About Camp Hendon



The mission of Camp Hendon is to give children with diabetes life-changing experiences, empowering them to take control of their journey with diabetes.


Camp Hendon plans and operates an all-volunteer week long residential camping program for approximately 150 children with diabetes between the ages of 8-17.

Camp Hendon looks forward to providing additional programming opportunities, such as a Family Retreat Weekend and an additional summer camp week in eastern Kentucky.


  • To enable the camper to meet and live with other children with diabetes to foster the camaraderie of ongoing support.
  • To provide an enjoyable, recreational camping experience for children with diabetes in a healthy, medically supervised setting away from home.
  • To develop, enhance and increase diabetes management skills such as carbohydrate counting, self monitoring of blood glucose, pattern management, insulin action and self-administration of insulin.
  • To promote diabetes education as a resource for life to teach the camper that living with diabetes has no boundaries.
  • To enable the camper to better interact with health care professional in a comfortable non-clinical setting.
  • To offer parents a break from the daily concerns of raising a child with diabetes.


Over 300,000 people in Kentucky alone are living with diabetes. It impacts many lives, especially children.  Many of these children often struggle with feeling like they are alone and that no one understands what they are dealing with.  KYDCF and Camp Hendon exist to serve children with diabetes in Kentucky and the surrounding region.

A significant body of knowledge and research  exists to support the role that an organized camp experience plays in child social and identity development.  Dustin (1989) identifies the role of camping in which children become active members of a community and can see the connectedness of their actions and the consequences of their actions.  

This community development for a child with a chronic illness is important for psycho-social development, but also key to Camp Hendon is positive behavior-modeling and an equally important goal is to enable children with diabetes to meet and share their experiences with one another while they learn to be more personally responsible for their disease. 

For this to occur, a skilled medical, camping, and role-modeling staff must be available to ensure optimal safety and an integrated camping/educational experience that provides for the realistic practice of exercise, glucose, diet, and injection control in an authentic setting that emulate day-to-day living for youth (i.e., self-management). In addition, campers have formed meaningful friendships with others who are coping with the similar daily struggles of living with diabetes.

Statement of need for, and benefit of, a psycho-social program for children with diabetes in KY

Diabetes is considered to be one of the most psychologically and behaviorally demanding chronic illnesses facing adolescents (Cox & Gonder-Frederick, 1992). With no cure for diabetes on the immediate horizon, self-management has become the cornerstone of diabetes treatment (Mensing, et al., 2000). 

The ultimate goal for a youth diagnosed with diabetes is effective self-management combined with the support of parents, health-care professionals, and others that directly influence the youth’s decision on how to manage their illness (Schilling, Grey, & Knall, 2002). However, considerable evidence suggests non-adherence to appropriate maintenance and management regimens could be as high as 93% (Coates & Boore, 1998). 

Youth with poor self-management are at higher risk of diabetes-related complications that may lead to physiological, psychological, social, and societal problems.

Effective self-management has been shown to slow the onset and progression of health related complications (National Institute of Health, 2003) while increasing quality of life (Hoey, et al., 2001). Financial burdens have shown to be lessened by effective self-management. In 2002, the total annual economic cost of diabetes was estimated to be $132 billion or nearly 15% of health-care expenditures (American Diabetes Association, 2004).

Fortunately, the benchmark study by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Research Group (1993) demonstrated that any sustained lowering of blood glucose helps with the prevention of diabetes-related complications and secondary illnesses. In addition, Sheldon. Williams, and Joiner (2003) found that providing autonomy supportive environments assisted individuals with diabetes to better self-manage their illness.

In 2016, Jill Weissberg-Benchell of the Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago published the Diabetes Camp Matters study, which assessed families' views of their diabetes camp experience and outcomes. According to this study, "Parents and campers all report improved self-care skills after camp." Additionally, the study found that children who attend three or more week-long diabetes camping program experienced increased positive outcomes.


KYDCFC is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered with the IRS and with the Secretary of State in Kentucky. KYDCFC receives no funding from JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) or the ADA (American Diabetes Association).

Camp is supported through donations from people like you, and by foundations and some corporations. Two thirds of our revenues are from charitable giving; one third is from camp fees. 

The Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children, Inc. dba Camp Hendon is a tax-deductible charitable 501(c) nonprofit whose Tax ID is 27-3619275.

View our 2016 Annual Report here

View our GuideStar profile here

View our most recent 990 here