New Book Helps Children with Type 1 Diabetes Overcome Summer Camp Anxiety


I didn’t want to go to diabetes summer camp as a child. When it was recommended to me by various doctors over the years, I detested it.

Today, I feel differently. 

This experience sparked the creation of the second book in the “Rosie Becomes a Warrior” children’s book series, “Rosie the Type 1 Diabetes Warrior Goes to Diabetes Summer Camp.” This book is what I wish I would’ve had when I hated the idea of diabetes summer camp.

If your child has similar feelings about summer camp, here’s what I wish I’d known back then as a child with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes summer camp fears

As a child, I was afraid to attend diabetes summer camp.

It was recommended to me often by my doctors over the years, but even just thinking about going made me angry. I didn’t want to focus on type 1 diabetes even more than I already had to or make it the focus of my entire summer. I assumed this is what diabetes camp would be like and bring out in me.

My parents respected my feelings about it, so they didn’t push.

While I did attend a camp that wasn’t diabetes-specific for many summers in my teens, I look back today and wish I would’ve felt more open to making diabetes the focus of my summer camp experience. 

Diabetes is mentally exhausting, especially when you feel alone! 

As an adult, I now know there is a lot of power in connecting with others who truly understand you. I think the sooner I would’ve formed those connections with other people living with diabetes, the less isolated I would’ve felt earlier in my life—but hindsight is 20/20, right?

Camp lets your type 1 warrior “be a kid”

“Rosie the Type 1 Diabetes Warrior Goes to Summer Camp” follows the story of Rosie and her new friends, Maya and Timmy, at Camp Wagagaga. 

At Rosie’s diabetes summer camp, she learns how to become more independent and confident in managing her diabetes. She also gets to practice carb-counting with other kids who have to count those pesky carbs, too. And most importantly, she gets to be a kid in a camp full of other kids living with type 1 diabetes!

This book also includes:

  • A fun song that parents can learn with or teach to their kids
  • Bright and colorful drawings
  • Discussion prompts to help children share how they feel about diabetes
  • Key diabetes definitions for parents

Power in feeling understood

When I connect with someone who has diabetes today, it reminds me that I’m not alone in the world. It helps me remember that on my most challenging diabetes days when I feel like no one understands or ever could understand, I am wrong. 

And I’ve never been so happy to be wrong! 

There are millions of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes across the world. None of us are alone. This experience made me want to write the second book in the series, “Rosie Becomes a Warrior.”. 

Rosie the Type 1 Diabetes Warrior Goes to Summer Camp” is designed to help children with type 1 diabetes and their parents overcome common fears about attending diabetes summer camp and explore the benefits of attending.

Power in connections

The second book also emphasizes the importance of connecting with people who have experienced the same things as you. While living with diabetes is a unique experience, and Rosie’s is only one story, hers should resonate with many children (and adults) living with type 1 diabetes.

This story should not only help children with type 1 diabetes and their parents but provides a learning opportunity to anyone who wants to learn more about something they’re not directly affected by. 

I believe the more we learn about things we don’t understand, the more connected, compassionate and empathetic we become. This is a pivotal theme in the second book.

The bottom line: summer camp nerves aren’t always a bad thing

While the thought of sending a child with type 1 diabetes to summer camp can be scary, it may also be the best experience of their life! What would’ve happened if my parents would’ve pushed me to go?

I can say today that if your child is experiencing fears about going to diabetes summer camp, those fears might not be a bad thing. Sometimes, doing things before you’re ready can produce the best outcomes! Your child might need a little push.

The experience of simply being in a group full of children who have to take insulin every day (just like your kiddo does) is priceless! It’s that incredible realization that you’re not the only one, which helps children feel more confident and comfortable managing their diabetes throughout their lives.

If you’re thinking about sending your kiddo to diabetes camp this summer, here are some more resources that may help you decide whether going is a good thing for your family:

WRITTEN BY Julia Flaherty, POSTED 06/15/22, UPDATED 12/19/22

Julia Flaherty is a published children’s book author, writer, editor, award-winning digital marketer, content creator and diabetes advocate. Find Julia’s first book, “Rosie Becomes a Warrior.” Julia finds therapy in building connections within the diabetes community. Being able to contribute to its progress brings her joy. She loves connecting with the diabetes communities, being creative and storytelling. You will find Julia hiking, traveling, working on her next book, or diving into a new art project in her free time. Connect with Julia on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.