Mission: Camp Kudzu is a non-profit organization providing education, recreation and peer-networking programs for Georgia's children and youth living with type 1 diabetes. Led by dedicated volunteers, medical professionals and a small staff, Camp Kudzu offers overnight summer camps, family camps and other diabetes education and management programs throughout the year.
Programs: In summer 2014, camp kudzu served 608 children and youth with type 1 diabetes during our four one-week camping sessions. Three of our sessions were traditional overnight camp sessions; one session was our week-long day camp program to educate and empower the youngest children living with type 1 diabetes. 38% of summer campers received scholarships. Over 360 new diabetes self-management skills were documented. 365 volunteers served as cabin counselors, clinical staff, activity leaders and in other camp positions. The theme for education in 2014 was "lean on me" stressing the importance of a supportive network of health care providers, friends, family and counselors.
camp kudzu hosted two family weekend camps, one each in the spring and fall. These weekend programs serve families with newly diagnosed children or children too young to attend summer camp, as well as families who need ongoing support since their children's diabetes has no cure or end date. At family weekend camps, the children enjoy the fun of camp while the whole family receives vital diabetes management education and coping skills for family and school life. Medical professionals are on site throughout the weekend to deliver diabetes management information and to answer specific questions about diet, activity, and emerging trends in glycemic control. Families have the chance to connect and develop friendships that can sustain them long after the weekend ends. Each weekend hosts approximately 30 families. The scholarship rate for family weekend programs was 49%.
camp kudzu continued to offer two teen weekend programs, one serving girls and one serving both boys and girls. The teen girls' retreat emphasized self-empowerment and mindfulness of their health while addressing their social and emotional needs. Program content ranged from technical diabetes management and nutrition skills to stress reduction techniques and leadership training. The coed program was a winter "high adventure trip" which taught campers how to adapt one's diabetes regimen for new exertion levels. It was also the setting for leadership and team building skills and for gaining an appreciation of the natural environment. 52 teens were served. The scholarship rate for teen programs was 38%.
Our son was diagnosed with type 1 a year ago. Our family went to their Fall family camp just a few weeks afterwards and it was enormously helpful in so many ways: practical information, medical answers from volunteer doctors, meeting new friends and forming a network of support, and just sheer inspiration from stories of people who are living healthy lives by working hard. This summer our 9 year old attended Camp Kudzu. It was an amazing experience for him to be a regular kid and not the only one in the room having to monitor carbs & take shots & repeatedly check his blood glucose. These kids never get a break from diabetes, but at the camp they get a break from being the "different" kids.