Program Logistics


We recommend reading these documents ahead of time so that your family is prepared for camp. We have provided PDF versions of each section for your convenience. Please feel free to send any questions to our office at (925) 680-4994 or email us.

Preparing Your Child for Camp

PDF Version

Whether you are sending your child to camp alone for the first time or are coming all together for a Family Camp session, we recognize that some campers need more time than others to get used to new routines, to adjust to living with others, and to deal with the challenges and choices that inevitably come with group living. As Bob Ditter, family therapist and contributing author to Camping Magazine, suggests, camp is “…a great opportunity for children to learn to manage emotions, tolerate individual difference and discover that they can resolve many issues on their own.”

Whether your child is coming to camp with or without you, as a parent there are some important steps that can be taken in helping to prepare a child for summer camp, and support them if they experience missing home.

  • Involve your child in packing for camp. Do it together.
  • Pack a favorite item like a favorite article of clothing or a small stuffed animal.
  • Share stories about your first experience away from home when you were a child (keeping the story positive!)
  • Mail a positive, encouraging letter to your child three or four days before they depart for camp. That way it will be there on the first day.
  • Encourage your child to share any concerns they may have with their counselors or another trusted staff member, and let the child know that their counselors are always there for them , including nights.
  • Speak about the camp experience in a positive light. Oftentimes a child can sense their parents’/guardians’ anxiety about camp and will react. Let the child know that they are going to have a wonderful time at camp, and that as parents, you are excited they are attending.

The following are suggestions about what you as a parent might discuss with your child before they go to camp that will help your child be more successful during the session.

  • Every camper is part of a group, and we expect you to cooperate and help.
  • If you are having a problem, your counselor is there to help you. You don’t have to wait to tell us, you can tell your counselor.
  • Clean-up is part of camp. We expect you to participate.
  • There are many new things at camp, and you may not like them all or be as good at some as you are at others. We expect you to try!
  • Things will be different at camp than at home and that’s okay! We can’t wait to hear about everything when you get home.
  • Go about making a new friend or two. If you are timid/shy about meeting someone new, ask about what they like and be a good listener.
  • Not everyone has to be your friend, and you don’t have to be everyone else’s friend. If you have one or two good friends at camp, that’s great! Everyone, however, is to be treated with respect.
  • If you are concerned that your child may have difficulty in adapting to camp life, please reach out to the Camp Director ahead of time so that we can work together to create a successful environment for your child.
  • If you want to know how your child is doing at camp, feel free to contact us at any time during your child’s stay. We will connect you to their counselor, who will give you an update and share some stories.

Communication at Camp 

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• Mail:
Campers love getting mail at camp and we encourage mail at Bearskin Meadow Camp and Camp de Los Niños. We recommend sending mail one week ahead of time to ensure that it arrives when your camper is with us. Please do not send food.

Bearskin Meadow Camp: USPS
Camper’s Name – Session Name P.O. Box 906
KCNP, CA 93633

Bearskin Meadow Camp: UPS
Camper’s Name – Session Name 65000 Ten Mile Road
KCNP, CA 93633

Camp de Los Niños: Send letters/packages via USPS to:
Camper’s Name – Camp de los Niños YMCA Camp Loma Mar
9900 Pescadero Creek Rd.
Loma Mar, CA 94021

• Internet:
At Bearskin Meadow Camp we have very limited wireless internet that will be available to parents at Family Camp sessions only. The internet is available only in the Dining Hall and we ask that you limit internet use to work-related business only.

At other programs, internet is more widely available and will be restricted to adults only.

• Phones:
There is no cell service at Bearskin Meadow Camp but limited service exists within a 20-30 minute drive. We do have a landline for emergency use and short calls. For longer calls, you are encouraged to bring a calling card for our payphone.

At other programs, cell service is more widely available but not always dependable. Landlines are present at each location in case of an emergency.

*A special note about Independent Camps (Buddy, Teen, Kids, LIT, Camp de Los Niños)*
Missing home or being anxious about being away is natural for children and parents. Camp, with its supportive staff and volunteers, is the best place to allow your child to work through these feelings. We discourage parent visits at camp and do not allow phone calls between home and campers during session. Campers adjust more quickly to camp and experience less homesickness by the third day of camp. We find those who are expecting a call or a visit hang on to worries about home much longer.

If your child’s homesickness is a concern or you are worried while your child is at camp, please feel free to call us any time at camp. We would be happy, when possible, to put your child’s counselor on the phone to chat with you about how your child is doing. We also never hesitate to call home if a concern arises about your child while they are at camp.

