University of Insulindependence

What an unbelievable week.

As I think I mentioned, I’ve volunteered to be a captain for Insulindependence this year. Basically that entails organizing and hosting monthly Dawn Phenom events (fitness oriented free events open to all), mentoring a youth with diabetes, participating in regional and signature events, and fundraising. The last week in June, all the incoming captains travelled to beautiful San Diego, California (insert Ron Burgandy quote here) for a week of education and inspiration to better prepare us for our roles. I was excited in the days leading up to the trip, and while my expectations were high, they were exceeded at nearly every turn.

The structure of the week was such that the first five days all the incoming captains stayed in dorm rooms on the campus of UCSD. I will admit to being on a relatively small number of college campuses, but UCSD just might be the least attractive and most confusing. The barren concrete buildings have a decidedly cold war east block look to them, and their seemingly random placement makes it difficult to get one’s bearing. Fortunately from my room I could look out to the Pacific ocean and all was right with the world again. Each of those first days started bright and early with a practicum. Monday and Wednesday involved all the captains, with a beach run on the former and LT/heart rate testing on the latter. Side note: my max heart rate is 190, and it REALLY hurt to find that out! Tuesday and Thursday the two clubs’ captains split, with us (Testing Limits) indoor rock climbing then snorkeling. Most of the rest of those days were filled with classroom and breakout sessions on all kinds of subjects from nutrition to fundraising to diabetes management and more. I have to say that in my life I’ve both given and sat through an inordinate number of presentations and training sessions, many of them terrible. Each one of the presenters here was well above average, and I think it’s safe to say we all learned a lot. 

To personally thank each of the volunteers, IN staff members, IN board members, and everyone else involved in the planning and execution would take up too much spas and be boring to many of the three people who will read this, so if one of you three was involved – thanks!

Moving on, Friday morning the Testing Limits crew piled into a van and headed an hour or so south to a campground who’s name escapes me for Wilderness First Aid training. I will admit here that I was a little bit apathetic going into this. I have been first aid and CPR certified forever and I was Combat Lifesaver certified in the Army so while I figured to learn a little bit I assumed it would be a rehash.  Boy was I wrong. The instructor from SOLO was amazing, like the MacGyver of first aid. I seriously recommend this course to anyone that spends any time in the woods, be it camping, hiking, trail running, or whatever.

Coming out of the week, now that I’ve had some time to decompress, I’m struck at just how much I came back with. In the short time I’ve been involved with IN, I felt that I had a pretty clear understanding where they were coming from and where they were headed; now I realize that there was so much more, and that the big picture is much bigger than I had dared believe. I’m also confident that I’ll look back at this week fondly for years to come. Spending time with like-minded adults who are also living with diabetes is a rare privilege, and one I am thankful for every time I experience it.

Also I now want to move to San Diego, but that’s a different post!

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