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[IP] support groups...some ideas

Hi Brian,

We have a great parent support group in our area, and it took some
thought and work to keep it going.  I must admit to not attending much
lately as it almost always coincides with another meeting, but it was a
sanity saver when Erica was first diagnosed.  Good for you to try to get
this going.

It was almost always split into two parts.  The parents had a learning
day, while the kids had a fun day.

The Canadian Diabetic Assoc. office was next door to a YMCA so the kids
were often allowed to swim there at minimum cost.  Camp Counselors or
CIT's (counselors in training- they are all diabetic) would come for the
meeting and take the kids next door for a 1 1/2 hr swim, with a few
parents along as well.  This was what usually happened during the

When the kids didn't go swimming however, other activities would be
organized.  There is a science teaching group in our area called 'Weird
Science' and they would come and do lots of cool science things with the
kids.  This was one of their special events.  Again the Counselors and
CIT's were a wonderful 'crowd control' resource.  This appealed to kids
of ALL ages.

A sports day was another thing they would have.  The gym would be set up
with floor hockey, basketball nets, etc., counselors and CITs would be
there, but as usual an adult would supervise.

A magician was also a visitor.  Kids of all ages liked him too.

In the summer a picnic day would be organized at a local beach.

An added bonus of this, was that most of these counselors, CITS, and
kids would be meeting at camp in the summer.  Having met a few times and
having fun together, it took away some of the uncertainty of camp.

In general, a party atmosphere prevailed for the kids, while the parents
had time to learn new things, support each other (this was all pre-pump
for us by the way), share recipes and how to convert them to figure out
carbs,  speak to people who were working on 'the cure' (very exciting),
have a dietitian give great advice and information, the peds endo came
in and took questions and really enlightened us, a child psychologist
talked to us about letting our children be children, while at the same
time teaching them responsibility and not expecting perfection (Loved
that one!), the CDE would come in to offer suggestions, and was open for
questions, some camp counselors came in to talk of the importance of
sending your children to camp (really terrific).  These young adults,
when younger, fought with their parents tooth and nail about going to
camp with a bunch of other diabetics and sat in front of all of us to
urge us to do the same thing to ours!  Obviously they found it very
beneficial in the long run because they became counselors :-)

About once a year there would be a 'company' day.  The company, we will
take Bayer for an example, would set up an afternoon of events for the
kids and parents.  They had tables set up with lots of information, free
blood kits for all the participants, recipe books, disposable cameras
for everyone so they could remember the day...etc etc etc.

Now that I have said all that....I think it is time to get back to the
support group meetings.  It won't be the same for us, as their issues
are quite different from ours now, but the camaraderie was good for the
kids and adults.

Hope I have helped in some way!

Barb....Erica's mom

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