By: Intern Kimberly Rojas
For three weeks every summer children with diabetes from ages 4 to 12 come to the ADA’s day camps.
This year is the Camp New Horizon’s 30th anniversary and there were 55 children in attendance last week at Camp New Horizons South, located in Dallas, Texas at The Southern Cross Ranch, 1800 W. Dowdy Ferry Road.
Pam Jurlina and Joan Colgin have been volunteering at Camp New Horizons since it opened in 1984. Both Pam and Joan are registered nurses and certified diabetes educators.
At camp the kids stay active and there is something to appeal to everyone, such as swimming, music, volleyball, arts and crafts, and many more activities. There is also a diabetes education class once a day where the kids get to participate in activities that teach them strategies to deal with their diabetes. For example, learning to categorize good foods and bad foods and how to recognize if their blood sugar is low.
“My favorite thing about camp is that he can come here and feel normal. All the kids are getting stuck with needles and monitoring their blood sugar throughout the day, so he doesn’t stand out like he does at school,” said Joy.
Hannah, 11, has two younger brothers who are also in the program. Hannah plans on becoming a counselor at the camp when she is old enough. Hannah also loves spending time with the medical staff, including nurse practitioners and physicians who are on site at all times monitoring blood sugars and administering insulin shots when needed.
Jim, a nurse practitioner from Children’s Medical Center of Dallas who also has diabetes, says his favorite part of camp is “being able to see the kids outside the doctor’s office where they are in a different environment that they can have fun and be themselves in.”
Rojas is interning this summer at the American Diabetes Association North Texas office.