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  • Writer's pictureJill Kietzke

Camp perspective, from a true diabetes warrior

With permission, I am sharing a very special perspective from a colleague and friend. Find the original post here:


It's a powerful button to press for yourself. Or so they say. It was a tough week away from my boys but with the help from my village and the peace that encompasses me when I'm at Lions Camp, it was a successful week.

My goal for this week was to give the campers the best camp experience, just like I got all those years ago. This place has always brought peace to my soul but this year was different. This year I left 2 babies and a hubby at home. This year I cried before I even got to camp because I didn't think I'd be returning again. How could I? How could I continue to be so selfish taking a week away? This year was different. It touched my soul in ways I never thought possible. When I passed that lion on my way through the gates, I was reminded of a part of me. I was reminded of what makes me, me. This year was different and it was difficult but I needed it now more than ever.

Camp has an amazing power to take a disability and change it into the ability to see life through a different lens. Disabled people are often told they can't do something but when given the opportunity to see you are able to accomplish something, it really provides growth.

I was told twice at the end of the week that I'm a badass. Apparently because I left my 4 month old at home (in capable hands) while I went to camp, I have become some sort of wonder woman (She is what comes to mind when I think "badass"). I seriously laughed out loud when I heard this because that could not be farther from the truth. It couldn't be farther from how I have felt and viewed myself lately.

This reset button couldn't have come at a better moment. 4 months. It's about the time I stooped into a hole of post partum depression with my first and for different reasons, it was creeping in recently with my second. While I did get my reset, it wasn't really why I left my children at home with my husband. I needed this week in order to give back to the place that has filled me with love for not only myself but also for my disease.

Someone asked me this question this week "What's the best part about being a diabetic (person living with diabetes)?"

Without hesitation I answered "WI Lions Camp."

I left for camp to make each and everyone of the kids feel special not because they are diabetic but rather because they are rocking out on a mountain that can seem too high some days. It is my hope for the kids who walk through those gates now, to be able to have that same answer as me to the question above. Camp was the first place I felt "normal" and for that I will be forever grateful. To some looking in I might seem like a "badass" but to me, I am simply doing what is best for me. For me, that's keeping something so important a part of my life so that I get to come home to be the best mom that I can be for my boys. Don't be afraid to hit your reset button, even if it defies a bit of gravity.

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