August 29, 2018

Children with diabetes can enjoy a free overnight camp at SIU’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A special Southern Illinois University Carbondale camp offers fun and help for youths who are growing up with juvenile diabetes.

The free B.E.T.A. overnight camping experience, created especially for youths ages 9-15 who have Type I diabetes, is Sept. 22-23 at Touch of Nature Environmental Center. Teens ages 16-17 who have diabetes can also get involved as counselors-in-training.

Wide variety of activities for participants and parents

The camp runs from 9:30 a.m. Sept. 22 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. Participants will enjoy a true summer camp experience by enjoying activities such as fishing, horseback riding, hiking, arts and crafts, a hayride, zip lining, team building exercises and much more. They’ll also enjoy an overnight stay with fellow campers at SIU’s facility located within the Shawnee National Forest.

In addition, while the youngsters are having a good time, parents are welcome to attend afternoon activities Sept. 23, including informative breakout sessions and seminars about diabetes, from 1:30 p.m. until the end of the camp session.

B.E.T.A. is about attitude and action

The Camp B.E.T.A. name has a dual significance. Within the body, beta cells store and release insulin to reduce blood glucose concentration; they can respond quickly to spikes in blood glucose concentrations by secreting stored insulin and quickly producing more of the substance.

In addition, B.E.TA. is an acronym for the camp philosophy:

  • Believe in yourself – diabetes can be better managed with a positive attitude.
  • Empower yourself – you are the one in control, not diabetes.
  • Talk – be willing to ask for help and communicate with the right people about your needs.
  • Act – take action to help your body by being proactive, eating healthy and taking your medications.

Register now

Though there is no cost to attend the camp, advance registration is required no later than Sept. 7.

Sign up now:

  • Online at
  • By calling 618/453-1121.
  • In person at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, 1206 Touch of Nature Road (just off Giant City Road) in Makanda, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact Vicki Lang at or 618/453-1121.

Camp B.E.T.A. co-sponsors include Touch of Nature Environmental Center/SIU, Southern Illinois Healthcare, the Diabetes Today Resource Team and the Lions Club of Carbondale.