The History of Camp Hendon

Camp Hendon is a continuing project that began in 1965.  It was named for the late Dr. J. Robert Hendon who was the first endocrinologist in Kentucky.  Since 1965 Camp Hendon has served over 3000 children with diabetes in Kentucky and the surrounding region. For a number of years it operated without any professional staff fundraising support as an independent entity before becoming a sponsored program by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), who provided operational and administrative support to the volunteer board and volunteer staff.

In September of 2010, the ADA notified Camp Hendon’s Volunteer leadership that they were consolidating camping programs in Kentucky and other areas into a program at Camp Joy, in Clarksville, Ohio.  This change would dramatically affect the delivery of the camping service provided to the Kentucky region since 1965.  Following this decision, the founding volunteers formed an independent entity and incorporated as The Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children, Inc. dba / Camp Hendon.


2017: Camp Hendon hires our second paid employee, Megan Cooper, as executive director

2016: Camp Loucon: 131 campers enrolled (63M, 68F).  83 volunteer staff.

2015: Camp Hendon hires our first paid employee, Lori O’Bryant, to oversee daily administrative tasks and manage operations. Camp Loucon: 117 campers enrolled (59M, 58F).  88 volunteer staff.

2014: Camp Loucon: 114 campers enrolled (59M, 55F).  102 volunteer staff.

2013: Camp Loucon:  83 campers enrolled  (48M, 40F).  78 volunteer staff.

2012: Camp Hendon partners with Loucon Training and Retreat Center in Leitchfield, KY - our “New Home.” Camp Loucon hosts 67 campers (26M, 41F) and 50 volunteer staff.

2011: Camp Hendon holds our first camp session as Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children, Inc. - an unaffiliated public charity non profit 501(c)3 corporation of volunteers. Camp Hendon partners with the Center for Courageous Kids (CCK) in Scottsville, KY. Partnering with CCK allows us to continue our mission to enable campers to gain knowledge and skills to help with their lifelong journey with diabetes.

2010: No Camp. In May of 2010 Camp KYSOC, the host facility for Camp Hendon, is closed by the Kentucky Easter Seals. Camp Hendon has no choice but to cancel the 2010 session of Camp Hendon for only the second time in its history. In September 2010, Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children, Inc. is formed as a standalone organization separate from the ADA. KYDCFC/Camp Hendon receives non-profit, 501(c)3 Public Charity status on January 11, 2011.

2009: Camp Hendon is held at Camp KYSOC from July 25-31.

2008: Camp Hendon is held at Camp Crooked Creek in Shepherdsville, KY.

2003: Camp Hendon is canceled for the first time in its history when the host camp, Camp KYSOC, suffers a sewage line break and temporarily closes the facility.

1998 – 2002: Camp Hendon is held at Camp Crooked Creek in Shepherdsville, KY.

1997: The terms “insulin-dependent diabetes” (IDDM) and “non-insulin-dependent diabetes” (NIDDM) had long been used to describe different groups of diabetes patients. The terms type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are now accepted to define diabetes by cause rather than treatment. In addition, the fasting glucose level for diagnosing diabetes is lowered from 140 mg/dl to 126 mg/dl.1

1996: Lispro (a lysine-proline analog) is introduced by Eli Lilly and Company as the world’s fastest acting insulin.1

1995: Our host camp, Camp KYSOC, suffers a tragedy when a tree falls earlier in the summer before Camp Hendon’s week and a camper is killed. Part of the camp is shut down for the summer. Camp Hendon is able to host camp, but some campers are notified they can not attend due to limited capacity.

1993: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) showed that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible slows the onset and progression of eye, kidney, and nerve diseases caused by diabetes. In fact, it demonstrated that any sustained lowering of blood glucose helps, even if the person has a history of poor control.1

1989 - 1990: Camp Hendon is held at Camp Green Shores (Easter Seals Camp) in McDaniels, KY.

1989: American Diabetes Association releases its first Standards of Care to guide physicians in the treatment of diabetes.

