Just One Of The Kids
When 10-year-old Ethan Phillips comes to Camp Hickory Hill, he's just one of the bunch.
"We do CSI safari, arts and crafts, and swimming," Ethan said.
All the campers here work to manage their diabetes - something you don't see many other places. When you're the only one testing for blood sugar at lunch, it can be uncomfortable.
"There tends to be a stigma attached to diabetes with kids, " Executive Director Ken Luraas said.
The camp pushes kids to manage their disease. A gift from the Cosmo Luncheon Club will help the camp re-furbish their pool.
"We want to teach kids to be healthy and active, and our pool is an integral part of that. For us, a pool is not a luxury," Luraas said.
Even the counselors at Hickory Hill manage diabetes or have a close experience with it.
"Here they're not different from anyone else. They're not in a starchy environment like a hospital room, and the pointers they get from counselors, like what needles to use, are from experience," camp physician Jason Holman said.
Ethan's dad, who helps out at camp each year, says Hickory Hill has done a lot for his family.
"It's taken a load of worry off our minds," Doug Phillips said.
The camp has allowed Ethan to become more independent and his dad looks forward to other things kids take for granted.
"Now he can go to sleepovers, Boy Scout Camp, and do all that without us there," Phillips said.
Right now Hickory Hill offers two weeks of camp to kids and teenagers. The staff hopes to expand the camp to a regional diabetes education center and will start looking at type 2 diabetes this fall, and how to help educate the community about it.
To contact Camp Hickory Hill, call (573) 449-8551.
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