Healthy diet, exercise is focus at Camp Hickory

Campers and staff are pictured during Camp Hickory 2012 held in July at Baldwinsville’s Community Park.

Campers and staff are pictured during Camp Hickory 2012 held in July at Baldwinsville’s Community Park.

— Baldwinsville Lions Club members and volunteers busily prepared for Lion’s Camp Hickory held earlier this summer. The kitchen and meeting areas were cleaned, the programs for the campers were finalized, and camp materials, crafts and games were taken out of storage. By the second week of July, the Lions Clubhouse in Baldwinsville Community Park, also known as the Joe Ritter Community House, was converted from a meeting place for the Lions to a home base for Camp Hickory.

On July 9, more than 20 campers arrived ready to play and learn more about diabetes, which is the focus of Camp Hickory, the only day camp in Onondaga County operated specifically for children with insulin-dependent, Type 1 diabetes.

Campers learn know how their diet, exercise and other factors affect their need to increase or decrease the amount of insulin they require to stay healthy, said Lion Ron Schmidt.

During the one-week program, more than 20 volunteer camp counselors and program staff help to make the camp experience successful for the kids. Pre-med and nutrition education students are also on hand, along with professional kitchen staff and maintenance and facilities volunteers.

“These kids had a great time doing all the things kids at camp do,” Schmidt said. “They spent time fishing, completing craft projects, playing field games, and making sand sculptures and more. As important as these activities are to the kids, they also learned about how different foods and activity levels would affect their glucose level by participating in fun activities purposely designed to teach them about healthy diets.”

A full time medical professional, as well as LeMoyne College physician assistant interns, were at camp each day testing and monitoring the glucose levels of the young campers. All worked with the kids to help them stay healthy even with the intentional variety of dietary and activity levels.

When the week came to a close, everyone was sorry to see camp end.

“Campers, staff and volunteers were all tired but happy that camp had been a success again,” Schmidt said.

The Community House was converted back for use by the Lions, and all of the camp games and materials were stored away.

Camp Hickory, which is held in Baldwinsville every July, is made possible through the Baldwinsville Lion’s Club and the help of dedicated volunteers. For more information, visit lionscamphickory.com.

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