middle of the night. No Dexcom alerts. Sleep.
Thank you, Camp Surefire!
Written by Susan Ramsey