T1D Camp for Adults (Survive and Thrive Bootcamp)- It’s Just Right

I feel like goldilocks right now, but how I wish there were only three bears and in turn only three choices to pick from. I’m always looking for just right. Sometimes I get close. Sometimes I figure out what is just for me, but then I change or the just right thing goes away.

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Well, I think I found a just right for me- Survive and Thrive Bootcamp for adults with type 1 diabetes (basically T1D camp for adults) at Camp Nejeda in New Jersey (a T1D summer camp). What’s also great about this just right is that I can choose what I get out of it so it doesn’t matter where I’m at in life or the changes I’ve gone through- there’s something there and from year to year!

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Before I continue- disclaimer time!

  1. I LOVE DIABETES CAMP! I have a goal to get to as many diabetes camps as possible- even if only for a day- (I need to go back to Nejeda when kids with T1D are there.). I’m looking at you medical companies- hint hint wink wink… make this dream come true? 🙂
  2. This is the brainchild of my friend, Phyllis Kaplan over at Confessions of a Type 1 Diabetic with a Dash of Celiac/Dinobetic. She was a camper and a counselor at Camp Nejeda- i.e. the location. She was trying to work with different diabetes organizations and people for more programs for adults with T1D- she decided to just do it herself after a lot of no’s or it won’t work. Well in its fourth year of consistent growth and a high return rate- she made it yes- it’s working. I LOVE to support my friends in things they’re working on.

HOWEVER, this blog isn’t just a result of my love for diabetes camp or my love for Phyllis. It’s about my experience of the weekend- which I thoroughly enjoyed.

A little background

I’ve been trying to go to Survive and Thrive Bootcamp (I’ll stick with Bootcamp for short) since Phyllis worked with her “home” of Camp Nejeda to start this program for adults with T1D, but due to a lot of factors- finances, working in diabetes, and timing (diabetes conference season, man- it kept getting in the way), I wasn’t able to attend. Well things are different, and I was able to put it in pen in my calendar, I’d attend as a “camper” and a panelist. I got to go!!!!

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To be frank, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel or what I might get out of it. I knew I would compare it to Camp Kudzu, the diabetes camp I grew up, – how could I not? I’ve been to a lot of diabetes conferences and retreats. Most of which were great, but not for me exactly. Why?

  1. I felt so drained by the end (or before the end of it) of it due to the back to back to schedule, early mornings, and trying to cover so many different things. I work in programs- I’ve worked in diabetes- I GET it- but at the same time- it can be too much for me- especially with the ADHD- I get restless. Plus there’s that whole psychology bit- the need for breaks and such.
  2. I would get SO emotionally exhausted early on– especially for the more psycho-social events- which I AM SO a fan of and so glad they exist. I’m fine with other people’s emotions and past- (shoutout to social work and sociology). But dealing with my own emotions and past (not sharing necessarily but really diving into them)? I can only jump into that for so long before I’m just done.
  3. So much people time- as an outgoing introvert- I find it nearly impossible to find even a brief escape at these events. Which drains me. I become less and less sociable.
  4. Sometimes I feel like it’s the same information from the same people- which means I would be paying just to hangout with people in my life. I love to learn, but after having T1D for 18 years and working in diabetes… I find that I get more out of interactions with people than sessions or lectures.

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But I love camp- so I should have known that this would be at least close to a right fit for me. It really did feel like camp- for one… we were at a diabetes camp in cabins and called campers. Plus there were camp activities.

I could also get what I needed and only felt tired for “normal” reasons.

  1. We started later in the morning– there were things you could do in the morning like yoga (unfortunately- I was still taking care of my turf toe, and I like to sleep…). But that meant I had the opportunity to get a solid chunk of sleep. We also didn’t end super late at night– but you could continue conversations and play games (however, I’m still fighting through some PCOS and endometriosis flare-ups- so right now I need more than 8 hours of sleep to function).
  2. It also wasn’t SUPER jam packed schedule wise. There were opportunities for a chance to breathe, take a nap in a hammock, or whatever floats your boat. I got a chance to recharge- which is much needed as an introvert.
  3. Nothing was specifically focused on learning or the psycho-social aspects of it all. It might be one or the other for a moment or a combo. It was the right balance for me.

