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Get to know our program

Camp Jean Nelson was founded in 1957 by the camp’s namesake, Jean Nelson. Jean was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of five and was instrumental in diabetes education both professional and personally—she not only spearheaded our summer camping program but also opened the Calgary Branch of Diabetes Canada. Since 2014, Camp Jean Nelson has enjoyed a partnership with Kids Cancer Care Alberta’s Camp Kindle.

Leadership development program

Our Leadership Development Program (LDP) is designed for youth with diabetes who have an interest in developing their leadership skills. This program is the first step to becoming a D-Camps counselor—a lot of our staff have been through the program and it shows!

This program is divided into two segments (LDP 1 and LDP 2) based on age. Both segments will teach strong leadership skills through hands-on experiences, high quality coaching and guidance from trained staff, and consistent feedback.

The goal of LDP is for youth to return from camp with an increase in confidence, skills to lead a group and an increased understanding of the qualities of a good leader.

Camp life

Camp Jean Nelson takes place in the picturesque Rocky Mountain Foothills, just outside of Water Valley. Camp Kindle offers 160 acres of rolling hills, forest and waterways, along with all the modern amenities you need for the perfect camp experience.

At Camp Jean Nelson, campers sleep in dorms with their cabin-mates. The dorms have separate rooms, each accommodating four to 10 campers of the same gender. Each of these beautiful modern dorms is equipped with electric lights, bunk beds, washrooms, showers and counsellor sleeping quarters.

In each cabin group of 14 to 16 campers of similar age, there is a minimum of three camp counsellors, of which at least two are hired by Diabetes Canada.

Proudly Supported By: 

Baytex Energy logo, company name


Location Details

Camp Jean Nelson
29479 Range Road 6.1 A
Water Valley, AB
T0M 2E0

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About the Camp

Campers & Staff

Our campers

Aimed at teens ages 16 to 17, our program accepts 10 leadership campers per session.

LDP 1 session

LDP 1 is for youth who have turned 16 prior to June 30, 2019.

In this program, participants will be led by our LDP Directors. Our Directors will work with the participants (LDP 1s) to develop basic leadership skills like conflict resolution, communicating clearing, setting goals for yourself and others, leading by example among other important attributes of a leader.

LDP 2 session

LDP 2 is for youth who have turned 17 prior to June 30, 2019.

In this program, participants (LDP 2s) will be led by our LDP Directors. Our Directors will work with the LDP 2s to further develop leadership skills with a focus on being a leader in the camp community. Skills like camper care, dealing with homesickness, planning and leading programs and games and being a positive type 1 diabetes role model. LDP 2s will be spending a substantial portion of their time at camp shadowing counselors in a cabin group. They will have the opportunity to use the skills they are developing and receive feedback from the D-Camps staff team.

Our staff

Leadership development staff

The LDP are headed up by our Leadership Directors who complement the existing program and medical staff. Our LDP directors all have standard first-aid and CPR/C, as well as multiple years experience working in a summer camp setting.

Health-care team

Led by Dr Karin Winston from Alberta Children's Hospital, our medical staff team is a dedicated, committed group of health care professional who understand how important the camp experience is for children and youth living with type 1 diabetes.

There are 30 people on the Med Team at Camp Jean Nelson each week. Each cabin group is paired with one group of medical professionals so they have the opportunity to get to know each other well.

Many members of our Med Team work in diabetes management full-time. Others have personal connections to type 1 diabetes and some even live with it.

The Med Team is always on hand for your camper and acts as a great resource, whether your child is newly diagnosed or approaching adulthood. They are a crucial element of the Camp Jean Nelson experience.


Over the course of the leadership development programs, participants will learn to facilitate the following activities in order to develop hard-skills that are necessary to become a counselor:

Hard Skill Development 

  • Canoeing
  • Swimming
  • Challenge courses
  • Outdoor living skills
  • Creative arts

LDP 1 program

Over the course of the LDP 1 program, participants will focus on the following skills to help grow as leaders at camp in the community:

Soft Skill Development 

  • Conflict resolution
  • Problem solving
  • Team work
  • Communication
  • Goal setting
  • How to be a positive role model

LDP 2 program

Over the course of the LDP 2 program, participants will be spending a substantial portion of their time at camp shadowing counselors in a cabin group. They will have the opportunity to use the skills they are developing and receive feedback from the D-Camps staff team. In addition they should expect participate in the following activities:

Soft Skill Development 

  • Camper care
  • Leadership
  • Team work
  • Problem solving
  • Shadowing counselors in a camper team


In the guide, you will find information on:

  • Packing lists
  • Directions and transportation for drop off and pick up
  • Glucose monitoring policy
  • Mailing address

2023 Camp Guide

2023 Jean Nelson LDP Information Guide

Rates & Dates

LDP 1 Program

July 22 - August 3, 2024


Age Rate
Youth (16) $1500

LDP 2 Program

July 22 - August 3, 2024

Age Rate
Youth (17) $1500

If this fee is a challenge for you and your family Diabetes Canada offers subsidies to those who qualify for financial assistance. These subsidies are made possible through the generous support of various donors. 

It is our responsibility to ensure that donations go to support families experiencing financial hardship that would make attending camp impossible. 

To determine eligibility for a subsidy, you will be asked to complete a financial assistance application. When reviewing applications, income will not be the only consideration in whether an applicant qualifies for subsidy. Our goal is to ensure that all campers have an opportunity regardless of their financial situation while using donations as prudently as possible. 

Who is eligible for financial support? 
You may be eligible for a subsidy if you:

  1. Receive financial assistance from an identified government program, OR

  2. Experience financial hardship and do not receive government financial assistance.


What does financial hardship mean? 
Financial hardship means that a person has difficulty paying for basic daily living expenses (e.g. food, shelter, clothing), and does not have access to savings or other financial resources. 

Note: Supporting documents will be required to determine eligibility. Please be prepared to provide a copy of your paystub, T4 or Notice of Assessment to accompany your application. 

Important to note: 
To ensure that we are providing equitable access to financial assistance we will not be able to consider you request until you have completed the financial assistance application form in full. This includes the requested supporting documents