Last Wednesday I had the privilege of visiting the American Diabetes Association’s Camp John Warvel, during their annual Sponsor Day.
The camp is organized by the good folks at the ADA office in Indianapolis, with whom I traveled to Chicago in April for the Diabetes Expo. They thought it would be nice for me to visit and see what camp was all about. I accepted the invitation to visit, and I’m certainly glad that I did because the experience was amazing.
Each June, the popular ADA summer camp is held at the YMCA owned and operated Camp Crosley in North Webster, IN. Through the cooperation of Camp Crosley staff, generous donations from corporate sponsors, and numerous volunteers, the ADA is able to take over the camp ground for a week, and provide a safe, entertaining and educational summer camp experience for kids with diabetes.
While precautions are in place to ensure each child is safe and their diabetes is properly managed, campers are given the opportunity to participate in all of the typical activities that you would expect at a summer camp. There are opportunities to go swimming, ride horses, practice archery, climb high wires, play soft ball, you name it.
And I absolutely love the message that those experiences impart on the campers; the message being that just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t live a long, active, and fulfilling life. Diabetes doesn’t have to keep you from doing what ever you want to do.
That message was definitely driven home by Olympic Cross Country Skier and Type 1 Diabetic Kris Freeman, who was a special guest at camp that day. I had a chance to spend some time chatting with Kris while we were there and I’ll have a post about that soon.
Aside from a little sun burn and a twisted ankle I acquired during a tour of the grounds, my time at Camp John Warvel was wonderful and I hope to be invited to visit again next June. The experience honestly left me wishing that there were such a camp available for adults with diabetes. Hey, I can dream, can’t I? Besides, I’m just a big kid at heart. 🙂