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For more than 50 years, Camp Hamwi has offered a unique and exceptional summer camp experience for youths with diabetes.

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2024 Camp Programs

Diabetes Campers in canoe

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Camp Hamwi

Parent Documents:

Camp Fee: $200

  • Scholarships are available to cover or help cover the entrance fee for any family who qualifies based on income. We have lowered our fees in hope that families will help fundraise for camp by having lemonade stands, bakes sales, jump rope contests or penny wars. These are all great ways to raise money for a great cause.

From beginners to more practiced individuals, Camp Hamwi offers a diverse program for any skill level. The camp environment promotes a sense of team spirit and good sportsmanship in individual and group activities, and competitive and non-competitive challenges. Campers are encouraged to try new skills, and explore their unique individual potentials. Activity options include horseback riding, archery, volleyball, soccer, canoeing, swimming, arts and crafts, drama, dance, outdoor living skills, nature crafts, and outdoor adventure. Incorporated into the daily schedule are diabetes education sessions to increase campers’ understanding of diabetes. Each week, the program is specially designed to address the interests of a particular age group.

Senior Challenge (ages 13 – 17)
July 14-20, 2024
July 21-27, 2024
A more advanced program structured to challenge our oldest campers. Seniors are exposed to rappelling, river canoeing, overnight camping, initiative games and much more. Senior campers are privileged to invite a friend to attend Hamwi with them. Friends can use the application form, checking the appropriate “Friend” box.

Junior Challenge Week (ages 7 – 12)
July 28-August 3, 2024
Activities and programs are geared to entertain and encourage our youngest resident campers. Hayrides, water games, a talent show, and a treasure hunt are a few of the outrageous activities that make this program full of wholesome fun and delight. Special programs highlighting Junior week include a spectacular carnival celebration where everyone comes dressed in their zaniest attire.

More Information: Contact Anthony Myer, Youth & Family Program Director, 614-437-2914, amyer@lifecarealliance.org

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Day Camps

Parent Documents:

Camp Fee: $100

Kids Camp (ages 3-7)
June 3-7, 2024
Kids Camp encourages campers to explore their potential, try different activities, build friendships and learn about diabetes. Siblings are encouraged to be involved in the day camp experience.

Stepping Stones (ages 8-12)
June 3-7, 2024
Stepping Stones is an introductory program for youth with diabetes who want to explore what camping is all about before committing to one week at residential camp.

What is Camp Hamwi?

Campers learn to take control of their diabetes management while participating in exciting traditional summer camp activities. Diabetes education topics include nutrition and carbohydrate counting, insulin therapy, and blood glucose monitoring.

Camp staff include cabin counselors, social workers, nurses, dietitians, and physicians. Many staffers have diabetes themselves, and former campers can seek training to become part of the Camp Hamwi team.

While Camp Hamwi serves youths ages 7-17, children as young as 3 can participate in diabetes day camps.

LifeCare Alliance’s summer youth camps allow children and families to connect with a community of support, part of a lifelong path to living well while navigating the challenges of diabetes.

Campers jumping into a pool together

Camp Hamwi History

1964

The Central Ohio Diabetes Association (CODA) was founded in Columbus in 1964, with Dr. George Hamwi as its president.  Dr. Hamwi died suddenly in early 1967.  He was succeeded by Dr. Richard Fulton.

1967

In April 1967, a public meeting was held on the theme, “The Diabetic Child.”  One of the speakers was Mr. John Alden, coordinator of the Dayton Camp for Diabetic Children.  He presented the rationale for their camping program and showed a video taken at such a camp.  The Board of CODA discussed the feasibility of a camp for children with diabetes at its June meeting.  Dr. Fulton appointed a committee of three, Dr. Robert Goldberg, Mrs. Stockum and Dr. Willard Fernald to pursue this possibility.

During the summer of 1967, Mr. Tom Spitler, then executive secretary of CODA, visited the diabetes camp in Dayton. The Rev. Elliot Fair, minister of the East Broad Street Baptist Church, whose youngest son had just developed diabetes, suggested they consider Camp Judson Hills. Rev. Fair was named Director and specific planning began.

1968

Camp Hamwi’s predecessor, Camp Spill-A-Little, was held at Judson Hills during the last week in August. Camp size that year was limited to 40 campers ages 8-15. Thirty-seven campers attended.

Counselors were chosen from young people known to the committee, many of whom were still in high school. Medical management was provided on a daily rotation by physician members of the Board of CODA. Urine testing was performed four times a day.  At the end of each day, each child’s test results were reviewed and the next day’s insulin dosage planned.  The last camp activity was the midnight round by the doctor and one nurse, checking each camper for signs of hypoglycemia. Rev. Elliot Fair was the first Camp Director.

1969

CODA ran two, one-week camp sessions.  The weeks were divided by age groups 9-12 and 12-15. Each could accommodate 40 campers.  This continued to be the length of camp until 1988, when camp was expanded to add a third week.

