Camp Joslin

rated by 0 users
This post has 1 Reply | 2 Followers

Not Ranked
Posts 1
dson135 Posted: Thu, Apr 14 2011 4:52 AM

I have a 7, almost 8 year old son who is eager to attend Joslin this summer after hearing about it from our overnight babysitter (who is herself type 1, a nurse, and has a sister with type 1- they both began attending Barton at the age of 6).  


We would only send him for the 5 day "mini" session for the first time, and the diabetes management is not my main concern.  I have had friends of my older daughters send their boys to camp and had  issues with the male staff "innappropriatly touching" the campers.  I understand most of the staff are past campers and almost all have type 1, but with the shift in Barton now owning Joslin and the camp director resigning as of Monday I am a bit weary about how all this is monitored and how things like this can be prevented- I know this probably sounds paranoid, but since we have experienced it in our children's school and with good friends (we live in Manhattan and have 5 children, our child with diabetes being the youngest) it just seems to always be on the back of my mind.


I am wondering if any Joslin Diabetes Center staff can give me feedback on camp as well as any parents who children have attended- both positive and negative feedback are welcome, I know nothing is perfect.


I know the camp was often staffed by Joslin physicians who volunteered for a week or so at a time, is this is correct or have they stopped volunteering once the center did not want to be responsible/affiliated with the camp anymore?  Any information I can be given would be great.



Top 150 Contributor
Posts 5

We recognize that every parent who sends a child to camp has misgivings about whether anyone who doesn’t know their child can adequately care for him or her. The child with diabetes must live with the burden of being different; of needing constant attention from parents, teachers, coaches, etc. One of the ways that may ease that burden is specialized diabetes camp, where friendships develop, and for short periods of time he/she is not “the only one” but “one of many” – where diabetes is the norm. Thus these specialized camps, of which Camp Joslin is one of the oldest, have existed to benefit children and youth by educating, listening, and supporting them in trying new things. These are the reasons that parents continue to send their children to diabetes camp and the reasons that children often beg to return.


To answer your questions specifically:

-         In 17 years as Camp Medical Director, I have known of no complaints of “inappropriate touching” either from campers or parents. I note that you did not specify Camp Joslin when you asked the question, so hope that this was a more general concern, perhaps based on recent news articles. Our staff is trained in precamp to avoid any situation that might lead to misunderstanding; a camper is never alone with a staff member, insulin shots or pump site changes are not done behind closed doors; all staff members, even if they have worked with us previously, are appropriately screened prior to coming to camp. In addition, campers are never left alone, in order to avoid unobserved hypoglycemia. A buddy system is in place and enforced.

-         The Barton Center had in fact been managing both camps for 3 years prior to purchasing Camp Joslin, and gradually merged training, medical policy, and program development. Medical staffing (doctors and nurse practitioners) is still largely from Joslin pediatrics. Nursing staff come from all over and are trained on site before campers arrive. For many, it is not their first time working at the camp.

-         We are disappointed that our Camp Director is leaving. This occurred for personal and family reasons; he was not asked to leave. Barton Center is actively working on putting someone with experience in place before the summer sessions, and there is an experienced staff already under contract so that we can be up and running smoothly from the first day.

-         Negatives? Some of the younger kids are just too homesick – staff are trained in ways to help and senior staff may be called upon to help decide if it is right to continue the camp experience in some cases. Blood sugars may run higher than at home as we are very cautious about the effect of sustained exercise and hypoglycemia. Also, some activity decisions are made by the cabin group, so we sometimes hear from a child who didn’t get his chosen activity, especially during the short sessions.

-         Positives: experienced, enthusiastic program staff (many were themselves campers) who know that they are held up as examples. Training and ongoing communication among medical and program staff, mutual support; regular communication with families via e-mail, web pictures, phone calls, and much more.



I hope that this addresses your questions. You are welcome to call the Barton Center at 508-987-2056 for more information. And I hope that we get to meet your son and help him to enjoy his first camp experience.

- Alyne Ricker, MD, Staff Physician, Joslin Diabetes Center

Page 1 of 1 (2 items) | RSS