Camp Juliet, fun by the University Health Care Foundation, is a place where children with diabetes can go to enjoy themselves. (WRDW-TV / June 21, 2012)
News 12 First at Five / Thursday, June 21, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Just about all of us have fond memories of summer camp. But for some tough children, a normal summer camp is out of the question. That's where Camp Juliet, a camp for children with diabetes, comes in.
The kids at the camp have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of days.
"I'm most excited about going and playing in the lake," said 9-year-old Caleb Richardson.
Twelve-year-old Emma Murray, who has been going to Camp Juliet for seven years, says "I enjoy all the activities and seeing my old friends ... my favorite thing is tubing and swimming in the lake for sure."
This is 10-year-old Taylor Eubanks' second year at camp.
"We play ping pong, basketball and go fishing, tubing and all that," he said.
Camp Juliet was started 25 years ago for children living with diabetes.
"They learn about how to control their diabetes, what diabetes is, how to give injections, how to carb count ... anything to do with managing their diabetes. It's just basically a place to learn," explained Co-Director Joy Love.
"It was named after Juliet Powell who was a diabetes educator, who founded the camp. It was named in her honor after she passed away shortly after the camp was founded," said Dr. Ian Herskowitz, the medical director for the camp.
It's become a weekend getaway for kids ages 7 to 17 who have a hard time going to other summer camps.
"It's very hard for children with diabetes to go to typical camps because they don't take into account that you have to take your blood sugar, and you have to count your carbs. You need to have that space to get your insulin. A lot of kids aren't comfortable doing that around other kids who don't have diabetes," Love said.
Without doctors on standby and medical supplies, Camp Juliet wouldn't be possible. But it really gives the kids a chance to be themselves.
"I love it. It makes me feel like I'm not alone, you know, that there are other kids out there doing the same as me," said 12-year-old Juliann Fuller. This is her seventh year at Camp Juliet.
"You feel like more fun with them because they understand what you're going through, and you can talk about your diabetes with each other, and they won't question you about it," said 12-year-old Emma.
"We have to sleep with our heads to the middle because they have to check our blood sugar in the middle of the night," explained 15-year-old Jessi on a tour of the cabins.
With activities packed day and night, it's a fun weekend for everyone.
"It's a big family and I think everyone, volunteers and campers, all look forward to getting back together each year," Love said.
There are about 42 campers at the Lincolnton campsite. Camp Juliet is run by volunteers and funded from donations through the University Health Care Foundation.