What do you do for Camp Hendon?
In August 2020, I joined the Camp Hendon team as the Fund Development Manager. In this role, I manage the camp development programs, which consist of fundraising, donor retention, and communications. I make sure that our annual financial goals are being met through our community's generosity and support. My job is to let the world know how much Camp Hendon means to children (and adults!) with Type 1 Diabetes.
Before you joined the Camp Hendon staff, what was your volunteer role at camp?
What made you decide to volunteer at Camp Hendon, and how long did you volunteer?
After 10 summers as a camper, I was beyond excited to work alongside the counselors who impacted my life. I started volunteering as a CIT (counselor in training) when I was 18 years old. I could not envision a summer without camp once I "grew up," and I have been a volunteer ever since.
Why did you come back to volunteer year after year? What do you get from camp, or how has it impacted your life?
Camp is home for me. There is no other place that I can be completely myself... messy, fun, and a little wild! Camp taught me how to do practical diabetes management (insulin injections, carb counting, low treatments), but most importantly, it has provided me with a place that I feel connected and welcomed no matter what. My "camp family" has seen me through all of life's highs and lows, and I hope to provide that guidance to other children with Type 1 Diabetes.
Why did you want to come work for Camp Hendon?
Camp truly is THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH! When I started my undergraduate degree, I knew that I wanted to work in a setting where I could watch individuals' lives being impacted through generosity and programs similar to camp. After spending some time in the development field, I knew I wanted to use my skills at a place that is near and dear to my heart. I guess the question should be, "Who would not want to work at Camp Hendon!"
What is your favorite activity at camp, and why?
Messy games! I love being able to let loose and have fun.
What are some things you have learned or taken away from camp?
Don't let your diabetes slow you down or define you completely. I learned that I could do just as much as any other kid. I was lucky to go through my camp years with the same group of people. Those friendships continue to this day, and we are just a phone call away, no matter what. Camp provided me with the same support group from the age of 7 to now (22 years later).
At what age were you diagnosed with diabetes?
I was 13 months old.
Favorite low treatment snack?
I love an ice-cold Coke!
What is hard for you? How do you manage it?
There are days when I am so tired after work and school that the last thing I want to do is deal with my diabetes. Occasionally I will let myself feel sad and bummed out, but I always remember that managing my diabetes is much easier than not managing my diabetes. I am also on the go ALL THE TIME, remembering to stop and take care of myself can be a challenge. There are times when I can't remember if I have taken my insulin, or I forget to check my sugar. I finally learned to set an alarm on my phone every few hours with a reminder.
Favorite tip for dominating T1D when you have diabetes burnout?
Lean on, jump at, fall into your support system. There have been several times where I felt like I just need a break from managing my diabetes, but I always remember my friends at Camp Hendon. They are always available to relate, talk sense into me, make an inappropriate diabetes joke (we all do it...it helps us survive!), or just listen. Just talking to my camp family reminds me that diabetes can't be all that bad...after all, it introduced me to these people!
Do you have any skills or talents that many may not know about you?
I am a dog whisperer!