Summer camps for children abound on Maryland’s Mid-Shore. For many local children with Type 1 diabetes, however, enrollment in most summer camps is not possible because needed specialized nursing attention and supervision is not included. Thanks to Shore Kids Camp, a day camp offered each summer at MEBA Engineering School (located on Route 33, the Oxford Road) by University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, children with diabetes can enjoy a wonderful day camp experience while also learning about the diseases in a safe and healthy environment. The camp program is designed for children with diabetes, 7-12 years of age, who are able to fully participate in age-appropriate activities with no restrictions other than those related to diabetes. The camp is managed by pediatric nurses with experience in diabetes who are assisted by high school and college students as volunteers.
Offered this summer beginning Monday, July 8 through Thursday, July 11, Shore Kids Camp includes activities like swimming, basketball, arts and crafts, boat rides, and visits to local attractions such as organic farms and museums. Complementing these recreational experiences are on-site, educational presentations about diabetes and interactive games that teach them about their condition and how to manage it safely.
“There’s other camp like this on the Eastern Shore,” says Wynne Aroom, UM SRH patient education specialist who directs Shore Kids Camp. “The diabetes camps across the Bay Bridge are overnight camps, and often parents are reluctant to a young child with a chronic illness that far away from home or the cost may be more than they can afford. Overall, the children who attend Shore Kids Camp have a great time and many return to the camp for multiple years.”
An additional benefit for those who attend is shared experience. Aroom explains, “In many cases, they are the only child in their school class with diabetes, and this can be very challenging for them. The camp provides networking for both the children and their parents, so they don’t feel alone in the challenges they face daily. ”
Increased independence is one of the key goals of the camp. “The activities help boost the children’s confidence that they can survive without their parents,” says Aroom. We provide healthy food and snack options and help the campers in keeping track of what they eat and in trying new foods.”
The Shore Kids Camp cost is $75 at registration and a $10 fee, required in advance for application materials. Some need-based scholarships are available. Registration is limited to 15 children. The deadline for registration is July 1, 2019.