Life at diabetes camp as a dietary intern

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 camp has an amazing outdoor setup on Lake Marion. Waterfront was my favorite place to hangout. 

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.

We all got prettied up for the dance:

Though it wasn’t long until we were sweaty from breaking it down on the dance floor…

^The hair always goes up.

The best part of the dance was watching the campers break out all their moves.

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.

I really loved working with the other interns. We made a great team bagging apples and putting together other yummy snacks.

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?

25 thoughts on “Life at diabetes camp as a dietary intern

  1. This must be so rewarding! Also it looks like you had a blast so win-win!

    I never really went to normal summer camps. In high school I went to engineering camp twice and then took a veterinary medicine summer course at Cornell once. Which isn’t camp but at times felt like it! Nerd alert.
    Laura recently posted…Weekend RecapMy Profile

  2. Everything just looks so wonderful. I went to summer camp a few times, though not as much as I would have liked, but each time provides me with my favorite summer memories of all time. It’s just the best thing to do. I’ll never lose that feeling of sleeping in your sleeping bag in the top bunk of a wooden cabin amongst a whole group of kids and waking up to the sound of the breakfast bell. How extra special for these children to be able to let go of some of their responsibilities/stress of counting their insulin intake and to be able to be around others with the same diagnosis.
    I hope you get to go back! Heck, maybe one day you’ll be leading the whole thing!?
    Cora recently posted…Week Review: Letting Go of “Ideal”My Profile

  3. Looks like a great, action packed 3 days! I can see how this is such a valuable experience. The myth about carbohydrates is all too true for diabetes, I hear it all the time. There was a summer camp I went to when I was younger. I’m sure if I went back now I would appreciate it more, but at the time, I didn’t love it. I didn’t like being away from home!
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Life Lately and Marathon Training UpdatesMy Profile

  4. How fun! That must have been an amazing time and great experience. I went to a few summer camps and my favorite was Camp Seafarer in Arapahoe, NC. We had a blob too 🙂 I can still remember the feeling of nervous anticipation sitting on the edge of the blob waiting for someone to jump on the other end that would send me flying in the air! Those are some of the best memories I have from growing up.

  5. That is really neat that you got to spend so much time serving and loving people who who have Type 1 diabetes. It’s not exactly easy as one of my best friends has it, but she manages it super well. And I did used to think that they couldn’t have any carbs (shows my ignorance), but I learned that she could and she often needed a few at a meal.

    Kudos to the amazing camp dietitian! That would be a menu that would take a good deal of hard work! 🙂 I’m so thankful that we know more about celiacs and diabetes now than a long time ago. It’s such a blessing.
    Emily recently posted…Why I’ve Struggled with Self CareMy Profile

  6. I used to go to volleyball camp when I was in elementary school. It was a day camp so we spent like 6-7 hours there doing drills, playing around and scrimmaging. It was really fun and I never got that anxiety about being away from home (maybe why I was able to move out so quickly hahaha)
    Ellie recently posted…Feeling bleh and my emotional hungerMy Profile

  7. So glad you had fun Kate! All that food does look delicious. Nothing is better than fresh veggies or fruit! My boss at work has diabetes. It is interesting to learn more about it. I used to go to gymnastics summer camps when I was serious in gymnastics. I went to ones in Pennsylvania and New York!
    Lyss recently posted…Mental Health Monday 6/27/16: Recovery WritingsMy Profile

  8. The less pictures you remember to take the more memorable the time you spent was. At least that’s what I noticed which is a pity as a blogger but life > taking pictures for the blog.
    While I’ve never been to any summer camp myself – not as typical over here – yours sounds like so much fun. I like what you said about learning most from the people dealing with diabetes as it shows how interested you are in the patients themselves. Call me a broken record for saying it repeatedly but I’m sure you’re be a great dietitian.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…Good good links #148My Profile

  9. Ah, it’s so awesome that you get to work so closely with people who have diabetes, it’s a great way to learn. You must be a pro at carb counting too!
    Zootopia was the cutest movie ever, I saw it this week and loved it.
    I went to camp for one week in my whole childhood, I remember really loving it since they let us eat popcorn some nights haha, I don’t have that many memories unfortunately!
    Stephanie Leduc recently posted…Top 3 Friday #6: One Week Until Summer!My Profile

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