Camp Yellow Bird is a summer camp for children and adolescents with diabetes between the ages of 6-18 years old and their peers.  Camp Yellow Bird was founded in 1992 as a combined effort of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Jamaica and the Diabetes Association of Jamaica with technical support from the Ministry of Health.  Camp Yellow Bird now operates independently since 1994 by a group of committed volunteers.

Camp Yellow Bird aims to help children with diabetes develop a positive approach to diabetes management.  It is first and foremost a camp where children with diabetes come to have fun.  On the other hand, their parents get a well-needed respite from the daily chores of diabetes care and management.

Camp Yellow Bird offers a healthy environment, fun, safety and education, all in one setting.  The programme includes:

  • SWIMMING……………………………………………………….. BALL GAMES
  • EDUCATIONAL GAMES……………………………………….. AEROBIC EXCERISE
  • TALENT SHOWS…………………………………………………. NATURE TRAILS
  • COOK-OUTS………………………………………………………. CAMP FIRE
  • BLOOD GLUCOSE MONITORING…………………………… KANGAROO COURT
  • MEASURING AND INJECTING INSULIN ……………….  DANCING
  • HIKING……………………………………………………………   BANQUET

At Camp Yellow Bird, we support children with diabetes in learning independence and a level of self-discipline not usually required of children their own age.  Campers get an opportunity to meet and live among their peers and bond to support each other without giving thought to social or economic barriers.  They share similar experiences while they learn to build leadership skills, self-esteem and independence, acquire new skills while they learn to manage their diabetes in challenging situations and achieve their full potential.  Camp offers ‘real life ‘ experience with daily variation in activity and eating.  Meal plans are individually tailored to the needs of each child, their likes and dislikes.  They learn to live in a world where there are choices.

Most importantly Camp Yellow Bird takes advantage of the ideal opportunity to teach the diabetes management strategy of balancing diet, exercise, insulin, blood glucose monitoring and education.  The medical and management teams see that the children play, eat, sleep do their tests and injections.  They use this insight to reinforce good care, correct problems and teach new skills.  Camp staff takes advantage of every “ teachable moment “ to provide quick, simple and practical real-life lessons.  Each child is in daily contact with doctors, nurses, dieticians, counselors and peer counselors who help to review blood sugar levels and medical goals to provide the best diabetes care possible.  Campers learn to adjust their diabetes care.

The camping experience goes well beyond the life of camp.  Children continue to support each other and communicate with camp staff throughout the year.  They return as peer counselors and counselors when they have acquired the knowledge, skills and experience.

At Camp Yellow Bird, we take our level of commitment to children with diabetes seriously.  Our staff, a team of committed volunteers, work together to de-mystify diabetes for a group of deserving children and help them to work through their social and emotional problems, not just their diabetes.  We aim to keep our nation healthy; therefore, we start with the young.  The child with diabetes becomes the adult with diabetes.  That is why we take them to camp and supervise them so they can live well.

Camp Yellow Bird has now taken the commitment one step further- establishing community support groups for children with diabetes and their families. We need your support!