ADA Camp Midicha takes place every summer at YMCA Camp Copeneconic, located in Fenton, MI. Offering both a residential (overnight) and a day camp option, Camp Midicha helps to foster independence and self-confidence in kids with Type 1 diabetes; critical skills needed to thrive while managing their condition. This shared, inclusive experience creates bonds, friendships, and memories that last a lifetime. An excellent example of this was when a camper not on a continuous glucose monitor made friends with a child who was. His new best friend told him "You should get one to get less pokes!" Another fun fact about the camp is that in addition to being medically trained to care for pediatric diabetes patients, many camp counselors and staff also have Type 1 diabetes and attended Camp Midicha as children. Talk about making an impact!
Dr. Inas Thomas, CDI's Associate Director for Pediatric Clinical Research and Diabetes Program, serves as the Medical Director for the day camp. Starting as a staff endocrinologist at the camp in 2011, Dr. Thomas and others on the team worked to create an amazingly robust program that, today, allows children as young as 5 the chance to "just be kids" while enjoying all the activities camp has to offer. She jokes, "We are equal parts medical staff and parents in our roles since 5-year-olds really need close guidance from tying their shoes to keeping track of their pumps!"
The many advances in technology over the last 5-10 years have changed the way they care for the campers. In the past, few kids were on pumps and continuous glucose monitors. Now the majority of them are on these devices. This progress has forced staff to change their practices and allow the pumps to do more, while the team watches carefully to keep the kids safe. Camp Midicha recently implemented an electronic medical record system that allows the blood glucoses of the children who are on continuous glucose monitors to be viewed on one large screen. Dr. Thomas shares, "This was such a wonderful addition to our camp as I can now monitor all of the individual groups as they are simultaneously frog-hunting, zip-lining, or playing with the snakes in the 'In Cold Blood Building!"
"The acceptance and positive attitudes of all the children make it all worth it." -Inas Thomas, MD
In addition to the fun activities of camp and the engaging T1D education offered, another very cool aspect of Camp Midicha is that many of the people there are volunteers. Medical professionals trained in caring for pediatric diabetes patients can volunteer during camp while others can help the staff get prepared, before the children's arrival. If you or your team is looking for a fun summer volunteer activity that allows you the chance to be a kid again while also making a difference, look no further. Consider Camp Midicha!
Please note that while day camp is open to children ages 5-10 and 8-17 for the residential camp, young adults with diabetes are welcome to come back to work at the camp as an ADA partner, which is a paid counselor role.
To learn more about Camp Midicha and how you might support, visit their website.
To read a first-hand account of one camper's extraordinary experience, click here.
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