It’s officially summertime at the Berrie Center and that means it is time for the annual Berrie Summer Fun Program – a weeklong day camp for kids with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Now in its tenth year, this unique program offers the opportunity to experience outings at NYC landmarks, parks and museums as well as the opportunity to learn or refresh critical diabetes management skills. The kids also develop friendships in the shared experiences of being with other kids who have T1D. “The camp helps you feel like you’re not so different from everybody,” recalls Jennifer, a 2012 camper.
The Summer Fun Program starts at 9:30 each morning with a group glucose check. Everyone then boards a private bus and heads off into the city for the day. “These kids all have a story to tell,” says Jennie Preval Abbott, Outreach Coordinator at the Berrie Center who organizes the Summer Fun Program. “They all come to this day camp for a reason. This program is a lot of fun, but it also serves a unique purpose for each child.”
"The Summer Fun Program is completely funded by Berrie Center donors and is offered to families free of charge. Gifts from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Hannah and Ryan Barry Memorial Foundation, and many other generous Berrie Center supporters make this important program possible each year,” explained Robin Goland, MD, Berrie Center Co-Director
In addition to 25 campers, ages 8 through 12, ten counselors and five counselors-in-training—all T1D teens who receive their care at the Berrie Center—will be a part of the program this year. Five physicians, three diabetes nurse educators, a nutritionist and the Berrie Center’s Child Life Specialist will also join the kids. “We really get to know every camper,” says Jennie. “Each child receives a very high level of attention.”
This year, campers can look forward to trips to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Columbia University’s Tennis Center, the Central Park Zoo, and Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes.
A perennial favorite part of the week is a tour of the Berrie Center’s diabetes research laboratories where the kids get to see all the work going on behind the scenes to find treatments and cures for diabetes. Scientists provide a tour of their labs and conduct hands-on experiments with the campers.
“While the lab tour is great because it exposes the kids to the exciting research we’re doing on their behalf, I think it has an even greater impact on our scientists – it reminds us why we’re here.”Rudolph Leibel, MD
Berrie Center Co-Director
Reflecting on her experience at last year’s Summer Fun Program, Olivia, age 9, reported, “’I’ve made so many new friends!” Her mother agreed, adding, “It’s been really empowering for her to be around other kids [with T1D].”
The 2013 Berrie Summer Fun Program is now full. Check with your child’s Berrie Center endocrinologist for availability in next year’s program.
Click here to support the Berrie Summer Fun Program.