By Hank McCoy
Camp Coral Kids, a summer camp for children with type 1 diabetes, ended its virtual camp program this year — and was a huge success.
The City of Coral Springs canceled all summer camps on May 5 due to the pandemic raging throughout the globe; however, the Camp Coral Kids staff, in response, put together a virtual two-week program for campers to participate in.
Held at Broward Health Coral Springs at 3000 Coral Hills Drive, Camp Coral Kids is for children with type 1 diabetes. For over 20 years, counselors and volunteers have built an environment, creating a tight-knit community where campers learn from nurses about how to properly administer an insulin shot as well as taking their blood sugar levels.
Counselors, like the campers, have often gone through the camp themselves, inspiring campers by showing they are no different than anyone else.
Like many parents, Kizzy Dailey worried it would be challenging to keep kids engaged and entertained virtually. As a vice-principal for Broward County Public Schools and mother of Gabriel, 12, a camper at Camp Coral for five years, she said, “They absolutely knocked it out of the park.”
The first word that comes to Kizzy’s mind is “hopeful” when she thinks about Camp Coral Kids.
“It kind of in a sense restores hope,” Kizzy explained, “Every year when it’s over, I feel like crying. My hope is one day that it’ll be a full summer camp,”
Camp Coral Kids virtual camp was held from June 15 to June 26, during which parents were privy to conversations their children had with one another about dealing with diabetes.
“It was eye-opening to hear some of Gabriel’s responses,” said Kizzy, “you know, to questions and the things they’d discuss. It sparked dialogue within our own household.”
Gabriel hopes to become a counselor in training when he turns 13. Becoming a counselor in training helps them pass down confidence and comfort to other campers because of their shared experiences.
Gabriel explained, “Because I kind of feel different and people don’t know what I’m really going through, it feels good to have people who actually understand.”
For more information contact Camp Director Kathy Byrne at Kbyrne@browardhealth..org.
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