A little over a week ago I went on a winter leadership retreat that was organized by an organization called I Challange Diabetes (ICD). ICD’s vision is to support, empower, and connect people living with Diabetes by providing challenging programs to test the limits of living with the disease, and high-quality services to help them grow and take accountability for their own health.
Personally, I love adventures and outdoor activities so I was more than excited to go to the retreat. However, and more importantly prior to going to the retreat I was facing some hard times in regards to dealing with my diabetes. So I decided to set a few goals to accomplish: first and most importantly, was gaining back my motivation and independence to care for myself and secondly, learn new skills to help empower and support other individuals living with type 1 diabetes.
|Building our tall tower from marshmallows and sticks|
After such an experience, I really encourage any diabetics to find an organization or an event to meet up with others who live with diabetes that understand the challenges, struggles, and successes that come from dealing with diabetes. If you’re in Canada check out ICD. It was such a great feeling to be surrounded by 25 other people who just like me deal with diabetes day in and day out. It was inspiring to hear their successes, anywhere from competing in the Olympics to finally giving insulin in a new area of their body. It was eye opening to hear about their struggles and how they persevered and pushed through it. It is such a unique feeling to speak to someone who tells you “I’ve been through it and I understand you”. When we went hiking there were close to 8 people that went low at the same time … it is such a great feeling to feel like “I’m not the only one”. Having to test blood sugars before eating was another unique experience that doesn’t occur often at home. Everyone testing at the same time and calling out their blood sugar readings. Often people feel judged about their diabetes and at the retreat, there was no judgment at all. There was support and motivation to help others.
While the few days spent was full of adventures like snow tubing, surfing the freezing Canadian winter, experiencing my first-meter error because the weather was too cold. I learnt from others around me how to keep my meter warm to avoid a reoccurrence of that problem and managed to test using a friends meter. In general making new friendships and bonding with people my age, I learned several valuable lessons to better improve my leadership skills. I learned different methods of leadership skills and when each skill is needed depending on the situation.For example, sometimes stepping in to give support where I am strong might disrupt someone’s healthy learning process and other times guiding someone through a challenge that would otherwise overwhelm them could give them the critical help they need to succeed.
Overall if there is one thing I want you to get out of this blog post is find your people … your tribe! It will be an experience remembered for many years to come!!