Looking forward to exciting events in 2018!

All of us at Camp Kudzu hope that you had a restful and memorable holiday! The Camp Kudzu staff has hit the ground running to start 2018 with a bang, and we are counting down the days unti the beginning of this year's exciting programs.

I want to thank all of you again for your incredible and awe-inspiring support across many fronts in 2017. We experienced a great end to the year and are in great shape to make 2018 our best year ever!

During our Volunteer Holiday Reception, we had a blast welcoming our Kudzu family into our newly renovated office space. As we spent time with more than 100 of you, we took the opportunity to thank you for your work and recognize your vital contributions.

In the spirit of thanking our volunteers, we proudly recognized Eloise Lamons as our 2017 Volunteer of the Year! Eloise has proudly served our Kudzu community for more than seven years, and she inspires others with her consistent year-round support. Eloise regularly meets with newly diagnosed parents, encouraging them and connecting them with Camp Kudzu programs. She is always helping lead and prepare our volunteer efforts, including organization of supplies and organizing the luncheon. We truly appreciate everything Eloise continues to contribute to Camp Kudzu -- in helping shape the lives of hundreds of campers, working with our T1D families and being a part of our Kudzu Team and making us better!

In 2018, we are on track to serve more campers and offer more programs than ever before, and it's thanks to you! Our next gathering is our Teen Retreat at Camp Twin Lakes on February 2-4, and registration is still open.

Thank you for your continued support, and we are excited for you to be a part of the Camp Kudzu family in 2018.
-Rob Shaw, Executive Director
2017 Volunteer of the Year Eloise Lamons
Congratulations and thank you to 2017 Volunteer of the Year Eloise Lamons!
Anna Rambo, Art and Karen Tucker, and Mandy Conroy
The Volunteer Reception was also a great opportunity for us to thank Art and Karen Wood, who provided support to Camp Kudzu through their 2017 "Taste of Tucker" event!
Taste of Tucker 2017 Logo
The "Taste of Tucker" event allows attendees to sample appetizers, entrees, and desserts from a variety of fantastic local restaurants while helping out community organizations! To learn more about Taste of Tucker and sign up for updates on this year's event, visit tasteoftucker.com.
Ringing in the New Year with the Camp Kudzu Board of Directors!
The Camp Kudzu Board of Directors wishes you a Happy New Year!  As the Chair of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled with our plans for continued growth in 2018.  The Board is excited to see the impact our programs will continue to have on our campers and the Camp Kudzu community.

The work done by our volunteers is nothing short of incredible. Our dedicated volunteers, alumni, and Board members have shown an inspirational level of commitment and drive to help improve the lives of children and teens living with T1D.  We thank you for all of your hard work and for the guidance and love you provide to the entire Camp Kudzu family!

We eagerly seek your input and vision on expanding Camp Kudzu and can’t wait to see how the Camp Kudzu families and volunteers will continue to strengthen our community.  We will continue to reach new heights, serve more children and teens, and grow our footprint across the state. This would not be possible if it weren't for the efforts of our incredible volunteers and staff.  Thank you for all you've done, and we look forward to an amazing 2018!

-Jennifer Odom, Chair of the Board of Directors
Teen Retreat Spots Still Available
Camp Kudzu's Teen Retreat is happening February 2nd-4th, 2018 at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, GA. Many teens experience diabetes burnout or become overwhelmed with more responsibility in managing their diabetes on top of everything else involved with being a teen. Camp Kudzu's Teen Retreat focuses on just that: being a teen! Educational sessions will focus on many "tough" topics dealing with being a teen with type 1.

The fun-filled weekend will also include high-level activities and exciting programming. If your teen needs a pre-summer camp pick-me-up, register today!
"Survivor": The 2018 Camp Kudzu Education Theme
Camp Kudzu prides itself on educating, empowering, and inspiring our campers each summer through various diabetes education themes. As you know, much of the education at camp happens informally and behind the scenes, with campers modeling the behavior of their counselors who set forth examples of stellar diabetes management skills.

That said, counselors and clinicians alike also shed light on real-life experiences that only age can provide—going off to college, living alone, etc. The light in each camper’s eyes is unlike any other upon witnessing the diabetes line-up each session of summer camp, where each volunteer proclaims the number of years they have lived with diabetes. The years are tallied and often exceed (or come close to exceeding) 1,000 years of experience—what a wealth of knowledge! Most of these years of experience have been spent with minimal assistance from diabetes technology such as continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, closed loop systems, or even rapid-acting insulin. Remember those days?! They seem far in the past, which means we are making significant headway towards the ultimate goal of diabetes research—a cure. 