I also didn’t feel like I had to be ON- which might have to do with the fact that I wasn’t in charge or anything and wasn’t working.

Plus a few other things. Like the fact that it was the weekend- which helps regarding work- the main thing that can get in the way of working/volunteering at camp during the summers- DANG ADULT RESPONSIBILITIES.34595828_1986296148055277_6791462992950067200_o

Kind of an overview of the weekend (?)

I was able to participate in the advocacy panel and ask the PWD’s (person with diabetes) panel. Yeah, there might be some structure or some bullet points- but we went with whatever direction everyone participated wanted to go- there wasn’t an agenda/motive or ask of us. Those are my favorite types of sessions, speakers, panels, workshops, etc.

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Which is how most of the sessions i attended went, I won’t go into specifics- BUT- there was a session (my favorite I’d have to say)- an informal Q&A with Molly McElwee Malloy, she has a lot of credentials including CDE, clinical services manager at Tandem, and the most important one in my opinion- PWD. 

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One of my favorite moments/sessions

With her first session- a technology update- of course that was how the beginning of the conversation went with the Q&A- but then naturally and not forced and a lot to do with the fact that all of the people in the session identified as a woman- we started talking about women’s health (my blabber on out of excitement). 

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I will be honest, I instantly was ready to tune out and shut down when we started talking about this- I’m used to the conversation about women’s health and diabetes going straight to pregnancy- usually that’s just the topic for a session-or where the women’s health session ALWAYS GOES… Like I have shared many times, I do not want kids of my own. I know how important these conversations can be however, but I start to feel uncomfortable and sometimes get singled out for not wanting children of my own.

To my surprise- and thank goodness- it wasn’t the SOLE focus of our conversation- we talked a lot about women’s health- and a relation to technology which was a cool twist- it wasn’t just about one thing. We talked candidly- about periods, hormones, pregnancy, and menopause.

My favorite part? The passionate discussion- maybe rant/vent about the lack of information, resources, and research on women’s health and diabetes in general. CAN I GET AN AMEN???

I love diabetes camp for adults!

There was so much more to Bootcamp. Little and big moments. I could probably go on and on. I enjoyed s’mores, reconnecting with people, meeting new people, sitting in on sessions, being a panelist, and barely getting attacked my mosquitos. (Plus so much more).

We played camp games- such as a competitive game of dutch auction (well a variation of it)… My toe survived. I was excited to run and grateful for athletic tape for my toe- sorry to my doctor- but it’s still feeling fine and keeps getting better.  I tend to get really into things and overly competitive at everything- even if I’m not good at it. So I got REALLY INTO IT. We won- team “Not Sure” won!

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We talked about a lot- and not necessarily because it was “scheduled”. We talked diabetes and sex. We talked complications.

We also talked about burnout! I was able to get some clips- and am sharing with permission- not the best quality of recording- but hey- love that I got it!

It felt judgement free and open. I learned some new things and felt the sensation of me too all throughout the weekend. I could be “selfish” throughout the weekend and focus on me and what I wanted too- no one to take care of but myself- no deliverables- which I always struggle to embrace when I have chances like this to be selfish. 

I was also able to talk with my friend, Kim of Confessions of a Deniabetic, on the car ride from Boston to New Jersey and back- which was also nice- we are often together when there’s a lot going on so there isn’t always time for catch-up.

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I felt (well still feel) refreshed just after the weekend. Reinvigorated to take care of my diabetes and myself as a person!! I’m excited for next year.

I’d be happy to talk more details or answer questions- but I HIGHLY recommend attending yourself next year- most likely in early June! Watch out for announcements when registration is live!

This also helped with FOMO since the first session of Camp Kudzu happened the week of Bootcamp and sessions two and three followed, but I’ll be in GA for session four in July/August. YAY MORE CAMP!

So just like goldilocks (but without breaking and entering and taking things that aren’t mine), I’m feeling great with my feeling of just right- from a weekend of camp for adults with T1D. Oh how I LOVE diabetes camp! ❤ Diabetes camp will always be JUST RIGHT. 

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T1D Camp for Adults (Survive and Thrive Bootcamp)- Just Right

 

 

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We’ll both be glad you did! -Mindy

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