Receiving a package from home is always a special treat for kids at overnight camp. Have a child attending diabetes camp this summer and wondering what you can send to show how much you care? Here are some tips from other parents—and kids!—for creating the perfect diabetes camp care package.

Encourage Sharing

“I try to pack items that encourage my kids to share and have fun with their fellow campers. In the past, I’ve included playing cards and a set of dice with notes on games to play with them, packages of temporary tattoos to share, business cards with my kids’ contact info to give to new friends, and a white pillow case with colorful permanent markers so their new friends could sign it and draw pictures on it as a keepsake. Now that they’re a little older, this summer I plan to send items that you might find in those photo booth set-ups, like mustaches on sticks, funny hats, big sunglasses, beads and boas—along with a disposable camera. I have a feeling this care package will be a hit!”

—Tina, Seattle, blogger at StickWithItSugar.com and mom of 14-year-old “Sweetstuff,” 12-year-old “Middles,” and 10-year-old “Sugarboy” (each of whom has type 1)

Use What You’ve Got

“Look around your own home for things that you might already have and can send to camp. Extra school supplies, leftover bubbles, nail polish, small games, a Frisbee, or a jump rope—all make for fun things to do with friends while at camp. After I gather together enough of these little treasures, I tuck in a card and add a colorful ribbon to close the box.”

—Amy, Ann Arbor, Mich., blogger at NaturallySweetSisters.com and mom of 11- and 14-year-old daughters with type 1

Send a Little Taste of Home

“My favorite care package was a big box of chocolate chip cookies my mom and little sister made. I knew exactly what it was when I walked in, because the whole cabin smelled like our kitchen at home. I’m glad they sent a lot of cookies! Not every kid receives a care package, so it’s nice when parents add extras for us all to share. My mom even included the carb count for each cookie. Only at diabetes camp…”

—Zachary, 17, Portland, Ore.

Make the Package Part of the Package

“One fun way I’ve found to make a care package serve double duty is to pack the goodies I’m sending to my daughter in one of those pretty photo boxes you can buy at the craft store. I add a little note telling her to keep the box and use it to store her ribbons and pottery and other camp mementos. She always comes home with it stuffed full. We add a label to the front with the year and then put the box in the top of her closet. It’s a fun and easy way to preserve all her amazing memories from diabetes camp. By the way, she’s now a counselor, but I still send care packages—and they are still appreciated!”

—Liz, Bryn Mawr, Pa., mom of 17-year-old Erica

Get Glowing Reviews

“I love my mom’s care packages, and so does the entire camp! She sends me a big box of glow sticks that we use to play ‘glow tag’ on one of the last nights of camp. It’s become a tradition. People start asking me about the glow sticks on the first day of camp!”

—Abigail, 14, Lebanon, N.H.

If You Must Send Supplies…

“Our son attends a two-week overnight diabetes camp. About halfway through, I send extra strips and new batteries for his meter—just in case. However, along with the diabetes supplies, I always make a point of adding a few pictures from home, snacks, a favorite book or other personal items, and a letter from all of us. I want his care package to let him know how much we care, not just about his diabetes, but about him.”

—Brenda, San Francisco, mom of 12-year-old Matt

Send Early (and Often!)

“My son’s first year at a weeklong diabetes camp, I dropped him off on Saturday and mailed his care package—comic books, card games, and plenty of snacks—on Monday. But he didn’t receive it until Thursday after lunch when mail was distributed. I picked him up on Saturday morning, and we ate the rest of the snacks on the car ride home. The lesson I learned? For shorter camp sessions, think about sending the package one or two business days before your child leaves for camp, depending on how far away the package must travel. That way all those items you so carefully packed will actually have a chance to be enjoyed!”

—Louanne, Portland, Ore., mom of 17-year-old Zachary

Here’s another care package that may be coming your child’s way this summer: The Lilly Camp Care Package initiative provides kids at diabetes camps with a rugged backpack filled with fun and informative educational resources related to type 1 diabetes. First started in 2001, the program is in place in diabetes camps across the United States. Click here for more info.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.

Related topics:
In the Spotlight: Diabetes Camp
People in the Know: Reluctant Campers
Kids Reveal: Why I Love Diabetes Camp

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