As part of our dedication to improving the quality of life for kids with diabetes and their families, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals and UCSF Medical Center have partnered with Diabetes Youth Families (DYF), a Northern California organization whose mission was inspired by a UCSF doctor almost a century ago. Among that partnership’s many benefits is the opportunity for our young patients to attend DYF’s Bearskin Meadow Camp. One of the oldest wilderness camps for children living with diabetes, Bearskin is located in Sequoia National Forest, about 65 miles east of Fresno, California.
Throughout the summer, many UCSF patients between the ages of 7 and 17 participate in the camp, whose staff includes members of the UCSF pediatric diabetes care team. Dr. Stephen Gitelman, director of UCSF’s pediatric diabetes program, has spent two to three weeks every summer at Bearskin Meadow Camp for more than a decade. He also attends camp conferences and fundraising events throughout the year.
Camps for young kids and teens
DYF offers specialty camp programs aimed at different age groups, so kids can connect with their peers.
A diabetes specialist lives at the camp during the summer and oversees a volunteer team of doctors, nurses, dietitians, diabetes educators, social workers, nursing students and medical students, all of whom care for campers and their families. The team checks everyone’s blood sugar before each meal or snack and as needed throughout the day. Each camper's insulin dose is adjusted according to activity level and carbohydrate intake.
Recognizing that diabetes affects the whole family, Bearskin Meadow offers several one-week family camp sessions each summer. There are also family retreats in spring and fall focused on support and education, as well as fun activities, such as archery, swimming and art.
DYF uses a pricing system designed to make the camp programs accessible to all, regardless of income, as well as to encourage financial support from families who can afford it. Siblings under age 3 are free. Scholarships and transportation are available. For more information about DYF camps, visit www.dyf.org, call (925) 680-4994, or email [email protected].