Note: The following article was written by Safiyyah Wilson, who spent time this summer as an intern with the College of Health Sciences Pipeline Program. Safiyyah is a rising senior at Newark Charter School.
For the past three years, Alessia Fabris has been attending Diabetes and You: Kamp for Kids. She enjoys tie-dyeing shirts, building stick houses, swimming at the Little Bob and making slime. But for kids like her living with Type 1 diabetes, this camp, hosted by the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences, is about more than having fun.
For the past 20 years, Kamp for Kids has been a place where children ages 4 to 16 with Type 1 diabetes – along with their siblings and friends – can connect with other people who understand how challenging and isolating the chronic condition can be. The camp was developed by School of Nursing professor emerita Judith Herrman, Ph.D.
“This a chance and an opportunity for those with Type 1 to be able to get together and know that they’re not alone,” said camp director Jennifer Saylor, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing.
The camp also is part of an experiential learning experience for UD students, who learn about diabetes and its management. UD nursing students Amy Jackson of Dagsboro and Laura Schleiniger of Newark said working at the camp helped them learn about not just about the disease and the types of insulin pumps that are available but also the way families and children manage their health and day-to-day life.
Counselor Briana B., an accelerated nursing student, said the opportunity allowed her to use the knowledge gained in the classroom in a real-life setting. It give students “the experience to feel confident to help others in the real world,” she said.
“There is nothing else like this, and there is no other place to come where all these kids can just be free and talk about having diabetes,” said April Prior, assistant director of Kamp for Kids and simulation lab instructor.