Is There A Need For "Focused" Retreats?

It is my impression that there are many people who post to this forum who simply need to sit and talk with other people about the challenges of living with T1 diabetes. There are the parents of children who have diabetes, the newly-diagnosed young adults, the teenagers who are struggling with being themselves in spite of their diabetes, and the people with T1 who are slipping into not-so-good management habits. And the list goes on.

I have begun to wonder if it might be worthwhile for JDRF (or some other organization) to develop a series of weekend “retreats” that might serve the specific (and different) needs of these groups of people affected by T1. A retreat might focus on a specific topic, like helping parents/young children prepare for the start of school. In that retreat there might be specific lectures on medical, nutrition, and management/coping topics, followed by breakout groups where experienced and not-so-experienced participants could visit and share ideas, questions, and experiences. Each group might be facilitated by a person who has expertise in the group’s area of interest to ensure that discussions remained focused and provided real benefit to everyone involved.

By having the “retreat” last for a weekend, participants might have time to “settle in” with the larger group, allowing for more-open discussions and detailed questions.

Each “retreat package” might be offered in many areas around the country, making it easier for people to attend a retreat that was closer to home. If the organization did a good job of keeping physicians and diabetes educators informed of the events those practitioners might be quicker to encourage patients to participate in a specific retreat.

I really appreciate the concept of the JDRF Summit meetings. But I wonder if those meetings are “informal” enough to allow participants to “network” and find answers to questions that resolve pressing needs. I also appreciate the concept of JDRF’s Chapter Meetings. But none of those meetings occur anywhere near me, so it makes it difficult to justify the travel to attend a brief meeting.

I thought I’d post this idea. Now, it may be that such things are already happening and I’m not aware of them. Nevertheless, I wonder if people with T1 would find these kinds of focused retreat events helpful.



Hi Bill!

I have attended Diabetes Youth Families’ youth camps at Bearskin Meadow Camp for about 9 years now and have worked as a counselor for two. DYF just recently launched an Adult Retreat, to let adults with T1D do just that. The schedule of the weekend included speakers such as endocrinologists and psychiatrist to talk about all aspects of living with T1D, and also gave the adults the opportunity to experience camp activities as any other camper would. I was working the youth camps this summer and plan to attend the Adult Retreat next summer if they offer it, which I really hope they do! I heard it was an incredible experience, and definitely something I think many adults with T1D and parents of T1D youth could benefit from it.

I just recently attended a three day retreat/seminar in San Diego put on by the TCOYD (Take care of your diabetes) foundation.
While the breakouts and seminars were interesting, the best part of the whole weekend was (by far) being in a room with 400 other people attached to beeping glucose monitors and whatnot.
I went by the pool one day and looked around. Everyone at the pool and pool bar had CGM’s attached to them. I just wonder what the non-conference guests of the hotel thought. For once, they were outnumbered…
Attending that retreat and conference is what brought me here. On my way home from the conference I got to thinking how much of this diabetes stuff I internalize and hide from the outside world. Most of it, actually…
I’m thinking those days are over.

Thanks for the report, Andrew. It was good to read about your experience.


It is wonderful to hear Bear Skin Meadows is still open💟 My first time there was 41 years ago and I encourage parents with T1D children to send them there or a camp near them. After going to a camp, your child(ren) will come home with great friends and experience a lot of fun.

Out of curiosity, one year I met a pair of sisters, whose father was a type 1 diabetic and attended Bear Skin Meadows, who arranged for them to attend to help learn more about diabetes and meet people their ages with the same condition as him. Does the camp still allow such an opportunity to families today?