What a weekend! Over 50 adults of all ages from the Type 1 community participated in the first-ever Summer Slipstream on the weekend of September 16-18. Hosted at Camp Can-Aqua in Cardiff, Ontario, we enjoyed a gorgeous lake view and the rustic perks of summer camp camp life all weekend long. It was a great opportunity to learn, connect, relax, and try something new. Many thanks go to our sponsors who made this event possible – Animas Canada, BD, and Omnipod. There were a few special highlight moments I’d like to reflect upon to sum up the retreat.
Thanks to the support of Type 1 Think Tank, we were able to have the wonderful Erica Bota join us for Slipstream Weekend, as a graphic recorder. Erica helped us to represent our learning through visuals, and facilitation connections in a new way. See Erica’s work below, and at www.thinklinkgraphics.com
Learning from the experts: each other!
Over the weekend, education sessions on many different topics were presented, including Type 1 diabetes technology, exercise science, and communication strategies. We are so thankful to all the presenters who shared their knowledge with the Type 1 group, but I would be amiss if I didn’t also acknowledge every participant for sharing their personal knowledge, experience, and feedback with the group. Many of the sessions were hosted in an interactive format, which allowed expertise to be heard not just from the presenter, but from many participants as well! From Friday evening, right through until Sunday afternoon, almost every conversation I heard was filled with questions, answers, and discussion about each other’s diabetes strategies. Compiled together, our Type 1 group was like a library full of Type 1 diabetes information!
This was one of the stand-out aspects of the weekend – more than 50 unique individuals who have Type 1 diabetes in common, eager to learn from each other about the different sports or activities they do, the foods they eat, the technology and tools they use to manage Type 1 diabetes, resources they access in the Type 1 community, and more. For many in our group, this was their first time ever attending a CIM event, so they added fresh, new perspectives to the mix. One of our Friday evening ice breaker activities foreshadowed this perfectly! Each person was given a puzzle piece for their nametag – and by the end of the night, each piece had been fit together with the others to make one whole puzzle – each unique piece mattered! Similarly through the weekend, whether someone had been diagnosed only months ago, or 40 years ago, every single person had something valuable to add or teach to the Type 1 group, and we all left with pocketfuls of new knowledge, thanks to each other!
We REALLY hoped the rainy forecast would pass us by, but Saturday ended up being wet, as predicted – but even a day full of rain couldn’t dampen the adult camp spirit! Despite the rain, we got outside and active, whether on the water in canoes, kayaks, or on stand-up paddleboards, testing out the low-ropes course, or hiking the trail around the lake. Through my eyes, this was a perfect metaphor for life with Type 1 diabetes, and very reflective of CIM’s purpose for existing. Things won’t always go exactly as planned, conditions won’t always be ideal, but with some planning and preparation, you can still jump in and enjoy the experience. And that’s just what everyone did!
Luckily, the skies cleared up on Sunday morning for our final activity session, and again, we made sure to make the most of it! Peter took a group on a Voyageur canoe adventure around the lake, and we watched them power through the water, paddles in sync. Another Type 1 group spent the morning getting in touch with their primal instincts, battling through a very intense (and from what I hear, incredibly FUN) game of archery tag. A few others took advantage of the warm rays and relaxed with some stand-up paddleboarding (and some impressive paddle board yoga moves, too). Needless to say, there was plenty to keep us moving throughout the weekend, and it was awesome to see the smiles and camaraderie that were present through rain AND shine!
Kickin’ back at the campfire
After making it through a very wet day on Saturday, the rain finally let up in the evening, just in time for us to spend some quality time around the campfire. What would a weekend retreat be without some quality campfire time before bed? We strapped on headlamps and hiked out in the dark to the fire pit, which overlooked the lake, and was surrounded by forest. We got to sit back and enjoy a bright moon and loons calling to each other on the water. The campfire was initiated with a Slipstream Tradition known as the Slipstream Toast – we recognized the hard work we all put in, day after day, to manage life with Type 1 diabetes. For the next few hours we bonded over hilarious stories, tasty s’mores, and classic songs accompanied by voices AND instruments – including a guitar, a ukulele, and even a harmonica! I think the campfire might have actually doubled as an abdominal workout for most of us, judging by the amount of laughter we produced!
Type 1 diabetes was the commonality that brought us all together for the Summer Slipstream weekend, but by the end of Sunday, I felt like we all appreciated what made us each different and unique in our personal lives. Three (not even full) days is a very short time to get to know someone, but the sessions, activities, discussions (and hugs!) we shared with each other left lasting impressions. Personally, I have already had the chance to reach out to people from the retreat for someType 1 diabetes troubleshooting assistance in one of their areas of experience. This is the absolute best part of Summer Slipstream…the conversation doesn’t stop even when the weekend has ended! We are all looking forward to seeing everyone from Summer Slipstream again, whether at next year’s retreat or at another CIM event! Thanks to everyone who came and contributed their piece of the puzzle to our amazing Type 1 community!