By Natalie Bayne
Hi, my name is Natalie Bayne. I am the new program director for Diabetes Solutions of Oklahoma and this is my story on how my obsession with summer camp helped me figure out my purpose in life.
For as long as I can remember, Camp Endres has been a part of my life and as much as I try to remember my first year as a camper, it’s all sort of a blur. I started going to Camp Endres in 2001 when I was 9 years old and even though I don’t remember much about that first year at camp, what I do remember was being incredibly homesick.
This is super hilarious to my parents because fast forward a few years and the homesickness I used to feel when I went to camp morphed into the horrible homesick “camp withdrawal” I would feel when I left. Similar to my first year at Camp Endres, I don’t really remember when my obsession with camp started but for as long as I can remember it has been my happy place. Camp Endres was where I met my best friends, where I fell in love, the place that taught me more lessons than any classroom, the place that saved my life and most importantly, where I figured out my purpose.
This past February I had the chance to attend the Diabetes Education & Camping Association conference. This is where I saw that if Diabetes Solutions of Oklahoma wanted to grow, more needed to be done and I knew, despite her best efforts, Kim couldn’t do it on her own.
Long story short, I took a leap of faith and officially joined the team at DSOK. This next year is going to be huge for us at Diabetes Solutions. We are hoping to expand our programs by reaching more individuals with T1D through events, social media, and to grow overall in our efforts to educate, encourage and empower people thriving with type one diabetes.
I owe my whole life to Camp Endres and DSOK, I know how much it saved me and all I want is to be able to help DSOK continue to do that for others just like me. I feel like the most blessed human on the planet because not only do I get to be able to be a part of something that I believe so strongly in, but I also get to do it with my best friend in the entire world, Hunter Hart, who also grew up attending Camp Endres. Hunter is living and working in another state during the year, but when camp time comes around, Hunter and I are side by side as Co-Program Directors.
My mission for DSOK is to keep these things not only available, but to also expand so that every person living with T1D has a community surrounding them so they never feel alone. A wise woman once told me “life with purpose is amazing” and I believe that this is mine. Making sure Diabetes Solutions of Oklahoma can continue introducing people with T1D to their people, the ones that keep them sane, know their struggles and really connect with them… because no one else gets it. THAT is what I’m all about!