Camp Trios offers summer day camp to youth with Type 1 Diabetes

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Four Tri-Cities teenagers have been attending Camp Trios for nearly a decade. Now, they’re excited to be mentors to other campers in the program.

Camp Trios started in 2012 as Camp KGH, with the goal to educate children about their Type 1 Diabetes. Camp mentors Luke Leibert, Ryker McDonald, Zack Darling and James Konzek have been attending the camp almost every summer since then.

“It’s a place where we get to come together, and not kind of be a different person,” said Liebert. “We get to kind of, unite over this thing that we have.”

Medical Director Whitney Fix-Lenas has been volunteering for the camp since her residency with Trios. “It’s a safe place for them to go because a lot of camps are hesitant and scared to take type one diabetics, so we’re giving them a safe place where they can learn about diabeties, how to handle it, and enjoy life and still have fun, still go to camp, and still meet great kids their age that are dealing with type one diabeties just like they are, said Fix-Lenas.

RELATED: Camp Trios educates children with diabetes

“They have it super streamlined to make you feel as normal as possible,” Darling says. “Normally, you know, when everyone else is just going and grabbing a snack, you have to dose for it, you have to check your blood sugars and everything. But here, everyone’s doing that so it’s a more normal environment and makes it feel more natural.”

Konzek, who attended the first camp at age seven, shares his favorite memory of Camp Trios:

“Every single year, for lunch on Tuesday, we would always have Subway. And Subway would come in these boxes, so every year, we would build something with the Subway boxes,” Konzek said. “Because working together, building something, it’s always fun.”

He was disappointed that Subway was not a lunch option this year, meaning they couldn’t create things out of boxes like they did in the past.

RELATED: Trios Health opens Spine and Interventional Pain Clinic in Southridge

Children aged 6 to 14 years old are eligible to participate as campers. Campers participate in a variety of activities each day, including rides at the Gesa Carousel of Dreams, field trips to the Splash Down Cove Water Park, and a family barbecue.

“It’s a good place for, especially these young kids that have diabetes, to be in a likewise environment with older kids that have the same conditions so that we can help each other out,” McDonald said. Mentors aged 15 to 18 years old participate in the camp as well, to assist the younger campers.

Businesses from across the Tri-Cities came together to make this camp accessible to everyone. Sponsors include the City of Kennewick, Tri-Cities Court Club, the Gesa Carousel of Dreams, Costa Vida, Swampy’s, Fire House Subs, among many others. Employees from both Trios Medical Groups and Lourde’s Health volunteered to help run the event.

To find more information about Camp Trios, including registration information, visit their website by clicking here.

RELATED: Trios Health restarts occupational, physical, and speech therapy services