By Sharon Aron Baron
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.
As the two-week Camp Coral Kids at Broward Health Coral Springs end, 7-year-old Kai Young and his mother, Lauren Young, rejoice in the experience.
Camp Coral Kids is the only day camp in South Florida for children ages 6-12 diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Last year, two months before the start of Camp Coral Kids, Kai was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
It was a frightful experience for both Kai and his parents. “It was tough for him and us to deal with the news, and it sent our family into a dark place,” Young said. That was until they learned about Camp Coral Kids and the opportunities that came along with it.
Kai started Camp Coral Kids virtually last year due to the pandemic. Although it was not the whole experience, it opened his and his parents’ eyes to a welcoming experience.
Camp Coral Kids reopened its doors this year on June 13. The campers had an in-person experience with children who understand what they are going through in a fun, educational, and medically supervised environment.
Over the two weeks, the campers participate in swimming, dancing, and crafts. One thing that sets the camp apart is how it incorporates medical care in a way that resonates with the children.
Counselors, including a registered nurse who works at the hospital, show the campers how to count carbs and manage their diabetes through cooking classes and games.
“To know Camp Coral Kids can teach our children how to better themselves and help them make light of their situations is a very uplifting feeling,” Young said.
Kai now feels like he is no longer alone or different from everyone and realizes he has multiple people he can lean on, his mother said.
“Seeing these kids who at one point felt disconnected from everything and now being able to be just kids is a wonderful feeling,” said Broward Health registered nurse Kathy Byrne, who serves as the camp’s director.
To learn more about Camp Coral Kids, visit BrowardHealth.org/CampCoral.
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