Participant Outcomes

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At DYF Programs our hope is that your child not only grows in diabetes self-care and management, but also in their development. Listed below are the participant outcomes we hope that your child achieves in our camping programs.
1. Participant demonstrates increased knowledge about the outdoors.
a. Stays on trail
b. Can identify flora and fauna surrounding camp
c. Carries out all trash from campsite

2. Participant demonstrates a deeper appreciation of regular physical activity utilizing the outdoor environment including hiking and/or backpacking and/or nature exploration.
a. Familiar with hiking trails departing from camp
b. Shows interest in joining programs involving outdoor activity for next year’s camp season

3. Participant sees themselves as a steward and ambassador of the outdoors.
a. Chooses rugged terrain when traveling cross country to minimize impact b. Collects fire wood from existing and dead debris surrounding campsite
c. Does not pick wildflowers or damages other flora

4. Participant demonstrates increased confidence in diabetes management and diabetes decision- making.
a. Can count the carbohydrates in their own meal
b. Suggests possible insulin dosages to medical staff and/or parents

5. Participant demonstrates increased independence in diabetes management.
a. Checks blood glucose without reminder
b. Recognizes personal symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia c. Self-administers insulin injections

6. Participant understands the different types of insulin and technology available to adjust and administer insulin levels.
a. Recognizes various insulin pumps
b. Knows the difference between long acting and short acting insulin

7. Participant knows and understands how to identify and treat hypo and hyperglycemic episodes especially during high and low activity periods.
a. Chooses fast acting carbohydrates such as sugar cubes when experiencing hypoglycemia b. Recognizes personal symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

8. Participant demonstrates an increased sense of diabetes responsibility upon returning home.
a. Checks blood sugars more frequently
b. Closely monitors blood sugar pre and post times of increased physical activity in order to
prevent severe hypoglycemia
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

9. Participant sees the self as a useful and valued member of the camp community by camp peers and adults.
a. Offers input to counselors when selecting an activity
b. Participates in group discussion

10.Participant feels encouraged to do well in school and home community.
a. Completes tasks to the best of their ability as assigned
b. Faces challenges with a positive attitude
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

11. Participant is aware of, and confident in, the steps of group and individual decision making.
a. Voices opinions and concerns in a respectful manner
b. Actively listens when others speak
c. Takes other’s opinions into consideration

12. Participant has increased friendship-making skills.
a. Plans to communicate with fellow campers post camp
b. Actively listens and engages in conversation with peers
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

13. Participant reports having increased self-esteem.
a. Introduces self to a new person
b. Engages in conversation
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior.

14. Participant reports feeling optimistic about personal future.
a. b. c.
Confident in diabetes management
Makes plans for the future
Parent will also report changes in home behavior

15. Participant shares diabetes knowledge learned at camp with peers, family, and school personnel.
a. Talks openly and willingly about their disease
b. Demonstrates ability to administer own injection/check blood sugar/etc.
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

16. Participant shares enthusiasm about outdoors gained at camp with the surrounding community including peers, and family.
a. Shares stories camping experience with friends
b. Exemplifies “Leave No Trace” principles in outdoor settings
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

17. Participant encourages peer participation in outdoor activities.
a. Encourages friends to join them next year
b. Identifies flora and fauna for peers
c. Parent will also report changes in home behavior

Food & Diet Philosophy

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Sample Menu 

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Diet has long been recognized as a cornerstone of diabetes management. In the early days of type 1 diabetes, people followed strict dietary rules, and the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates consumed was strictly controlled. When home blood glucose monitoring became readily available, this approach started to shift, and a more permissive approach to carbohydrate intake began, coupled with a de-emphasis on proteins and fats. To maintain stable blood sugar, insulin doses were adjusted in response to carbohydrate intake.

More recently, there has been a movement to limit carbohydrate intake in an effort to more easily maintain blood sugars. This issue— low carb or not— is currently confronting clinicians, diabetes camps, and T1D families. We do not yet have sufficient science to state the best approach, but we do know that glycemic control is not the only aspect of healthy living for people with diabetes. In fact, managing blood pressure, lipid profile, stress, kidney disease, and cardiovascular risk are important to the long-term health of all people, including those living with T1D. Limiting carbohydrates in favor of animal protein, for example presents its own risks: high protein diets (particularly meat-based protein) have long been implicated in the progression of kidney disease, and are likely implicated in cardiovascular disease as well.

A healthy diet emphasizes produce, whole grains, and proteins, and limits processed foods, red meats, and added sugars. This diet– high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, low in refined sugars, red meat, and processed foods– has been termed the Mediterranean diet, and has been linked to a large number of important health outcomes. This diet will also tend to be lower in carbohydrate content than the typical western diet. Perhaps equally important, the carbohydrates in this diet will generally be complex carbohydrates, which tend to be easier to manage from a blood sugar perspective than a diet high in simple carbohydrates. The Mediterranean diet has demonstrated improvements on blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and insulin sensitivity. Accommodating a low carb approach is possible within these parameters as well.

Like all advice, this can be taken to (unhealthy) extremes– kids still need to be kids. Eating should be pleasurable and enjoyable, and following a Mediterranean diet should not change that. Moreover, highly restrictive diets for children can develop into disordered eating patterns, something that patients with T1D already struggle with to a disproportionate extent.

While it is helpful to understand what a goal diet might look like, it is important to realize that families have numerous demands when deciding what to eat, as do we at DYF programs. We are constrained by factors such as time, budget, varying food preferences, staff, supplies, remote location, etc. The diversity of the people we serve magnifies the challenges. We view the guidance on dietary advice as an aspiration that guides us, fully aware we will make trade-offs and compromises between competing needs, just like families do when deciding what to eat at home. We will continue to improve the quality of food served at our programs as we work to meet the needs of our diverse DYF family.

Justin Altschuler, MD DYF Medical Director

Arrival & Departure Times

Fall Family Retreat check-in is from 4:30pm-5:00pm on Friday, October 23rd.
Departure is 12:30pm on Sunday, October 25th.