All about my experience throughout my first dietetic internship rotation as a camp counselor for a type 1 Diabetes Camp! Tips for children with Type 1 Diabetes included at end.
My first dietetic internship rotation is DONE, and my second one un underway! As promised, I wanted to share with you guys my experience and things I learned from it, so I hope you like this non-recipe post! If you’re following me on instagram or snapchat (Sarah_Grace11), you probably have seen some of what I’m going to talk about 🙂
For my first “community” focused one, I decided to be a camp counselor for a type 1 Diabetes Sports Camp for high school kids. Wow, let me just say, they tell you that it is the most exhausting week BUT the most rewarding week of your life. And they were right. They were all calling me mom by day 3.
I was placed in a cabin with 10 high school girls, and throughout the week, I was able to get to know them all on such a personal level. From every meal together, to playing a different sport for hours at a time each day together, to all our late nights staying up, hunting down cockroaches with fabreeze and brooms, and performing “chinese yoga” (don’t ask haha), this truly was such a rewarding week.
You truly realize what you take for granted every day with experiences like this. These kids have to count every single carb/sugar they eat (so track EVERYTHING), something I never thought twice about when I was younger…and then check their blood sugars through finger pricks multiple times a day, correcting themselves with either insulin if they’re high, or snacks and juices if they’re low. Going a day without thinking about these things, isn’t an option for them. Never take anything for granted. But all in all, they are normal kids just like all the other high school kids out there, with hilarious sense of humors and passions to do great things.
For a typical day now: We were up by 7 to get ready/check blood sugars and be at breakfast by 8am, then left on buses to play our first sport of the day, would have lunch on the road around noon, then play our second sport of the day, then come back to the cabins to shower and get ready for dinner, then after dinner we would have some kind of night activity like bowling, roller skating, or going to the Rays game, and then I’d come back to do paperwork and eat tons of candy with the other counselors until 3 am 🙂 JAM packed day I might say.
But the other counselors made it SUPER fun as well, with us all having to stay up till about 3am every night to do paperwork and check blood sugars, there were a ton of candy raids and hilarious photos taken during the wee hours of the night.
My greatest take aways and lessons from this dietetic internship rotation?
- They kids were just NORMAL kids, who happen to also have type 1 diabetes. I hate to see people treat them “different” or like they have some unfortunate disease.
- The quote: “I greater than my highs and my lows” — WOW, such meaning after this week. When seeing this tattoo on one of my girl’s, I instantly fell in love with it. Read my caption about my thoughts on it all HERE if you didn’t see my instagram post 🙂
- I miss all my sport playing days of soccer and basketball and everything in between! Each day we were gone ALL day, playing a few sports each day, and man, I was EXHAUSTED by the end (especially because of staying up until 3am each night to do paperwork/check blood sugars of my girls). But it was SO fun. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, kickball, marital arts… you name it, we played it during that week!
- EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or not, you can live a normal life, enjoying all foods. BUT anything in excess, no matter who you are, isn’t good. Whether it’s food or anything else, almost nothing when taken to an extreme or consumed in excess, is good.
Tips for Type 1 Diabetic Kids
- Find a reason to WANT to keep your blood sugar in control.
- Ex: I am motivated to keep my blood sugar in control to ________ (to be less stressed, to live a happier life, to feel better, to accomplish my academic/career goals, ect)
- Check your blood sugar often.
- It may seem excessive at times, but more is ALWAYS better than less in this situation
- Figure out what foods are specifically best and worst for your blood sugars over time, and stick to the good stuff!
- yes, you can eat most foods in moderation; but you should be wise in your decisions for the most part if you want to feel good and be in control of your diabetes
- Identify your own “landmines” (things that typically end you up not feeling well and your blood sugar either super high or low) and “bright spots” (things that make you feel good and help your blood sugar). What can you do more or less of?
- Instead of asking WHY this happened to you or why you seem to always “mess up” or other negative thoughts having to do with your diabetes, think of HOW you can use this for the good, what you have been doing well about your condition so far, and what good it has already brought into your life or others’ lives? 🙂
Now, I’m in week 1 of my second rotation for my dietetic internship which is the food service focused one! But I got a good deal doing it with the Minnesota Twins’ dietitian, who does both the food service side and the sports side 🙂
So many amazing experiences and lessons already!
until next time,
xo Sarah Grace