Fourteen year old Katie Summerell is just like every camper here at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center in Rincon. And that's exactly why she enjoys coming to Camp CoDiak year after year. Diagnosed with diabetes eight years ago, explaining her disease to her friends hasn't always been easy. "I was just worried about what other people think of me," she explained,"Because everybody was always asking questions, like, what is that? Why do you have to do it?"
Twelve year old Ouzal Hinz, knows that feeling all too well. He's had diabetes since he was two. While it's nothing new to him, trying to take his insulin shots at school can be frustrating. "Nobody knows what diabetes is. And it's really hard to explain to them what it is," he said.
But at Camp CoDiak, everyone is familiar with the disease. Because all the campers there have diabetes.Camp CoDiak stands for Controlling Diabetes In Kids, and is supervised by medically trained doctors and nurses, who also like to have fun.
The camp gives diabetic children and teens a chance to learn more about their disease, while just being regular kids. It's just like regular summer camp, volleyball and swimming are a camp favorite. The only difference you might see here is campers checking their blood sugar levels eight times a day. But it's one of the day to day routines camp counselors want them to learn. " It challenges them to take on new responsibilities with managing their disease, and it gives them a chance to see how other children cope with being a diabetic," said Donna Hoke, a manager at the St. Joseph's Candler Diabetes Management Center.
Campers also learn things like how to count their carbs and the importance of exercising. They then tailor it to their diabetic needs."The main thing we like to see with the kids is they can have an active lifestyle. They can interact with other children, even though they have a life long illness, it can be managed," explained Pediatrician, Dr. William Webb.
Katie likes the camp because she feels right at home. " It's just nice seeing everybody. How they react to diabetes, how they eat their food and take care of themselves."
Making these campers no different than anybody else. Unfortunately, it's too late to sign up for this session of Camp CoDiak, but you can call the St. Joseph's Candler Diabetes Management Center at 819-6146 to learn more about it and get a jump start on next year.
Reported By: Melanie A. Ruberti; firstname.lastname@example.org