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Rainbow: Diabetes Summer Camp

Posted on September 20, 2018 | 1 Comment on Rainbow: Diabetes Summer Camp

The innocence of the child makes them beautiful. Their big, bright eyes have not yet been tainted with worldly things or burdened with worldly cares. But what if this innocence is dramatically cut short by diabetes? Does it mean the end of their youth? Can it blur their vision of a promising future?

As if to answer these questions, a camp which has lived up to its name, has been helping juvenile diabetics reach that coveted pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.

Rough start for a noble cause

According to camp director, Dr. Elizabeth Ann E Catindig, the diabetes camp started in the Philippines way back in 1982. She relates that after 10 years of camping, they have reported on their experience to the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies.

Despite the camp’s mission to help kids afflicted with diabetes cope with the challenge of their disease, the camp found itself groping for its niche. “In the earlier years, the parents would come together to raise funds for the camps. But sometimes due to insufficient funding, there were years where we couldn’t hold the Camp,” she shares.

But due to its growing popularity, Dr. Catindig says that instead of the usual week-long camp, they hold day camps rather than having no camp at all. “It’s an in-and-out type of camp. And the venue would be somewhere near or before we had it at the Lung Center,” she says.

One for the kids

“Rainbow Camp was organized around 1998, with a group of nurses, doctors, and dietitians coming together to establish it,” Dr. Catindig says. “We started calling it Rainbow Camp because at that time there were other camps around already.” It officially became Rainbow Camp, late in 1999, when all the papers had been settled. Camp organizers also formulated an acronym to help focus the camp’s goals and objectives:

Recreational and educational Activities for

IDDM (Type 1) and

NIDDM (Type 2) for

Building

Opportunities for

Wholistic wellness

And since Rainbow Camp isn’t the only camp that caters to children with diaetes aged 7-17 years old, the Camp has been revolving its activities around specific objectives, to set them apart from the others. Dr. Catindig says that the Camp has three objectives—survival, to prevent complications, and to improve the quality of life of the children.

However, Dr. Catindig noticed something else among their campers which raised red flags among the camp organizers.

“The kids have been okay, but among us who organized the camp, we find a lot of our children bumming around. They feel like they don’t have any sense of direction,” she laments.

To give priority to this issue Dr. Catindig has added this to the Camp’s agenda. “We have to make these kids feel that diabetes shouldn’t stop them from achieving or from becoming who they want to be. So basically that has been our battlecry,” she explains.

Aside from boosting their self-confidence, other topics that are discussed in the Camp are: blood glucose monitoring, self-adjustment of insulin and medication, sick day and travel guidelines, meal planning, exercise management, and diabetic emergencies.

Making diabetes education fun “The main objective is to give education in a pleasurable environment, where the kids do not notice that they are already being educated,” Dr. Catindig shares. “We give education through behavioral modification activities. That is why I am so impressed with our nurses and dietitians because they are the ones assigned to think up of activities that are appropriate for that afternoon’s topic.”

To make every year’s camp something for the kids to look forward to, Dr. Catindig says that they follow a theme. “Basically we’re doing the same theme every year; we have the same goals, the same curriculum. But for the themes we already had Disneyland, but for this year, the theme would be superheroes,” she says with a laugh.

And also to make the Camp more accessible for both the kids and their parents, Dr. Catindig has made the date a big consideration. “We usually hold the Camp during Holy Week because that is the only time that the kids will be free, and it’s also the time that I can get volunteers,” she explains.

And to create the most conducive environment to educate the kids on diabetes, Rainbow Camp has been holding its sessions at the Jardin ni Lola in Bataan since 1998. Dr. Catindig says that it was really set-up for the diabetes camp. With Jardin ni Lola as their home base, the Camp has organized both indoor and outdoor activities for the kids which include arts and crafts, hiking, outdoor camping, swimming, and leadership training.

Where they are today

What Rainbow Camp is today is a far cry from their rough start. From looking for a place to hold the camp, to parents asking for funds, these problems seemed to have found their solutions. Getting the Jardin ni Lola for the Camp’s location, is something that Dr. Catindig has been eternally grateful for. However, it is through the kindness of the pharmaceutical companies and patients’ donations which help the Camp running, has been the biggest blessing for the Camp.

However, the rightful measurement of the Camps achievements is the hundreds of juvenile diabetics they have helped since they first began. To a lot of these children, Rainbow Camp is their refuge from their constant struggles to find their identity, boost their confidence, and of course balance that with their diabetes management. To this, Dr. Catindig says that they make sure that their activities help to meet these needs.

She says that in 1997, she conducted a study among the Camp goers comparing their diabetes control before and three months after the Camp. “I have this feeling that after a year their diabetes management would not be as good as when they got out of camp. That’s why we conduct the camp yearly because they have to understand that they have to be responsible,” she explains. “We encourage the kids to come back the next year so they would sustain that high in managing their diabetes.”

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Comments:1

  1. 14/06/06

    I am a 13 yr old type 1 diabetic living in Bustos, Bulacan. I found the Rainbow Camp interesting, please tell me how can i join in this organization.

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