A group of campers out of Prince Edward Island have launched a petition, after word that Camps Red Fox and Camp Dia-Best in New Brunswick have closed.
They are camps that were run by the Diabetes Association, and targeted young people with the disease.
Anthony Millar was a former camper, turned Councillor at Camp Red Fox. He was shocked when he received the letter this week to say the Camp had closed, due to a merger with their Diabetes camp in Nova Scotia, "The camp registration is just opening, and parents were getting excited about registering their kids for camp and then the letter came out on the Friday that it wasn't going to be happening this year."
Millar says there was a special bond between these kids, who could relate to each other. Parents are also a bit uneasy about having their kids travel four to five hours to go to camp, "We do see a lot of kids that come thinking they are the only ones with Type 1 diabetes. They have no friends or family that have it and they build these lifelong friendships."
As to why the camps have closed, Millar says the letter leaned towards financial, "The letter itself had mentioned about streamlining services, and financial stability for the future."
He says around 60 youth attended Camp Red Fox in PEI, but he was unsure of numbers for Camp Dia-Best in New Brunswick.
Their option for a diabetes camp now, is in Barss Corner, which is in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.
“This has been an incredibly difficult decision and we understand that no parent or care-giver would want to see the camp closest to them affected by this news,” says Andrew Young, vice-president, programs, services & product development with Diabetes Canada. “We believe we must make this change in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of offering D-Camps programs, says Young. “We looked at our camps across Canada and how we could provide the best service possible for them with the funds available. Our goal is to provide children with type 1 diabetes with a unique camp experience and, while it is not easy to make these decisions, we felt that this would best allow us to do that.”
Diabetes Canada says it will continue to do all it can to ensure opportunities for all current and future Maritime D-Camps families to have a camp to call home. That includes offering transportation to and from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and they will also offer financial assistance.
If you'd like to sign the petition, click HERE