Diabetes is an isolating disease, but the ‘silver lining’ is the friendships one forms doing things like the Texas Regional Retreat hosted by the Texas A&M CDN Chapter in College Station, Texas. This was the second such retreat held among Texas CDN Chapters. I attended the first retreat in 2019 held in Austin. It was similarly set up, however there were changes made which balanced the retreat a little (such as moving activities from Saturday to Sunday). The support from CDN makes this affirming event possible.
Our club had great bonding experiences during our time to, from, and at the retreat. We stopped on our way to College Station at a member’s parents’ home where we enjoyed dinner and s’mores. It was great to be able to relax and appreciate each other’s company in a home setting. Thanks to the Creel family for hosting us.
The first morning of the retreat (Saturday) all Texas CDN Chapter members met at the event and played some icebreaker games, my favorite being speed dating. The way the numbers panned out most of the Lumberbetics were on one side of the table and A&M’s CDN Chapter was on the other side and we asked/answered a few questions for about a minute or two and moved on to the next person. It was fun to reinforce everyone’s name (and fact about themselves) while learning even more about them.
"Our club had great bonding experiences during our time to, from, and at the retreat."
After icebreakers, we went to an Innovation Fair and talked to diabetes product vendors. We were introduced to some up-and-coming products, some of which I will be talking to my endocrinologist about! Personally, I was intrigued by the Gvoke liquid stable glucagon and seeing the Inpen’s app set-up. The Innovation Fair was followed by lunch where more socializing was the main entrée.
After lunch, two diabetes Instagram influencers, @typeoneday (Raquel Baron) and @everyday_t1d (Austin Fuerst), shared their life experiences with diabetes. This was interesting because it wasn’t just their experience with diabetes, but rather their experience sharing diabetes with the world. Their panel concluded day one. It was a great day that strengthened my knowledge of diabetes, introduced me to new acquaintances, and allowed me to catch up with old friends.
Saturday evening, we descended en masse on a local restaurant and had an excellent dinner together. Having that time to eat and relax and just be blessed with the company of each other was exactly what the Lumberbetics and our friends from other CDN Chapters needed.
"Words of affirmation is one of my all-time favorite things, so this activity made me feel really good."
On Sunday morning, we started the day with the first of two breakout sessions. In my breakout session, we talked about maintaining community within our clubs. I got some really great ideas for what to do with the Lumberbetics this semester. For example, we plan on making shirts for our chapter this semester. After the first breakout session, we did an activity that was easily my favorite for the whole weekend: we wrote our names on a piece of paper and then sent it around the table; each person writing a little note of encouragement or admiration as every person’s paper came to them. Words of affirmation is one of my all-time favorite things, so this activity made me feel really good. Not only reading the nice things people wrote for me, but also knowing that people would be taking in the kind words I wrote about them made my heart soar.
In the second session as one large group, we watched a video from Jiggy Yoon about her struggles with diabetes and mental health. We ended the retreat with a warm and sensitive discussion about our own mental health experiences and its relation to diabetes. We ended things with lots of pictures and saying our goodbyes. Lumberbetics wrapped things up in College Station lunch and our last bit of bonding for the weekend.
I was excited to see old friends and make new ones; I had fun and the activities we did exceeded my expectations. Overall, the weekend was full of awesome activities, thought-provoking breakout sessions, and expanding our dia-horizons.