May 17, 2019

Youths ages 9-17 with Type 1 diabetes invited to SIU’s Camp B.E.T.A.

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Growing up with Type 1 diabetes makes childhood and teenage years a bit more challenging, but Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is offering something fun especially created for youths ages 9-15 who have Type 1 diabetes.

The free overnight Camp B.E.T.A. is set for Sept. 14-15 and registration is now underway.

Teens ages 16-17 who have diabetes are also welcomed as counselors-in-training.

Wide variety of activities included

It’s an authentic camping experience, complete with hiking, horseback riding, arts and crafts, zip lining, fishing, team-building activities and much more.

The camp begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 14 and wraps up at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 15.

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

The camp’s name is significant for two reasons. First, beta cells store and release insulin to reduce blood glucose concentrations in the body; they respond quickly to the concentrations by secreting stored insulin and producing more quickly.

In addition, the name is an acronym for the camp’s motto:

  • Believe in yourself – a positive attitude helps with diabetes management.
  • Empower yourself – you are in control, not the diabetes.
  • Talk – ask for help and share your needs with the appropriate people.
  • Act – be proactive, eating healthy, staying active and taking prescribed medications to help your body.

Register now

Sign up no later than Aug. 15 in one of three ways:

  • Register online.
  • Call 618/453-1121.
  • Sign up in person at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, 1206 Touch of Nature Road (just off Giant City Road) in Makanda, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Extra details

For more information, contact Vicki Lang Mendenhall at 618/453-3950 or

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