Teaching Children to Have Fun and Manage Diabetes at WV Camp Kno-Koma

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Submission Date: May 2021

Entry Type: Case Study

State/Territory Submitted on the Behalf of: West Virginia

States/Territories Involved: West Virginia

Funding Source: CDC

CDC Funding:


CDC Funding (Specified):

(1305) State Public Health

Domain Addressed:

Environmental Approaches

Public Health Issue:

  • A CDC study indicates the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased about 1.8 % each year between 2002 and 2012.
  • Diabetes must be managed on a daily basis, which can be challenging for children.
  • Children with diabetes often feel alone and have a hard time dealing with diabetes.
  • Many children with diabetes are not self-sufficient in managing their disease. This may limit their participation in many childhood activities.

Project Objectives:

  • To serve the needs of children and youth living with diabetes
  • To enable children to learn life skills for managing their diabetes and become more self-sufficient
  • To help children learn they are not alone with their disease and they are able to make lifetime friendships
  • To provide a safe environment for childrenattending camp to just have fun

Program Action:

  • Camp Kno-Koma partners with local and national organizations to enhance training for children 7 years or older on how to manage their diabetes.
  • The camp established a Board consisting of trained medical staff and counselors to plan activities and ensure that the needs of the campers are met.
  • Each year the team works with former campers’ families to recruit children to participate in the camp. Many campers return annually because they learn valuable information and have fun with new friends.
  • Formal classes are given at camp but campers also learn informally about how to manage diabetes, prevent comas, and balance their meals from well-trained and knowledgeable medical staff and counselors, as well as their fellow campers.
  • At the end of each season the team evaluates the summer program to help improve camping experiences for the upcoming year.


  • Over the last five years approximately 650 youth have participated at Camp Kno-Koma.
  • The post camp survey found 93% of the children learned something new and 98% of the children indicate camp helped them cope with their diabetes.
  • The survey also found 100% of the children made new friends.
  • The majority of the camp counselors are past participants with a strong desire to teach children about diabetes and provide a great camp experience.

Primary web link for more information:
Program Areas:


State Contact Information:

Kenny Porter (havingfun@campknokoma.com) / Jessica Wright (Jessica.g.wright@wv.gov)

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