Have you wondered what your favorite counselor does for their day job? Or, perhaps you've lost touch with a CDF pal and would love to know what they're up to. Search no more! You can find out here in the alumni spotlight "Where Are They Now?"... Oh, and please remember to email and let us know what you are up to so we can feature YOU too!
1. How many years did you attend camp and what was the last year that you attended?
I first attended camp as a camper for 5 years until I was 17 years old in 2006. I did return for two more years as a dietary aid and a counselor!
2. What is your favorite camp memory?
My favorite camp memory is a really tough one to pick because there are so many! I will always remember sharing an ice bucket with Coach Jason Maki after we both twisted our ankles and got "slap happy" with each other as he tried to coach the other kids and I continued to sit there laughing at him - haha. There is always the traditional: Big Mike belly flop off the life guard stand into the pool or Joey sneaking around the cabins using squirt guns through the windows to get the boys to go to sleep at night. But my favorite memory of camp doesn't come from a single moment - it's the experience. I think my favorite part of camp every year is seeing all the familiar faces again that I hadn't seen in a year , as we all live in different parts of the country. And in that very second we all see each other, it's like we haven't missed a second of each other's lives and everything takes off again.
3. Did you learn anything at camp to improve your diabetes care?
I learned a lot from camp to improve my diabetes care! Most importantly, camp helped me cope with having diabetes . And there is no bigger step in controlling and taking care of your diabetes than accepting it and then going on from there. I struggled to cope with my diabetes as a child growing up because I didn't know another person with the disease and it always made me feel like I stood out compared to everyone else and that I was different. I will never forget the feeling I had the 2nd day of camp after walking out of the cafeteria after lunch and I stopped right in my tracks and just looked around. What I saw moved me forever, as a 13 year old. I stared at 75 other kids my age - kids that I ha d never met before until the day before, but yet were like my best friends already - outside, laughing, screaming, running, joking, and smiling. The thing that was different was that they all have Type I diabetes, just like me. And as I continued to look, had I not been at that camp, I would have never known the difference. That feeling that I had that day changed the way that I look at life forever and I couldn't be more proud to tell everyone: I have Type I diabetes! Since then, camp taught me the importance of checking my blood sugar levels 4 or more times a day and how to adjust your insulin and monitor yourself with strenuous activity.
4. Do you stay in contact with anyone you met while attending camp?
I keep in contact with a couple of people from time to time online through Facebook. I haven't seen anyone personally from camp since I was last there in 2008. I'm recently looking to change how I take care of my diabetes -- who better to ask than other diabetics! So I put out a Facebook post just the other day asking my fellow 'betic friends about they are doing. It was amazing the responses that I got and how fast we once again raced through memory lane and laughing with each other once again! I wish I could see everyone again and that it was easier to keep up with their lives!
5. Do you have any advice for present or future campers?
Advice that I would give to present and future camper s : always keep your head held high, embrace all the challenges of life, and live in the moment! Enjoy every moment of camp ; it is the most spectacular and special place in the world! Also keep in contact with your friends from camp and continue to always be there for each other -- there is nothing quite like the diabetic bond that is created at camp!
6. Tell us about yourself since your camper days...
Since camp, I moved to Minneapolis, MN (yeah, I moved out of Wisconsin... haha) and attended University of Minnesota Twin-Cities where I got my bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. In my time there I was hired as an Athletic Trainer Intern for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team for two years. I worked with the team and traveled with the team to work with the athletes including (yup name dropping - haha) Eric Decker who is now playing for the Denver Broncos. Once I graduated from Minnesota in 2011, I continued my education down in Iowa at Palmer College of Chiropractic where I am earning my Doctorate of Chiropractic and will be graduating in October 2014. I'm currently working in clinics at school and giving patient care to all ages. I will be returning to Wisconsin once again with my degree and will be practicing chiropractic back in my home state! In June of this year I will be taking a trip to Fiji as a Clinic Abroad opportunity to serve the people of Fiji with chiropractic care for a couple of weeks. I am currently single -- so 'hello' to all the single ladies out there!