Who Says Little Kids Should Have All the Fun?

There is no doubt that camps are an educational and fun experience for kids with diabetes. But what about the big kids? Diabetes camps for adults age 17 and older do exist, and like camps for kids offer similar experiences.

One such camp, Camp DAVI (Diabetes Association of the Virgin Islands) located in St. John, Virgin Islands, is a week-long experience for adults with diabetes who like to exercise. Camp DAVI offers beautiful rustic accommodations at Lamshure Bay on St. John in the National Park.

According to camp director Stephen Prosterman, campers stay in “simple cabins” and sleep in comfortable beds.

“There is a women’s and men’s shower and bathroom near the cabins,” says Prosterman.

Scuba Diving, Hiking, Running, Sailing, Windsurfing, Sea Kayaking and Snorkeling

Camp DAVI is the first adventure camp to incorporate Scuba diving along with hiking, running, sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking and snorkeling for adults young and old with diabetes.

Prosterman says attendees meet at the St. Thomas airport and are taken to the site by boat. The site is sprinkled with great trails for hiking or running right. The beach is only a short walk away.

“We are very active throughout the day,” says Prosterman. “We have a morning activity: diving, hiking, sailing and kayaking followed by lunch, then a different afternoon activity.”

Education in the Evening

Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and after dinner and clean up, attendees have discussions on the boat at the dock for an hour or two.

“We talk about the activities and diabetes education at the evening discussions,” says Prosterman, who says with all the activities done at the camp, good blood-glucose control is imperative. “Participants usually end up doing 12 to 15 blood tests per day. In doing this, participants learn that knowing what their blood sugar is and where it is going, can give them the freedom to Scuba dive and safely participate in other physical activities. Without this knowledge they could not otherwise safely take part in many of the activities.”

In the evenings, the camp offers education, support and discussions. Camp DAVI staff includes site doctor Doren Fredrickson from the Kansas University School of Medicine, as well as Prosterman who is the diving and field supervisor for the University of the Virgin Islands.

“We have a great active time and everyone comes away learning a lot about themselves and making new meaningful friendships,” he says.

‘One of the Highlights of My Life’

Ruth Sweet of Wisconsin is one person who attended Prosterman’s camp, calling it, “One of the highlights of my life.” Sweet attended Camp DAVI in August 1999 and achieved her Scuba certification.

“All of us stretched our abilities and learned a lot from each other,” she says.

The dates of this year’s camp are August 1 to 8. The cost for the week is $900 including food, lodging and all gear.

Non-diabetic family members are welcome at $100 off the regular price. Scuba certification during the camp can be arranged for an additional $275.

Prosterman says only a maximum of 15 persons are accepted in order to keep the quality of instruction and safety at a premium.

For more information or an application for Camp DAVI, you can email Prosterman at sproste@uvi.edu.

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