Being the only diabetic in my family and only having a few supporters, it was very important to find a group of people who understood diabetes. Instead, I found a lot more. I found a family. With this came a lot of leadership opportunities for me. I love leadership. It is important to show a role for the younger kids to follow who have diabetes. All they want is a role model and I wanted to be that for them while also bettering my confidence in myself. I have met some of the most amazing kids with amazing stories. Camp season is my favorite. All the campers are excited to be with other kids going through the same thing as them. They can be themselves and they get to learn while having fun. I love seeing their faces when they arrive at camp. I love seeing them light up when we sing a camp song. Another big reason that I love being a leader is so we can mold the leadership of tomorrow. I want them to see how diabetes is a positive thing so that they can become leaders in their family and school. Personally, I never was a camper. I was diagnosed later than the camper years allowed, so I was put into a leadership role right away. Me being me, I needed to take this so much further than just camp. I have been volunteering around my community and I started to take on more roles in my school to benefit the kids.
I love this group of people! They have had such a positive impact on my life. We have made so many memories. One of my favorites was when it was my second year as a counselor. It was middle shots which is an overnight camp, so we were the ones who took care of the blood sugars at night if there were to be an emergency. There were a few girls whose blood sugars were low at an early hour of the morning around 2 am. I was the one who they woke up, so I took care of them and went back to bed. The next day I got the Nurse Emily award which made my day because I am studying to be a nurse. My other favorite memory was my first day of Little Shots camp when we counselors decided to go see a movie after camp. Most of us fell asleep during the movie because we were so tired due to camp. I love DYS, they will always hold a special spot in my heart. I do recommend this group to any teenager with diabetes. It really impacted my life for the better and they offer so many opportunities for leadership!
Thanks for the insight Emily! We are so glad to have you involved in Leadership. Our Leadership program is available to young adults, ages 16-22. For more information, please see the Leadership page.