I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of teenagers attending a diabetes camp. A big group of diabetic teenagers of course.
I made the long trek out to a small town north of Albany, New York. I will admit that when I agreed to do this I probably maybe didn't really look at the distance I would be driving. Hamilton to Albany for an hour of speaking was a long day! But like many things Team Type 1 and diabetes related it was totally worth it.
The drive out there was certainly long but I relaxed while stopping at every service station that had a Starbucks in it. I had some good music, good coffee and beautiful sunshine. It was my first ever speaking event where I was alone and in front of so many people. There were about 25 teens as well as the camp organizers. The camp is called Sugar Free Gang Kamp for kids and teens put on by the local diabetes education support group.
I was surprised at how calm and lacking in nerves I was. I can't say I have ever been a good public speaker but I've learned that when I am talking about something I am passionate about and know so well, the nerves seem non-existent. Thanks to the team I had a big box of water bottles to hand out which the teens really loved.
The basis of this years' camp theme was "Bear with ME". With the expression being obvious and the "ME" standing for "Move more, eat right." I will say that it felt a bit weird talking all about me for that long. I had a slide show of various pictures I compiled of myself doing all the things I love while managing type 1 diabetes. Pictures of me rock climbing, running, backpacking, canoeing, racing bikes and everything in between.
I told two very big stories. One was how a diabetes failure ruined my first marathon, the other was how I very successfully completed a 100mile Tour de Cure with amazing BG's. I told these two stories to get across that you can't always win but with patience and hard work, you certainly can.
I really enjoyed doing this despite the long drive there (and subsequent long drive home). It was rewarding and the teens didn't seem nearly as bored as I was worried about. I received some great questions at the end as well. There were so many things I wished I could have kept talking about but that would have taken forever.
In my "push puppet" way. Totally slumped over waiting for a low to pass