If just the thought of sending your diabetic child off to summer camp without medical supervision makes your heart race, check out Camp Jordan by Makemie Woods in Barhamsville, a community near Williamsburg. Started in 1967 by the Richmond Optimist Club, the camp provides diabetic children with a typical camping experience.
"The main thing that happens is a sense of community," says camp director Michelle "Mike" Burcher. "A lot of the kids who come here have never met another kid with diabetes before. They find out there are other children like them, and they share their joys and frustrations."
Most days are spent doing regular activities such as swimming, camping and cooking out. But the rest of the time is spent learning about managing diabetes. In addition to a staff medical team, two dietetic interns from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine teach kids about eating properly. The kids also learn about giving themselves insulin shots and other aspects of diabetes treatment. "Our goal is to have these kids learn to have a life as much like their friends without diabetes as possible," Burcher says.
This summer there are three beginners' camps for rising third- through fifth-graders (July 18-20) and a full nine-day camp for rising fourth- through 10th-graders (July 18-26). There's also a whitewater-rafting trip for rising ninth and 10th-graders. Visit makwoods.org/cjordan for more information.