For the second year in a row, I spent time working as a dietary intern at a diabetes camp for children. You can read about my first year’s experience HERE.
Unfortunately due to work conflicts, I couldn’t spend my whole week there as planned, but I did my best to get as much out of the 3.5 days I was there. Just like last year, I had the best time. Working at this camp makes me so excited to be a dietitian and work with different groups of people. It was a reminder of how much I love people too. Serving is where it’s at, y’all.
As a kid and teen, I went to summer camp every year. Reliving camp as a worker was almost just a fun.
[The pictures I took were quite random. I’ve found that I tend to take less pictures when I’m having a good time. No time to pull out a camera when living in the moment, right? Also, none of the pictures are edited because I knew I’d never get around to posting this if I tried to edit them all.]
A few of our responsibilities as dietary interns included serving snacks (there were 2 a day), providing carbohydrate counts for all the food, and preparing alternatives for those with food allergies. Interestingly, the rate for celiac disease is higher in type 1 diabetics than in the general population. Both are autoimmune diseases.
Type 1 diabetes is different than type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is typically diagnosed in children and young adults, whereas type 2 is more often diagnosed in adults. Type 2 diabetes indicates insulin resistance, which means the cells in the body are resistant to the insulin produced in the body so the body must produce more. Insulin is needed to allow glucose to enter the cells and be transformed into energy. Type 1 diabetes is where there is an absence of insulin production, so all insulin must be administered externally. This can be done through injections or a pump.
Type 1 diabetics are not limited in what they can eat. They can eat anything as long as they give themselves enough insulin per the amount of carbohydrates they are consuming. Insulin to carbohydrate ratio differs from person to person.
Speaking of eating… the food at camp was amazing! Lauren, the camp dietitian, does an amazing job coming up with the menu. She gets donations from local farmers and ensures veggies are present at all meals.
Some of my favorites included the best broccoli salad ever-
Tacos/taco salad- (that cup is full of delicious guac!)
Fluffy eggs + french toast sticks + yogurt
Veggie lasagna (not a favorite among the kids, but I absolutely love it!)
Spanish-style potatoes and eggs for last breakfast
One cool thing our camp does is have “family-style” eating instead of the typical cafeteria line. The counselors get the food for the campers and then the campers are served at the table. This both creates community and allows them to watch the number of servings they eat so they can be sure to give themselves the right amount of insulin.
The campers could use the salad bar freely since those veggies were very low carb and didn’t have to be so closely counted.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking diabetics shouldn’t eat carbohydrates or can never sweets. This is not true. Just like everyone else, their bodies need carbohydrates. They just need to be aware the amount so they give themselves the right amount of insulin so their bodies can use all the carbohydrates.
The big yellow and blue floating device is called “the blob”. One person sits on one end and another person jumps down onto the back end so the front person goes flying. It’s quite fun to watch. I had my turn, which was a blast, thought I did have a battle scar:
The evenings were spent doing fun activities. A carnival was held, we had a movie night (Zootopia is the cutest!), there was a dance, and a talent show.
^The hair always goes up.
The weather was pretty much just hot the whole time (which I loved), but we did experience a mighty monsoon for a short period.
I forgot how much I enjoy watching summer storms.
Blake, Lauren’s co-leader, was amazing too. He had us laughing all week!
After the talent show on the last night they have an awards ceremony, and our fearless leader Lauren was recognized for putting in 6 years of hard work. She is such an inspiration!
My favorite part of camp, by far, was chatting with the campers and counselors about their experiences living with type 1 diabetes. I learned a good bit from the nurses, but the real knowledge came from the ones living with it. And of course, just hanging out and getting to know everyone was a lot of fun. I’m a pretty social person, so I really enjoyed all the talking with new people.
The last night I stayed up until 4 am, something I never do. I value sleep a lot, I usually turn down anything that would keep me up that late. This time, however, I decided to try something different. I had to realize it is okay if I’m a little sleepy and cranky for one day of my life. These opportunities don’t come everyday.
After a day of cleaning and packing, I headed back home to sleep the afternoon away. Shout out to my wonderful husband for getting us take-out.
Can’t wait until next year!
So you tell me-
Have you ever been to summer camp? Favorite memory?