Macon Magazine

February/March 2017

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96 | M A C O N M A G A Z I N E F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 1 7 T his summer, Camp Little Shot will welcome 90 to 100 kids from across the state of Georgia. Ranging from ages 6 to 18, it's not just their state of residence, nor their choice of camp that these children have in common: Each of them has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That means, in addition to "normal camp stuff" like crafts and canoeing, at Little Shot they're also being educated about their chronic illness, said director Elizabeth Jones, RN and certified diabetes educator. The camp was founded in 1980 by her husband, Dr. Tom Jones, an endocrinologist who works with children and adult patients. Together they, along with a staff of medical professionals and volunteers, many of whom are former campers, help kids learn what's happening to them in an age-appropriate way, Jones said. While 6-year-olds might learn how to identify signs of low blood sugar and how to notify an adult, teenagers will learn medical terms and more sophisticated aspects of the illness. Of course, campers are there to have plenty of fun, too, with five days and four nights full of activities and camp-based magic that kids just can't get anywhere else. "There's that special spirit, just that feeling you get at camp. That's what we have," Jones said. Perhaps the best part of the camp is that it's free to attend. Through annual donations and planned fundraisers, Camp Little Shot is available to attendees at no charge. "Just by the grace of God we have always had enough money to have camp free," Jones said. "It's amazing." She said kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds attend. This year, Little Shot will put on a massive fundraiser in order to bring in money for the next three years. On Friday, March 17 , at 7 p.m., there will be a band and catered dinner at the Jones Center. Tickets are $75 per person and $125 per couple. Because the camp comes with a trained healthcare staff, Jones said parents don't have to worry about kids' safety while they're away. Additionally, all medications and supplies are provided to campers, free of cost. Through pharmaceutical donation programs, Little Shot obtains more than enough medicine and gear to supply campers all week long. Jones also works closely with a dietician to give kids healthy meals, without sacrificing taste, she said. "A lot of these kids are very singled out," she said. Adding that, due to a lack of medical care, they might not get to attend another camp. Or, that kids might feel isolated due to their illness. "Imagine a little boy from a small town, and he's the only child in his school who has diabetes. Now he comes to camp and there's 90 other kids just like him. Just imagine how transforming that is in his life." A feeling of belonging and learning how to strive with type 1 diabetes is what the camp is all about. But aside from education, it's the camp's goal to create better citizens, too. "We need all levels to make this successful. Part of our mission is to be able to teach children not only to care for their diabetes, but how to be successful in their communities," she said. "We build their self esteem up so they know they can do anything, even though they have diabetes." For more information and tickets, go to or call (478) 746-8626. Camp Little Shot Much more than a summer camp >> By Bethaney Wallace

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