American Diabetes Association’s Camp for Kids Going Strong





Camp Aurora

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.
Camp NHS2
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.

Camp NHS

For some of the kids at camp it is their first time being around other kids who have diabetes, and their first time seeing others have to deal with the same things they do every day. Val Sanders, who has been camp director for 6 years and a part of the program for 16 years, loves seeing newly diagnosed kids who are still afraid come to camp for their first time. Being surrounded by kids who also have to be conscious about their blood sugar reassures first timers that they are not alone.
Joy, a camp counselor and her 11-year-old son, Brant, a camper both attended Camp New Horizons South. Brant was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3 and has been coming to camp ever since then.

“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.


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