"Dear Diary" ... A Mom Shares Her Family's First Diabetes Camp Adventure

Maria Camarano and her husband, Rick, experienced summer camp at The Barton Center for Diabetes Education in Massachusetts with their 6-year-old son, Eric, who has type 1 diabetes. Maria shares her thoughts and experiences of her first time at diabetes camp through a weeklong journal.


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The Night Before Diabetes Camp

I'm really excited about arriving at Clara Barton Camp tomorrow. I've waited since February for this week to happen, and now it's finally here.

I'm lying here in bed and my mind is reeling. I keep thinking about packing light, last-minute housekeeping chores, and remembering the insulin!

I'm so hopeful that all three of us will have a wonderful camp experience. We all need a chance to relax and play with one another, and to re-energize before another school year begins. It would be wonderful if Eric met a special friend this week that would become a lifelong friend.

First Day of Diabetes Camp

It's D-Day! We're here and the fun has started. The camp is absolutely beautiful. We're in "The White House" cabin with another family. They've been coming to Family Camp for 10 years. They're a lot of fun, and I can hear Eric laughing with their son Matt.

It's a beautiful day and promises to be a great week weatherwise. I'm sitting on the front porch swing, which overlooks the pond. The camp sits on land that originally was owned by Clara Barton's family. The original barn and homestead are still here, and a tour of the barn is on Wednesday's agenda.

One of the biggest impressions is the enthusiasm of the counselors and the counselors-in-training (CITs). They are warm and friendly, even to us parents. Their joy is infectious, and we all are enjoying learning camp songs and movements. We had a cabin-based team scavenger hunt, and there we all were: counselors, campers, and parents, running here and there, laughing through it all.

Eric is enthralled by the counselors. He's already attached himself to several of them. He's like a puppy following his owner. I think I won't see my son until Thursday.

Day 2 of Diabetes Camp

Wow, we've been moving nonstop. After breakfast there was the flag-raising, then a hike to the waterfall, followed by a session in the arts-and-crafts building -- and all before lunch.

After lunch there was family recreation time, which for some was a time for further explanation of the campground, followed by zip-line training. I almost got to the front of the line for a chance to try the zip line, but we ran out of time -- thank goodness!

It was easy getting Eric to bed tonight -- he was down and out and hasn't moved a muscle. Rick and I attended the parents get-together and had a wonderful time getting to chat with several of the parents. I even met a mom from North Potomac. (I wonder if she'd like to arrange a carpool to camp next year -- hmmm?)

Day 3 of Diabetes Camp

Today was all about visiting Camp Joslin, the boys camp that Eric would go to if he came back on his own some year. We got to see a beautiful swimming pond, canoeing, secret trails, and lots of wide-open spaces for boys to run wild.

Several times over the last couple of days, they have split the parents from the children and have given us a chance to listen to several topics ranging from nutrition to raising a child with type 1 diabetes. It's always good to not only hear the speakers, but to hear the viewpoints of other parents. It's a great way to ensure Rick and I continue our education of what's current in diabetes information. It also stimulates conversations among the other parents. You can always find something new to try or experience from these talks.