The Berrie Center Summer Fun Program was a fun-filled, jam-packed week of events that started with a trip to Rockin’ Jump, the ultimate in indoor trampoline parks; Tuesday featured a one-of-a-kind private cooking demonstration at the renowned restaurant, Modern, at the Museum of Modern Art; By Wednesday, the 20, 8-to-12-year-old participants were making pesto with ingredients handpicked from the Urban Garden on Governor’s Island; On Thursday there was rope climbing and zip-lining at the Bronx Zoo’s Treetop Adventure and finally, Friday was Fun Fuzion, where the campers engaged in everything from laser tag to rock n’ bowl.
And so it went last week at the 2018 annual Summer Fun Program sponsored by the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. In its 19thyear, the program is intended to help pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) gain confidence, learn important skills, bond with each other and benefit from the constant attention and support of a community of diabetes role models. This year, at least one pediatric endocrinologist, diabetes educators, 10 volunteer CITs, (counselors in training, most of them teenagers who themselves are Berrie Center patients with T1D) and a host of Berrie Center staffers were on hand each day to lend support.
“The program included some of our youngest patients, who were excited to finally be old enough to attend camp,” said Berrie Center Co-Director Robin Goland, MD, the J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes, “as well as our older CITs, some of whom had been campers themselves, all supporting each other and making new friends. And, I was so happy to see how many people at the Berrie Center joined in to help make the week a meaningful experience for our patients.”
In addition to the daily special events, other highlights from the week included the annual tour of the research labs, this year led by graduate students Danielle Baum and Mike Zuccaro and completed with a liquid nitrogen experiment by research scientist Charles LeDuc; A clever hand-made campfire (with logs made out of cardboard) by Cara Lampron, Coordinator of the Berrie Center Therapeutic Arts program that worked as a centering point for each day; An appearance or two by Pushkin, the Berrie Center’s very own therapy pup; A special session called “Ask the Doctor,” where the kids submitted their very interesting questions in advance (i.e. what’s the highest blood sugars you have ever seen?) and the camp finale, the first ever Summer Fun talent show, complete with singers, a gymnast, a poem on living with diabetes, a beatboxer and a karate routine.
Special thanks go out to the 2018 Summer Fun organizers, Cara Lampron, and Pediatric Coordinator, Kindra Matthews, who worked out every detail of each hour of the program in advance to ensure the seamlessness of the week. And much appreciation for our patients, board members and supporters who every year make new, exciting venues available (like the Modern) to our campers in unique ways.
Added Dr. Goland, “The Summer Fun Program reminds me of what is so special about the Berrie Center. Everyone goes above and beyond to help make our patient’s lives better, and I am so grateful for that.”
The Summer Fun Program is offered to families free of charge and is made possible by gifts from the many generous friends of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. To support the 2019 Summer Fun Program please click here.