Nonprofit Spotlight: Camp offers fun for kids with diabetes

Farm Forum

Nancy Hartung is a diabetes educator and organizer for Camp Gilbert.

Greetings from Camp Gilbert! My name is Nancy Hartung. I am a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator from Aberdeen.

I became involved with Camp Gilbert in 2003 when I volunteered for the first time as a nurse at camp. That was also the first summer my son, Daniel, attended Camp Gilbert. I have been an integral part of Camp Gilbert since, sitting on the board of directors and camp planning committee.

Camp Gilbert is a week-long summer camp for kids with Type I diabetes. Each year, we welcome approximately 85 campers ages 8 to 18 years. Camp Gilbert is one of just a few diabetes camps in the country that offers camp for high school-age kids.

This year’s camp is July 14-19.

Camp Gilbert has been held at Lutheran’s Outdoors NeSoDak Camp on Enemy Swim Lake each summer for the last 20 years. Our camp staff is made up of NeSoDak summer staff, along with approximately 40 Camp Gilbert volunteers. Our volunteer staff includes pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified diabetes educators, nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists, as well as nonlicensed folks.

The camp is not affiliated with any health system. In recent years, we have been blessed with volunteers from Sanford Children’s Clinic and Sanford Adult Endocrinology in Sioux Falls, Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls, Brown Clinic in Watertown, Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center and Sanford Aberdeen Clinic. Many of our staff members are former campers. The common denominator for all of our staff is a love for children with diabetes.

Camp Gilbert received its incorporation in 2007 and is an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We operate strictly on donations and camper registration fees. The cost for a camper to attend Camp Gilbert this year is $625, which covers room and board for the week of camp, food, diabetes supplies, educational programming, traditional camp activities and more.

Each year, the cost of running a medically based camp increases, as do requests for scholarships. We do our best to keep costs down and have never turned away a camper because of inability to pay.

We do not have a consistent funding source, although various organizations have taken Camp Gilbert under their wing over the years. The Aberdeen American News Celebrity Pheasant Hunt was an annual event for nine consecutive years. Lions Club organizations from around the state sponsor many individual campers. Cosmopolitan International, Sanford and Children’s Miracle Network provide us with gifts each year, as well. The Aberdeen Chamber Leadership Aberdeen Class of 2013 raised money with their SNOLF Tournament in March that will help with scholarships for Aberdeen-area campers.

Camp Gilbert has been serving children with diabetes for more than 20 years. Our mission is to educate children with diabetes about their disease in an environment where the child can have fun and be safe. “Until There’s a Cure . . . There’s Camp Gilbert.”

For more information, please visit our website,, or contact me at 605-626-4794 or