1976

Rev. Fair remained the camp director until he moved from Columbus to New Hampshire in 1976.  By this time, one of the first group of counselors, Mr. Lou Saslaw, had graduated from the University of Michigan.  He came to the Board of CODA with a vision of the need for a youth director.  His proposal that he be the youth director was accepted, with the stipulation that he raise his own salary.  Money to cover his salary initially was borrowed from the Hamwi fund.  He organized the first Swim-a-thon, a very successful venture, and the Hamwi fund was reimbursed.  He had assisted Rev. Fair as second in command, and as youth director was available to be director of Camp Hamwi.  Working with him as program director was another of that first group, Mr. Ron Gray.

1978

Camp was renamed Camp Hamwi. Base Camp, ages 8-12. Senior Program, ages 13-17.

1981

Blood testing had been simplified, and glucose monitoring was becoming the method of choice in diabetes management.  This was the first year blood testing was utilized at camp, along with urine testing.  In 1982, it was used for all the campers.

1984

Camp Hamwi began taking place on the grounds of Camp Mohaven in Danville, Ohio. The search committee was led by Bob DeWood, youth director from 1982-1984. The Counselors-In-Training program also started in 1984.

1988

Camp was expanded to three weeks. This included the Senior Challenge for ages 14-17, Explorer Camp Program for ages 11-13, and the Trailblazers Program for ages 7-10.

1989

CODA Kids Camp, the agency’s first day camp, was started for children ages 3-7. It ran Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., located at Hoover Y Park, south of Columbus.

1993

Stepping Stones was started for ages 8-12. It ran Wednesday through Saturday.

1999

Children with type 2 diabetes begin attending Camp Hamwi.

2009

Camp went to two weeks: Senior Challenge, ages 13-17, and Junior Challenge, ages 7-12.

2020

In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Camp Hamwi went to a virtual, two-week program for all campers age 4-17.

2021

Camp Hamwi expanded back to 3 weeks. Kids Camp and Stepping Stones were both expanded to Monday-Friday day camps with before and after care.

Meet the Staff

Melinda Rowe, BSN, RN

Melinda Rowe has been the Wellness Director at LifeCare Alliance since 2016 and Director of LifeCare Alliance Diabetes Services since December 2021.

She leads a team of registered nurses and registered dietitians, which serve the community in many wellness functions. The RNs operate wellness centers in Franklin County to help seniors with foot care, wellness assessments, and referrals. The RNs also administer immunizations for the community and participate in corporate wellness services. The RDs focus on medical nutrition therapy for diabetics, nutritional consults for the Meals-on-Wheels programming of the agency, and corporate wellness services. Melinda is always looking to enhance the department’s programming while serving the community and agency.

If you have questions or comments about how you can support LifeCare Alliance’s efforts to help people with diabetes live their best lives, contact Melinda at 614-437-2880 or mrowe@lifecarealliance.org

Anthony Myer headshot

Anthony Myer

Anthony is LifeCare Alliance’s Director of Youth and Family Programs, but he is also a Camp Hamwi alumnus!

Anthony began attending Camp Hamwi in 2005 and became a staff member in 2008. He earned his bachelor of science in biology from Ashland University. Anthony joined LifeCare Alliance full-time in January 2019 .

Having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Anthony is passionate about the impact that LifeCare Alliance can have in the diabetes community. In his free time, Anthony enjoys going to concerts, playing disc golf, hanging with friends, and spending quality time with his daughter. If you have any questions about camp or any of the youth and family programs, you can reach Anthony at 614-437-2914 or via email at amyer@lifecarealliance.org.

Luke Holcomb

Luke is LifeCare Alliance’s Assistant Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs, starting his Camp Hamwi experience as a staff member in 2021!

Luke is currently in school at Capital University, studying towards a bachelors in the communication field. Luke joined LifeCare Alliance in September of 2023, and will become full time in May of 2024.

Being a non-diabetic, Luke fell in love with the program after being recruited in 2021 by a camp alumni, and has been involved ever since. Luke loves to travel, ride his bike, thrift for new clothes, and hang out with his family. If you have any questions about camp or any of the youth and family programs, you can reach Luke at 614-437-2919 or via email at lholcomb@lifecarealliance.org.

Emily Turville

Emily is Camp Hamwi’s registered dietitian and nutrition coordinator. She received her undergraduate degree from Miami University in 2011 and her MS in Medical Dietetics from The Ohio State University in 2019. During the Camp Hamwi off-season, Emily serves as a LifeCare Alliance Wellness Dietitian working with clients in the Meals-on-Wheels program and providing medical nutrition therapy to members of the local community.

During her free time, Emily can often be found whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, tending to her plant “jungle,” going on long walks/hikes, or playing a board game with her partner, Garrett. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she loves going to lunch or dinner with friends, making Boba tea, and snagging a fresh donut from Destination Donuts on a Saturday morning.

If you have any food or nutrition questions about Camp Hamwi, you can reach Emily at 614-437-2882 or via email at eturville@lifecarealliance.org.