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Camp Hertko Hollow, Iowa's camp for children with diabetes, mission statement is to provide an educational and recreational camping program for Iowa's youth between the ages of 6-18 who have diabetes. To promote diabetes management skills to gain independence and a positive attitude for controlling the disease.
Camp Hertko Hollow is a special residential camp for children who happen to have diabetes. The camp has two one-week sessions and is held at the Des Moines YMCA Camp site along the Des Moines River, north of Boone, IA.
Dr. Edward Hertko founded Camp Hertko Hollow in 1968 with 37 campers. Now more than 325 campers attend each summer. In addition there are 120 staff members who volunteer their time to provide diabetes education and regulation for the campers. Campers live in cabins with physicians, nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, counselors, dietetic interns, pharmacy and nursing students. One third of the staff members have diabetes themselves and are great role models for the campers.
Mini-camp is a hlf week session during Session A (first week) for campers ages 6-7. This gives first time campers a taste of the camping experience. Since it is only 3 nights long, there's no time to get homesick.
Non-diabetic siblings may attend camp for one year if space is available. Diabetes involves the entire family and increased understanding is helpful.
In a nutshell-we have FUN!! Campers participate in a variety of activities including horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, repelling, climbing tower, crafts, ropes course, soccer, volleyball, nature, archery, rifle range, & zip line. The two-story slide at the pool is popular.
Campers live in cabins by age group with 9 other campers, a diabetes counselor, YMCA leader, dietetic intern, nursing or pharmacy student, along with other medical staff. Making new friends who also have diabetes is one of the major benefits of attending Camp Hertko Hollow.
Special night activities include Inspiration Point, dance, Honor Point, a carnival for the elementary aged campers and a game night for the teens. The campers and staff even take a bus to view the 4th of July fireworks near Boone, IA.
Diabetes education happens spontaneously as expreienced health professionals live and play with the campers. The "Teachable Moment" can occur anytime as campers learn about counting carbohydrates, measuring and injecting insulin, doing finger prick blood tests, and making adjustments with changes in exercise. Campers gain confidence and independence. Numerous types of management plans, use of insulin pumps, and new products on the market make it a challenge since each child's plan is unique. All campers participate in daily education sessions led by an experienced medical staff person.
Both Camp Hertko and the Des Moines YMCA Camp have passed the strict safety and operational standards from the American Camp Associationa and have received accreditation. They provide a safe environment for all campers regardless of race, religion, gender, creed or special needs.
Camp Hertko Hollow , Inc. is also a members of the Diabetes Educationa and Camping Association that represents diabetes camps across the US and worldwide and will host the October 2006 international conference at the Y-Camp.
- ann wolf
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