In the meantime, however, the technology and luxuries available today make our lives easier—providing more information around blood sugar patterns, basal rates that “adjust” themselves according to those patterns, automatic bolus calculations, scales that can carb count for us—the list goes on. However, consider this—what would you do if your diabetes technology failed? Could you manage on your own? Yes, there’s always customer service lines, but think beyond that. Think of a time when you were diagnosed and you learned skills that were essential to the daily management of your disease. More than likely those skills didn’t involve fancy technology, did they? Drawing up insulin, calculating a bolus dose by hand using a ratio, adjusting insulin for exercise, and even tasks as simple as checking your blood sugar were among those covered in your initial education class. Focus on these skills is often lost in the shadow of the latest and greatest technology, yet the importance of basic skills remains.

For these reasons, the 2018 education theme, “Survivor,” will span throughout the 2018 program season and focus on key skills to proper diabetes management while acknowledging and appreciating how far technology has come. “Survivor” also lends itself to teaching campers about life circumstances in which specific knowledge is needed--transitioning in the teen years from pediatric to adult endocrinologists, college life, and more.
Mark Your Calendar!
The Camp Kudzu Cup Fore Kids logo
With the holidays fast approaching, Camp Kudzu encourages you to add the 14th Annual Kudzu Cup Fore! Kids to your calendar. We are happy to share that we will again be hosted by the Country Club of the South in Johns Creek on Monday, May 21, 2018 .

This year, we are offering an "Early Birdie" special of ten percent (10%) off of foursomes that register and pay by February 1, 2018! Don't miss out on this great benefit!

Thank you, and we look forward to you joining us on the course! For more details, please contact Doris Pierce-Hardy.

Co-chairs for this year's golf outing are Scott Richards, David Evans, and Andrew Sturniolo.
Teen Transitions
A camper and counselor have fun in the radio booth at Camp Twin Lakes.
I’ve often heard the phrase “you have 18 years to pack your child’s bags for college.”

Metaphorically speaking, what all should those bags contain? Confidence? Independence? Self-awareness? Yes, but this holds even more truth as you prepare for a child with type 1 to embark on their college career. As a diabetes educator, a common concern is how parents begin the process of relinquishing control of their child’s diabetes management, thereby passing the responsibility and “ownership” onto their child.

Whether this is the year you send them to college or not, I encourage you to read on. Transition doesn’t happen quickly, and it may be an ongoing process over a course of several years. First, ensure that you give your child responsibilities as soon as appropriate. Even at a young age, begin to involve your child in their diabetes management, giving them a sense of ownership long before they are independent enough to leave home. Engrave good management skills from early on, and involve your child in decision making, so that when the day does come to fly the nest, it will hopefully be second nature. A few hiccups along the way are to be expected, though!

While concrete diabetes management skills are important, first and foremost comes a good relationship between you and your child. Establish this from early on, and keep lines of communication open and honest. At camp, we treat blood sugars as “data”—information that we can use to look back at our management and adjust our approach. For example, "maybe those two pieces of pizza were more carbs than anticipated," or "maybe I wasn’t as active at soccer practice as I thought I would be." There’s always room for improvement, but foster an environment such that your child never feels ashamed of decisions they made in management. With open communication, there shouldn’t be fear of punishment from a “bad” blood sugar or eating “bad” food. Checking in with your child regularly will give them opportunities to tell you about their day, both pieces of diabetes-related and non-diabetes-related information. However, ensure you aren’t asking what their blood sugars were, but rather as about them as people—how was your test? Did you eat lunch with your friends?

Despite the fact you should work with your child to move towards independence in their diabetes management, forget comparisons and where you think your child “should” be in their management. Teens may progress (and regress) in their management at different rates, so comparing your child to others isn’t necessarily a good marker of progress. Realistically, most teens will need at least some degree of parental involvement in their diabetes care even up until they leave for college. Some children will need this involvement even after they depart for college, since the transition can be tricky for many.

Regardless, ensure that you and your child have a plan when it does come time to leave—making and attending endo appointments, transition from pediatric endo to adult endo, filling prescriptions…the list could go on and on. The better you think through these things with your child, the better prepared they will be to fly the nest! 
Contributed by Anna Albritton, MS, RD, LD
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2018 Camp Kudzu Partners