How did you first get involved with Camp Hendon?
My Camp Hendon involvement goes all the way back to 1986 which was my first year as a camper. If I remember correctly, I was a camper for 7 years and then was on staff in various positions for 10 years, maybe a few more than that. I was first told about camp by my endocrinologist at the time, Dr. Michael Foster, who is on staff as a member of the board as well as the medical director. It was a fantastic idea and I am very grateful he recommended camp to me and encouraged that in my life at that time. I now live in North Carolina and have not been able to make it back with my work schedule and other obligations. Hopefully that will change soon!
What motivates you to stay involved with Camp Hendon?
My motivation to stay involved comes from my desire to assist with the mission statement. Having had diabetes for more than 35 years, you meet a lot of people and hear a lot of things - some of which are true and some of which are not. Camp Hendon is one of the most effective ways for individual impact so I do what little I can to help children understand they should never give in to having a "bad day " just because they have diabetes.
What does the Camp Hendon mission mean to you?
I believe that the mission is very important in trying to elevate children with diabetes in the greater Kentucky area. It is important to remember that children with diabetes are children first and diabetics second and not the other way around. In actuality, the correct way to state that would be they are children first and they happen to have diabetes just as they may happen to have brown hair or blue eyes. Camp Hendon supports this by allowing children to be kids first and not allow diabetes to hold anyone back in any way from doing anything they want to. It could be very easy for someone diagnosed with diabetes to feel like they are not able to do things because of that diagnosis. This is false. Diabetes is common enough to know people that have it but usually not common enough to have multiple children in the same class in school to have it. This can unfortunately create problems with feeling isolated and feeling different. Camp Hendon strives to make all children and all participants in the camp aware that diabetes is not something to hold anyone back nor should anyone feel "different "because of it. If children feel the opposite of this, they will not grow and progress and reach their potential which would be tragic.
What is one of your favorite camp memories?
Favorite camp memories? Here are a few.... Tajar Tales, "Is it your birthday today?" Camp dances (leave room for the Holy Spirit), camp songs (why don't you come along and sing... about land of the silver birch, some castles in Tovishka... dont forget the visuals!) Campfires, obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, battling the ant infestations, golf cart rides through the woods (don't forget to remove the Gerald so we can go faster...) Being on staff with my big brother. Hug that tree! Probably one of the greatest things is the smile you create on campers' faces when you have a fun time at camp, as well as the many meaningful friendships some of which I have had for more than 30 years through camp. And my memories would not be complete nor would I do it justice without mentioning this last...... Linger.
Why did you decide to start donating to Camp Hendon?
Being that I have not been to camp in over 10 years, there is this large void from not having any involvement with the campers or the staff. I value and support what camp is trying to accomplish so I tried to figure out what I could do to still be involved and help. Helping however I can with donating to the camp seems like the best way to be involved. I would rather be at camp but if I cannot be there, at least I can support in other ways.
What would you tell someone who is considering donating to Camp Hendon?
One of the many great things about supporting Camp Hendon is that you are not just a number donating to a large cause. There are many other wonderful things to donate to that need our help, however your donation to camp has an immediate impact on what is trying to be accomplished and the staff know that and communicate that with the people that donate. It is nice to know that you aren't just a number on the donation sheet but someone who really plays a role in what is going on. I would encourage anyone looking for a way to make a difference to consider donating to Camp Hendon. It benefits the campers as well as the staff in numerous ways and creates a lifetime of positive memories and encouragement that everyone benefits from. Donating your time, talent, and treasure not only creates opportunities and rewards for the entity you are donating to, it also benefits the person that is doing the donating. So help with the camp, campers, staff, and yourself by helping a worthy cause. It will make your heart happy!
What do you do when you aren’t supporting Camp Hendon?
Work takes up a lot of my time, but when not working I enjoy spending time with my wife and our children. We enjoy traveling as well as spending time on the lake in the summer. I used to play ice hockey at a local adult league but then I got old. Thinking about dusting off the equipment for another try at that.
The question EVERYONE wants to know…when are you coming back?!
When am I coming back?.... Tough to say. My girls are going to be 9 and 10 by the time camp rolls around next summer. If they are now old enough and the schedule works, I would love to bring them. If not this year, hopefully next. I will have to see if I can find several pairs of colored tube socks for the week. Are you all sure you want me back on staff? Likely will have an unprecedented amount of tree hugging. Hope the forest is big enough!
Anything else you would like to add?
For several years my brother was on staff and came to camp with me. His pancreas works, 100% of it, but he came to support me and the other campers and staff. Anyone that was there when he came will tell you that we had an absolutely fantastic time and he was one heck of a fun counselor! If I was to ask for anything from camp, it would be for those to reach out and to encourage him to come back on staff. You won't be sorry and he won't be sorry, trust me!
"Check your blood sugar...check it often.
There’s no reason not to."
-Wilford “The Walrus” Brimley