Indiana University Kokomo’s School of Nursing students think children in this community are a big deal. So much so, they have a week of activities planned for kids who suffer from diabetes, asthma, or just want to get in shape.

The summer camps are a way for the campus to give back to the community – one of the three themes, outlined by Chancellor Michael Harris, that drives IU Kokomo’s mission.

Nursing student Teresa Cole aspires to work in a pediatrician’s office or in labor and delivery after graduation, adding that the camp would be a learning experience for the students as well as the campers.

“They (children) have to learn it isn’t their fault they have diabetes,” Cole said. “They have to deal with those feelings, and the feeling of being different from the other kids. This camp gives them a chance to make friends with kids like them.”

There is still time to enroll in the Indiana University Kokomo School of Nursing’s summer camps, which begins Monday, June 11.

Nursing students serve as counselors, educating the campers, ages 6 to 13, on living with their condition, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. Cost is minimal, at $20 per child, and scholarships are available.

The camps include Kidds Kamp, for children with diabetes; Camp-Eeze-the-Wheeze, for children with asthma; and Fit Camp, for children who want to learn about physical fitness and healthy living.

Lynda Narwold, assistant dean for the School of Nursing and camp coordinator, said each day begins with an educational program. After that, “the rest of the day is for play,” she said, with games, crafts and other activities.

For many of the diabetic kids, the week is their first camp experience because their parents have been afraid they would not manage their condition in an active environment.

“We have three registered nurses and a respiratory therapist on site at all times,” she said. “We have people who can help the children learn to monitor their insulin and manage it while being active. The experience helps them realize that even though they have something to deal with, they still can be active.”

A highlight of the camp is a day with IU Kokomo’s sports teams, on Thursday, June 14. The newly-formed cross country team will lead the campers in running, then the men’s basketball team and women’s volleyball team will teach sports skills.

Narwold said she is grateful for community support for the camps. In April, approximately 160 people bought Pacers tickets in a School of Nursing fundraiser, which provided $800 for scholarships and other expenses.

Applications will be accepted until the camp begins Monday.

For more information about the camps, or to request an application, call Narwold at 765-455-9308 or e-mail lnarwold@iuk.edu. The camps are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 11 to June 15 at Jackson Morrow Park, 4200 S. Park Road, Kokomo.