By: Jen Russon
For kids with Type I diabetes, the Camp Coral Kids program offered through Broward Health Coral Springs is part of the fabric of the community, teaching them how to navigate their condition and have fun despite its many challenges.
Though virtual this year, Camp Coral is making a huge splash at the Cypress Park pool by hosting two in-person swim parties this summer.
But that’s not all.
New and returning campers can expect activities like Zumba, yoga, cooking classes, and a virtual campfire with ideas for managing diabetes that is both educational and fun.
“This camp is something really special,” said Jared Smith, CEO of Broward Health Coral Springs. “Being the lead community provider, not only in Coral Springs but in Broward County, we are extremely honored and privileged to be a part of the community and to provide this incredible service.”
Camp Director Kathy Byrne said the experience instills a sense of independence, camaraderie, and how to deal with the condition on a day-to-day basis.
“Children with Type 1 diabetes can connect with other kids who understand what they are going through,” said Byrne, adding life long friendships are made at the camp.
The registered nurse had plenty more positive things to say about Camp Coral.
“They don’t feel as isolated as they might in school, having to worry about eating right at lunchtime and taking their insulin. They just have fun at camp, stay active, and learn a lot.”
Byrne said the camp is virtual because of COVID-19, but the weekly challenges and online interactions should ramp up the same amount of enthusiasm when it’s time for the kids to meet up at the pool.
For over 25 years, Camp Coral Kids has been an invaluable resource for families who trust Broward Health with their children’s insulin treatments, daily carb counts, and fitness routine.
Parents whose kids have experienced Camp Coral Kids before say it’s their child’s favorite part of the year — a time when they can be among their peers and just let their hair down.
Type 1 diabetes affects about 1 in 400 children, adolescents, and young adults under 20 years of age. It’s a lifelong condition that can be gravely serious if left untreated by an endocrinologist.
Parents can only register their children in Camp Coral Kids by referral from their doctor or medical documentation of Type I diabetes.
In addition to Byrne, an R.N., the camp employs a medical team and counselors who also have diabetes and are aware of its challenges.
The 2021 virtual dates for camp Coral are June 16 – June 30. The in-person pool parties are scheduled for Friday, June 18, and Wednesday, June 30, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Parents may register online at BrowardHealth.org/Camp. The Cypress Park pool is at 1300 Coral Springs Drive, just two miles from the hospital.
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- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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