Glucose is discovered to be distributed into muscle and fat cells via a transporter known as GLUT-4. Understanding how glucose is transported from the bloodstream into cells to be used as fuel is important to locating different drug targets that can improve insulin sensitivity.1

Camp in the News (May 1970)

1985 - 1988: Camp Hendon is held at Camp KYSOC (Easter Seals Camp) in Carrollton, KY.

1983 - 1984: Camp Hendon is held at YMCA Camp Piomingo in Brandenburg, KY.

1982: The FDA approves human insulin produced by genetically altered bacteria.1
Camp Hendon is held at Camp KYSOC (Easter Seals Camp) in Carrollton, KY.

1980: Introduction of the basal-bolus concept enabled "intensive insulin therapy" to be used in the clinic to effectively treat people with type 1 diabetes.1

1979: The National Diabetes Data Group develops a new diabetes classification system: 1) insulin-dependent or type 1 diabetes, 2) non-insulin-dependent or type 2 diabetes, 3) gestational diabetes, and 4) diabetes associated with other syndromes or conditions.1

1978: Portable insulin pumps are introduced and researchers achieve normal blood glucose levels in patients using them. But, due to their large size, they are impractical at this time.1

1977: Boston researchers develop a test to measure glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C). A1C testing becomes the gold standard for measuring long-term diabetes control.1

1976: The first insulin pumps were invented.1

Camp is held at camp Green Shores from July 12 - 24. Registration is managed by Norton Children’s Hospital Pediatric Department

1973: Camp is held at Camp KYSOC from June 10 - 22

1970: The Ames Company introduces the first glucose meter.1

Camp moves to Camp KYSOC and is held from August 9 - 22. Camp is renamed to James Robert Hendon Camp for Diabetic Children in honor of Dr. James Robert Hendon, a Louisville endocrinologist instrumental in founding the program in 1965. Camp is 13 days long according to news articles. Camp fee is $110 in 1970 which would be $663 in 2014 dollars counting for inflation.

1967: Camp is held at Camp Daniel Boone on the Kentucky River from August 6 - 19. Camp is co-ed for the first time during the same week. Camp is sponsored by the Kentucky Diabetes Association (Dr. Lewis Dickinson is KDA President and Dr. Robert J. Hendon is chair of the camp committee).  There are only 36 camps for children with diabetes in the U.S. at this time. The camp fee is $100 per child. Financial assistance is mentioned for first time in publication.

1966: The Kentucky Camp for Diabetic Children is first held at Camp Running Deer on Kentucky Lake.  The camp is two weeks long.  One week for boys 9-15 and the second week for girls 9-15.  32 children attend. Two physicians, two nurses, and an unknown number of dietitians attended the entire two weeks. The Jefferson County Lay Diabetes Society co-sponsors the camp.

1965: No documents/news can confirm this, but presumably the Kentucky Diabetes Association forms a committee chaired by Robert J. Hendon to develop a camp program for children with diabetes.

1964: The Ames Company introduces the first strips for testing blood glucose by color code.1

1961: Glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas that raises glucose levels, is introduced by Eli Lilly and Company as a treatment for severe hypoglycemia.1

1959: Using radioimmunoassay technology, Solomon Berson, MD and Rosalyn Yalow, PhD develop a method for measuring insulin in the blood. They notice that some people with diabetes still make their own insulin, and they identify “insulin-dependent” (type 1) and “non-insulin-dependent” (type 2) diabetes.1

1953: Tablets for testing urine glucose become widely available, and urine test strips appear over the next few years.1

1940: The American Diabetes Association is founded to address the increasing incidence of diabetes and the complications that develop from the disease.1

1923: Eli Lilly and Company begins commercial production of insulin.1

1910: English physiologist Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer's study of the pancreas leads him to the discovery of a substance that would normally be produced in non-diabetics: insulin.1

1 American Diabetes Association: “History of Diabetes.”