Dozens of children with Type-1 diabetes from Iowa and several surrounding states are taking part in a special camp this week. The Hot Shots Camping Adventure is underway at Platte River State Park near Louisville in eastern Nebraska.
Organizer Cory Harter says many diabetic kids can’t go to a regular summer camp. “They actually can see that, ‘Hey, I’m not the only one that has this disease. There are many other kids out there that have it and are doing things exactly as I am,'” Harter says. “They build those bonds and friendships that last forever.”
The campers, ages six through 11, are taking part in the typical summer camp activities, while under close supervision. “They ride horses, they do archery, we hike, arts and crafts, we have an afternoon field day where Lifeflight flies in and lands,” Harter says.
“The big value is they learn how to manage their diabetes while they’re being a normal person, while they’re being a kid.” Another important aspect of the three-day camp is the children are getting an education from experts about managing their disease.
“We have certified diabetes educators, dieticians, nurses, physicians that all volunteer their time,” Harter says. “We do have counselors out there, too, that are 16 and older that work with the younger kids. The majority of the counselors also have diabetes. A lot of them had been campers at one time and now come back to volunteer and help with the younger kids.” Camp Hot Shots serves children from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota and Minnesota.