A few months ago Grasshopper’s school nurse, Amber, told me she had been contacted by some folks from the Pike Road Lions Club.They wanted to help send kids to Camp Seale Harris, an organization that runs camps throughout Alabama for kids with type 1 diabetes.
We had known about Camp Seale Harris already but we had never been to one of their events. Grasshopper was too young to go to summer camp in years past but we had heard about their family events and thought maybe that would be a better fit.
Amber gave me the contact information for Dennis and Jeff with the Pike Road Lions Club and they generously sponsored our family for the Camp Seale Harris Summer Family Weekend at Camp ASCCA on Lake Martin. We were thrilled to accept their generosity. It was a wonderful weekend.
Grasshopper got to try out the zip line, putt putt, bungee trampoline, archery, a boat ride, and generally just ran around and had a blast. We got to talk to a lot of parents, and we found more people in the Montgomery area whom we didn’t know before this weekend. We were able to talk to the counselors and get their take on Camp and on growing up with T1D. I shared the information about my blog and about the Lions Club’s new focus on diabetes. We learned that during the week long summer camps there are more endocrinology doctors, nurses, pharmacists and certified diabetes educators on the premises than we could have possibly hoped. Each camper goes through an extensive individual check in process upon arrival to a week long camp so that parents, campers and camp staff are all in agreement over insulin doses, treatment for high and low blood sugar, and every little nitty gritty detail of the daily management of type 1 diabetes FOR THAT CAMPER. We are both so impressed with Camp Seale Harris and so grateful to the Lions for their support. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking, with notes here and there.
Rufus says, “Camp Seale Harris or bust!” Grasshopper’s Rufus wears a pump and Dexcom just like his boy.
A friend, Hayley, gave Grasshopper this box when he got his tonsils taken out. She packed it with fun things to do in the hospital. Now we use the box for diabetes supplies when we travel. We bring all of this with us just for a weekend away. We never use all that we bring but the key to having a successful trip away from home with T1D is to be prepared and have backup supplies for everything.
Here we come!
Grasshopper was awestruck when we went to dinner the first night and he saw so many people wearing insulin pumps. One of the counselors, Chris, sat at our table and checked his blood sugar. Grasshopper plucked at my sleeve and whispered incredulously in my ear, “Does he have type 1 diabetes like me???!!” I looked at him told Grasshopper he could ask Counselor Chris himself. He was too shy so I asked for him. Chris just responded, “Yes, I do. Do you?” Grasshopper nodded. And that was that.
At dinner that first night we received our packet with the schedule for the weekend and got to meet many of the counselors. All of them except for two have type 1 diabetes. Photographer Edward Fieder (longtime Camp Seale Harris camper, and counselor) of the Faces of Diabetes made a series of hilarious videos poking fun at counselors James and Sarah for NOT having T1D.
We stayed in the Lions Rotary Lodge. Fitting!
Grasshopper tried the zip line first. I don’t have any video or pictures from that but he loved it! He was thrilled to play on the HUGE water slide too.
While Grasshopper was out having fun zip lining, water sliding, and fishing with his fellow campers, I sat in the parent sessions. Sunshine went to some of the activities with her brother but she missed us so for most of the sessions Mr. Mister walked around the camp with her to work off her usual two year old abundance of energy.
On Saturday afternoon we had time to enjoy the camp as a family.
Walking to the boat.
Grasshopper has a way with words that just tickles me. The pontoon boat we rode on had artificial grass, so he kept calling it a “land boat.”
It was a hot, sunny, beautiful weekend… almost as if we were in Alabama.
Grasshopper and Sunshine scampered all over camp.
Grasshopper was thrilled to try a compound bow and a crossbow.
Putt putt with Daddy.
Winner, winner… You know you are among your tribe when the carb counts are shown on a huge screen for the duration of every meal.
…Dot Dinner! After the chicken finger dinner, Grasshopper was one of several campers who found a dot under their chairs. He won a compass donated by NovoLog, which makes the insulin he uses.
A pool party and a campfire with s’mores rounded out the day.
On Sunday morning at breakfast the campers were called to get a rose to give to their mothers. Not only did I receive this beautiful rose but Camp Director John then instructed the campers to stand behind their mothers and as gently as possible to give a massage. Grasshopper’s version of a massage consisted of shaking me by the shoulders. Sunshine patted my arm. I was laughing too hard to complain!
I picked up some Camp Seale Harris swag before we left.
Good bye Camp ASCCA and Camp Seale Harris! We will be back!