Diabetes Camp and UNLIMITED (carbs)

We just got back from a week of diabetes family camp and the kids had a great time, were utterly filthy for 75% of the time, and ate an ungodly amount of carbs – and without the benefit of looping with openAPS, because there’s no internet at camp. We don’t try to limit Samson’s intake but practically speaking he eats about 80 to 100g of carbs a day. As an example, he ate TWO cinammon rolls that were 56 g each, plus a glass of milk, for one day’s breakfast. And there were nighttime snacks (read desserts) every single night and Samson had every single one. We basically let Samson eat whatever he wanted, even when it sounded like a gross, obscene amount of food to us. And then we sent him off with counselors who were responsible for managing blood sugar levels for seven or eight T1D four- to six-year-olds.
Anyways, he actually had very in-range blood sugar the whole time, despite the crazy, linebacker-amounts of food he was packing away. I’m not sure why exactly; it could have been the alttiude (about 7,000 feet) or the activity levels (lots of running around, swimming, sports). Either way, we tell ourselves that Samson is unlimited but this was a great experiment to see what happens when he’s not only unlimited within the limited confines of our family culture, but in the wider world as well. It also validated some of our ratios (carb ratios, basals, etc.).
Here’s a tracing from his best day, which was the first full-day he was at camp:


Wow, those are awesome numbers! Glad Samson and you guys had a blast and it’s all the better when you can can do it all with amazing numbers.

Really glad he had a good time at camp. My son has made lifelong friends at camp that truly understand him. Can’t say enough good things. That is amazing control considering the carbs he was eating!

@TiaG That’s awesome! I could run around the block three times and not be able to eat two cinnamon rolls without consequence.


Wow!!! It sure looks like the whole family enjoyed the experience and gained great insights.

I wanna go to camp!! :smiley_cat:


That sounds like a fantastic experience @TiaG!

I wonder if most of the kids who go to camp have good BG control?

Also, is there a camp for adults without kids?!? Because we might go. Sounded so fun!


YES! They do have an adults-only retreat, which I think sounds so awesome. I can imagine that all the burnout and other issues that teenagers face also affect adults – only they have even fewer automatic support systems than do teens.


well, I would guess that most kids don’t have good BG control at camp. Or rather, it depends. A lot of them are eating a lot more carbs, but they’re also a lot more active, which helps. And then many teens are “noncompliant” (ugh, that word) before they go to camp and being around other T1Ds motivates them to take better care of their diabetes. Plus someone is checking them and delivering insulin for their meals; we heard some horror stories about teens who wouldn’t check their BG at all during the day and wouldn’t bolus for most meals. So some might actually have better control because others are doing those things for them.
I would guess kids who maintain very tight control on their own see it slip a little usually, though.

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I know people are probably tired of hearing me say it all the time. So I am glad you said it this time. Activity and exercise covers a multitude of food sins. :wink:


When I got training on my second pump in 2011, the CDE downloaded my bolus history. When she saw mine, she said that she often saw teenagers who would literally have a blank screen showing a week of no boluses. She said there were currently some teenagers admitted to the hospital we were in because their blood sugar was out of control. And at the time I had a coworker who had a teenage son who literally never bolused and his blood sugar would be crazy high almost constantly (he was on MDI). That just boggled my mind. Even as a teenager, I just can’t imagine not taking bolus insulin for a week at a time.

My niece’s best friend is T1D and 14 years old. She’s having major kickback to parental suggestions and her BG is often out of control. The sad thing is I think she wants to be in control, but then she goes to church camp for instance, and just checks out. I’m sure she’s one of those two bolus a week kids.

How to fix it? I don’t even know what to suggest.

I mean, I do. But I also don’t. And I think it needs to come from not-the-parents. Sigh.

It also doesn’t hurt that by forgetting the bolus insulin, she will stay skinny regardless of diet, a terribly unfortunate side effect of limiting insulin.