The Active Diabetes Community: An Evolution

Official announcements were made last week about the winding down of Insulindependence – the organization that has helped blaze the trails for adventure, sport, and experiential diabetes education throughout the past 10 years. IN has been an invaluable mentor and partner to CIM as we’ve grown.

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News of another member of the diabetes community shutting its doors is difficult to digest and it’s doors are closing at a chilling rate, especially within the active diabetes community. (As a scary reminder, the Diabetes Exercise and Sport Association wound down its operations in a 2012 merger with Insulindependence. And Team WILD closed its doors shortly after, in 2013.) The news from Insulindependence becomes even harder to hear as the organization’s mission was so unequivocally in line with everything CIM stands for.

Connected in Motion recognizes the important role that IN has played in building and supporting the active diabetes community. We want to see that community continue to thrive – We have felt firsthand the impact that connecting with peers, learning, and growing together can have on our lives. The impact is often so profound it is difficult to measure and hard to do justice with words. We want to be sure that people living with diabetes continue to have these experiences – that people continue to challenge themselves and each other, creating a strong and supportive, active and adventurous community. A community that can be leaned on in times of need, that will kick your butt to help you reach your goals, and that will continue to inspire one another and generations to come to live healthy, active lives with diabetes. We want to see that community to  grow – across Canada, throughout North America, and why stop there? Around the world!

"We are creating a community of people with type 1 who can build off each other to achieve goals and dreams previously inconceivable." - Western Slipstream Participant

“We are creating a community of people with type 1 who can build off each other to achieve goals and dreams previously inconceivable.” – Western Slipstream Participant

That seems like a big job, right?  How could CIM ever support a task so gargantuan? Fill a gap so massive? (Because, after all, we know there aren’t a whole lot of places that you can get the kind of support and education that we’re talking about here.)

To understand our thinking, it’s important to know a little bit about how CIM got to where it is today. CIM was founded in 2008. We began to expand our programs to Western Canada in 2010 and adventured into the United States in 2012 (where we hosted our first US Slipstream in partnership with Insulindependence and Riding on Insulin.) We have always made it a priority to work with the existing diabetes community – partnering and supporting where we can to ensure that the needs of the community drive our programming objectives and that the local culture is enhanced, not diminished.

In anticipation of IN’s operations coming to a close, the CIM Team has been exploring the ways that we can be there to support the active diabetes community. We have always thought of the diabetes community as a family, and we want to be sure that no one is left without a home – without somewhere that they feel they belong, where they can connect, and where people just ‘get it’. With those sentiments, along with the deep respect we have for what Insulindependence stood for driving our brainstorming sessions over the past months, we have made some exciting progress. Many of the challenges that we have faced in bringing CIM programming to life outside of Ontario, Canada have been tackled leaving doors open that had not existed for us in the past. We are so excited at the adventures that await us and are well on our way to bringing more experiential diabetes education programming to life in the United States. (And don’t worry – Across Canada, too! Check out what we already have planned.)

The amazing people who helped CIM kick off Slipstreams in the US. You Rock!

The amazing people who helped CIM kick off Slipstreams in the US. You Rock!

The CIM Team is stoked at the opportunities that are out there. We can’t wait to connect with some of the most passionate people in the active diabetes community and to share adventures with more Type 1s – to be able to forget about the challenges of the Canada-US border and build a cohesive community that knows no limits. 

As we move forward on this adventure, we would like to invite you to share your thoughts, ideas, and dreams with us, helping us to design a new chapter in the evolution of the active diabetes community. Help us learn where there is need, what those needs are, and what adventures you dream of taking. We need help from our existing diabetes community here in Canada, as well as the active diabetes community in the United States to help us grow and better understand what’s next: Fill out our Survey! 

We also invite you to help us build a way to begin communicating with the community in the US. CIM sends an email approximately once per month. We focus on spreading the word about active diabetes community happenings and CIM programming that is relevant to you (and as much as we can, local to you.) Our mailing list will be the best way to stay in touch and to help breathe new life into the active diabetes community. As always, your personal information will remain under lock and key with CIM (Canada has some very strict privacy and anti-spam laws. We don’t mess around!) Remember, the more demographic information you can share, the more we can understand the community that we serve. To help us build this list, drop us a line here.

Finally, a special and heartfelt THANK YOU to the amazing individuals who worked so hard and dedicated their lives to building Insulindependence into the inspiration that it became. Beyond just building an organization, you’ve created a movement and changed our ways of thinking about sport and diabetes. You have broken down barriers that, before IN existed, would have limited so many individuals with diabetes from reaching the potential that they now realize is possible. You’ve earned our deepest gratitude and respect, and we thank you for paving the way for us and many others to come as we work to breathe fresh air into diabetes education.

To learn more about Insulindependence’s announcement last week, read on: http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=fbc5183f22ba70186d285a641&id=aac00504a1