The last two weeks have been absolutely chaotic, but they have been worth it. The other interns and myself got the opportunity to attend Camp Hendon, which is a diabetes camp for mostly Type 1 diabetics. It is located in Leitchfield, KY and we stayed there for a full week. And when I say a full week, I mean we got in some solid 14-16 hour days. Type 1 diabetes, to my surprise, is actually on the rise over the past years and it is predicted to continue to rise all the way up to 2050, especially in minorities (Dabelea et al., 2014).
I was lucky enough to be placed in the camper group that I signed up for: the Eagles, which is the 16 and 17 year old campers. These made me want to tear my hair out multiple times while I was there, but overall, I really enjoyed being one of their camp counselors and I’d even go as far to say that I miss being around them. They decided to start calling my “Uncle Matt” because I was the one counselor who was slightly more lenient than the other campers, and they felt they could be themselves around me, which made me feel good because that’s all I wanted. I helped these kids out throughout camp, but they played a huge part in helping me out, too. Specifically, when they would all join together and start chanting my name to peer pressure me into doing things I didn’t necessarily want to do – take the midnight ziplining, for example. This made me “stretch” in multiple ways and I think I returned the favor many times over, so I think a competency I did well on was CRDN 2.3 Demonstrate active participation, teamwork, and contributions in group settings.
Another activity that I was really hesitant about doing was the 2 am rounds, where we checked the campers blood glucose levels in the middle of the night. We had to make sure they were above 120 mg/dL and if they weren’t we had to feed them a snack. As you can imagine, most of these campers were not too thrilled to be awakened so soon after falling asleep after an intense day. I felt bad I was waking them up, but I knew these were the rules and it was only for their well-being.
Finally, the last activity from camp was working in the kitchen to prepare meals. Each intern had to work one meal shift and one snack shift. When it was my turn, we were serving spaghetti to the camp. I thought this would be fairly simple, but since the campers are all required to carb count, it made the spaghetti quite a challenge to try and quickly fit noodles into a 1 cup serving size (or two ½ cups, in my case). Food allergies, portion sizes, special diets – there was nothing missing from making our staff work as hard as possible. Haha. However, one thing I thought was cool was the emphasis on discarding trash in the appropriate bins: either compost, trash, plastic, etc. There was a large effort in trying to discard of waste properly and I think that’s something I need to work more on so a competency I need to improve is CRDN 4.6 Propose and use procedures as appropriate to the practice setting to promote sustainability, reduce waste, and protect the environment.
Through the good and the bad, Camp Hendon is an experience I will never forget.
Dabelea D, Mayer-Davis EJ, Saydah S, et al. Prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Among Children and Adolescents From 2001 to 2009. JAMA. 2014;311(17):1778–1786. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3201