New Outward Bound Program for kids with T1D

My 12 year old was diagnosed in the fall, and for me one of the saddest things was how his diabetes could restrict him from the wilderness activities and extended trips that I have always hoped would be part of my kids’ lives. I led trips in my 20’s and strongly believe in their value, especially in kids formative teen and young adult years. While he is signed up for a great sounding diabetes camp (Gales Creek), I was sad that the camp in northern WI that I love and worked at is not prepared for kids with T1d.

I did a ton of searching and came across this new course put on by Outward Boumd. It looks fantastic. Outward Bound has a stellar reputation. I called, and they would like to see the program expand to other Outward Bound locations over the next years. I hope it is still there when my kiddo is 2 years older and qualifies!

Check it out and do spread the word.

The Maine ADA has annual gatherings for families, and in 2011, the featured speaker was a 18-year-old who'd completed an Outward Bound program in Washington state. He had to work with the clinic and prove he could self-manage before the program would allow him to participate, and he had to train all of the kids in the program with him about what to do if they found him symptomatic, but he completed the program without any major incidents.

There are a few things like this, I think Joslin has one also. But I agree with you! More opportunities would be fantastic. We do outdoor adventures as a family (and 2 of us have type 1), like multi-day canoe trips, etc., but even trying to figure that out can be a challenge. I would like more general resources, like how to go backcountry camping w/diabetes... do you keep food in your tent overnight in bear country or hang it in a tree where it's really hard to get?? (I keep some in the tent). How do you deal with the temperature/insulin issues, how do you deal with things like 3 days of rain and high humidity that can prevent a meter from functioning, etc. Some online resources would be great for this, even without having to go to a program.

I agree. I was looking at BWCA discussion boards, and searching for “diabetes”. One guy mention he tapes a spare vial and syringes under his canoe’s thwart. I loved that idea. I think the advantage of doing an outward bound course like this is that you walk away with all the tools and confidence without having to be the only one the trip dealing with it. We know to pump water or boil it before we drink it and it is part of the trail routine…but do we know how often to check blood glucose levels when paddling? Right- and how do you keep your meter happy? I would love him to know he can push himself on a fun and challenging trip…and experience the freedom of the wilderness.

I would keep the food in the tent, too. No other way I can think of! I wonder if something like sealed quicksticks in an unused Nalgene bottle would work?

How old are your kids? Where do you adventure to?

this really does sound interesting, my son is loathe to even consider a diabetes camp, we havent really considered it either based on his personality and preferences, but this sounds like some good life building, as we as diabetes confidence building in a fun supported way! we love to hike and adventure, jacob longs more for the west than alabama, all i can think of is the heat, humidity and bugs, yes i love the outdoors but.... jacob also hates the heat! we recently switched over to the joslin clinic in boston and his doc is a big advocate for camps and adventures, i think they do offer some for hiking in new england, thanks for putting this thought back into my head i think it would be soooo awakening for him i would feel more comfortable obviously having him trek off with experts, and time without mom would be good for him! i read up a bit on your page sounds like we have similar view, hope all is well in your neck of the woods! amy

I agree that Alabama in the summer sounds like a place to avoid, but I don’t really know the area. Outward bound trips always have a challenge element- they are not always fun at every moment…but the kids walk away with more than we could ever imagine.

Let me know if you know any other programs as you check around. My son is super reticent to do new programs- he is not very sporty. I am thrilled he is willing to try diabetes camp. I wish I could send him off for more than one week this summer.