What an amazing camp! Everyone got on well, and played and interacted positively with each other. Twenty-two children attended camp this year, including several first-time-to-camp. There was a mix of children using syringes/injections and insulin pumps. Stand staff commented on how the children were great listeners, were enthusiastic and they appreciated the offers of help at meal times.
Stand staff and medical staff were impressed with the four peer supports and their involvement with the children. They were Torrey Graham, Ryan Hall, Alex Stephenson and Grace McIntyre. Thank you to them for giving up their time and jobs to come and support the children at camp.
Medical staff included John Duff, Tina Cook (nurses), Sara Widdowson (dietitian), Mercedes Burnside (doctor), Jo Henderson (Rep from NZ Medical and Scientific), Jenn Morris and Di Browne (night nurses).
Camp started with a powhiri followed by morning tea with families. Once farewells were complete, we settled into some onsite activities including swimming, bikes and scooters and gym games. After dinner we went 10 pin bowling which was a lot of fun.
On Tuesday we visited Willowbank where we saw lots of animals. We fed eels, antelope, llamas, horses, pigs, goats and many others. Kiwi were spotted in the undergrowth of the kiwi house. In the afternoon we stayed onsite and got involved in the variety of activities offered.
On Wednesday we went into town and went on the top deck of the open double decker bus which drove us around the city telling us about all the new things happening and being built in Christchurch. After lunch in the botanical gardens we went kayaking on the Avon either in pairs or singles. Many a physic lesson was learnt on steering and direction! After dinner we had a diabetes quiz in which the Stand staff team did very well!! After the quiz we played a brand new game about what happens when you eat carbohydrate food, it still needs some refining but the peer supports and Jo were an excellent mouth, stomach and pancreas!!
Thursday was time to pack up and fit in a bit of playing before families arrived for the farewell and shared lunch.
The kitchen staff were very accommodating having to manage surprise dietary requirements and endless questions from the adults who were calculating carb values of food. Children left exhausted, happy, with new friends and hopefully with some new knowledge about diabetes and its management.
The children’s feedback was very positive with some great ideas for activities in and out of camp. Meeting others with diabetes was a valuable experience.
Overall, a very positive happy experience. Thanks to all the children who gave everything a go, were well behaved and made friends easily.