WMC Foundation to send two local youth to diabetes camp

Released: 12/26/18

Last summer, three Winneshiek County youth were awarded a campership to Camp Hertko Hollow, a camp for kids with diabetes. Seated (l-r): Thomas Hendrickson, Lauren Luzum and Morgan Moen. Standing (l-r): Holly Kanengeiter, coordinator of the WMC Foundation; Sue Zbornik, director of WMC Nutrition Services; parents of campers Julie Strom Hendrickson, Jennessa Luzum and Kathy Moen; Jean Irvin, WMC Diabetes Educator and Angie Pellett, WMC Clinical Dietitian.

Sometimes, having diabetes makes kids feel very different than others.  Such was the case for Lauren Luzum of Decorah, who wanted to go to diabetes camp so she could “have fun and not be the only one with diabetes.”

Lauren, daughter of Brian and Jennessa Luzum, applied for a campership to Camp Hertko Hollow, an opportunity provided through the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation.  “Having diabetes… is like I am on a life time diet.  I would like to see how other people manage diabetes,” Lauren said.

Lauren was one of three youth who were awarded camperships in 2018.  Also receiving camperships were Thomas Hendrickson (who went to train to be a youth counselor) and Morgan Moen. Lauren said of her experience, “I enjoyed every second of it and I and met some new friends.  I also learned a lot about how to manage my diabetes – how to know how much insulin to take by counting my carbs.”  She added, “I had a lot of fun at Camp Hertko Hollow.”

Diabetes Camp

For the tenth year, the Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation is offering camperships for area youth between ages 8-17 to attend Camp Hertko Hollow, an Iowa camp for kids with diabetes.  The campership program is offered thanks to donations from the community dedicated to supporting local diabetes prevention and education.

Camp Hertko Hollow was founded in 1968 with 37 campers by Dr. Edward Hertko of Des Moines.  The camp has grown to over 360 campers and 120 staff volunteers each summer.  Jean Irvin, RN and diabetes educator at Winneshiek Medical Center, says, “The week-long camp provides youth the opportunity to interact with and befriend other kids with diabetes – relationships that encourage social and emotional growth –while learning more about their disease.”  She adds, “Kids can participate in traditional camp activities with others just like them.”

The camp is staffed by physicians, nurses, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and students of these professions, making it a safe and healthy environment for each camper.  Irvin says, “Early education on how to manage diabetes greatly increases the likelihood these youth will make a life-time commitment to healthy diabetes care.  Kids that go to camp will gain the tools to better manage their disease through adulthood.”

Camp Hertko Hollow runs two sessions:  Kids week (ages 8-12) is from June 23 – June 29, 2019 and teen week (ages 13-17) is from June 30 – July 6, 2019.  Camp is held in Boone, Iowa.

Foundation Campership

Area youth with diabetes (type 1 and type 2) are encouraged to apply for a full campership to Camp Hertko Hollow ($650 value) for the 2019 season.  Application packets are available at Winneshiek Medical Center, through school nurses at all Winneshiek County schools, Winneshiek County Public Health and the Decorah Public Library.  The application is also available at www.winmedical.org/giving.

Applications should be returned to Winneshiek Medical Center Nutrition Services and be postmarked by February 1, 2019.  For more information, call 563-387-3158.  To partner with the WMC Foundation to continue funding for the Diabetes Campership Program, call 563-387-3129.

Return to Press Room