Technology FAQ

Q: My camper is on a pump and/or continuous glucose monitor. Is it allowed at camp?

A: Yes! Gales Creek Camp allows pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), including hybrid closed loop systems. Please note: only FDA-approved medical devices, running factory software, are allowed at camp. For more, see "Looping" question below

Q: What about cell phones? My camper's CGM  or pump didn't come with a factory receiver or controller.

A: Cell phones are allowed at camp, but we think of your child's cell phone  as diabetes management device only.  By bringing a cell phone to camp, your camper agrees to no texting, phone calls, app use, internet access, photography, video, or any other use. While most of our campers report that they cherish a "break" from their devices, we need your help, as a parent, to help reiterate this. 

Gales Creek Camp wants to create a healthy in-person social environment. While we have been able to limit some internet access through our network, we are unable to block certain apps, like iMessage and Snapchat. If you happen to get a message or call from your camper's phone while they are at camp, please reply with a reminder that they are not supposed to be using their phone. They may want to contact you because, at first, camp can naturally lead to feelings of uncertainty and discomfort, but this is the good kind of stress, the kind you feel when you're growing. Try to allow your camper to push through that initial sense of uncertainty and discomfort. If you do, the reward for them will be feelings of triumph and success, and of getting through something difficult. If they persevere, they will gain new friends, a sense of belonging and, we hope, the feeling that someone finally "gets it."

We have a well-established process of addressing "home sickness" and these feelings of uncertainty and discomfort at camp, refined over 71 summers. Our counselors are trained to connect with campers and to facilitate friendships. They are great listeners and role models. Many of them live with diabetes themselves, so they really do "get it."

So if you get a message from your camper where they say they don't want to be at camp, that they want you to come get them right away, just reply, "Have you talked to your counselors or the Camp Director about this? Have them call me."

Q: Do you use Dexcom Share/Follow to monitor campers BGs?

A: Yes, if your camper is using a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor, Health House Staff can “Follow” camper’s blood glucose levels overnight from a centralized monitoring system. In order for campers to utilize this program they must be using a Dexcom CGM and have it connected to a phone. At this time, Libre CGMs are not compatible with the “Follow” program. If your camper prefers using the factory receiver, or their pump, to monitor their CGM values that is okay! Campers unable to participate in the Dexcom Follow Program will still receive routine blood glucose checks throughout the night.  As mentioned above, a cell phone may only be used as a CGM receiver at camp. By bringing a cell phone receiver to camp, camper agrees to no texting, phone calls, app use, internet access, photography, video, or any other use.

Q: Will I, the parent/caregiver, also be able to follow my camper's Dexcom data while they are at camp?

A: No. We know this may be a challenge for many parents and caregivers who have become accustomed to watching their child's CGM graph throughout the day and night. It is probably the app that you use most on your phone, and with good reason. But there are several reasons why we will "unfollow" you when you check in at camp. Please read them all.

Practically speaking: We have about 60 kids a week, and although we know you won't call us at 3am when we're treating your child's low BG, we all know there are plenty of other parents who will. So to avoid having to juggle the phone and the juice at the same time, it's best if you just take a break from watching the Dexcom. We will be monitoring it for you. Plus, we do routine rounds throughout the night when all BGs are logged.

For your kid: Camp is all about independence. In fact, camp might even be the first chance your child gets to see themselves as a separate entity from you. GCC is a healthy place for a child to realize they are their own person, and they will eventually inherit their whole life. Camp is also a place they can start to learn to trust others and themselves with their own care. What GCC (and you) want is for your kid to gradually gain confidence in themselves to be an excellent manager of their own diabetes, including their relationship to diabetes. If you show them you don't need to be watching their Dexcom all the time, that you trust GCC to do it, and you trust them to help GCC do it, then that sends a powerful message to your kiddo. They. Can. Do it.

For you: Take a mental health break. You need it. You need it because you will be an even better parent/caregiver on the other side. You probably spend enough time looking at your phone every day, anyway. Here's a chance for you to turn off your alarms and get some sleep. Try that "Do Not Disturb" feature everyone else talks so much about.

Q: Our kiddo uses the DIY "looping" algorithm to manage their diabetes. Can they bring this system to camp?

A: No. We do not currently allow the use of the "looping" algorithm at camp because there is no standardized training for providers on the use of this technology. Your child’s safety at camp is our top priority and we would never want inadequate training on or understanding of a pump algorithm to put your child at risk. 

Your diabetes provider may be willing to work out a profile in your kiddo's pump (or approved controller for those using Omnipod) within the FDA approved software that we can use at camp. Alternatively, we would be happy to utilize the back-up injection plan that you and your provider have devised for times when your pump is not available. Both of these methods have been used very successfully in prior summers by other campers who "loop" at home.

If you bring a DIY Loop system, you will be asked to take your pump out of auto-mode and it will function as a manual pump.

Q: What should we do to prepare our devices for camp?

A: Thanks for asking! Click here for our Tech Prep Sheet.

Q: What tech supplies do I bring to camp?

A: Check our our T1D Tech Packing List page.