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What We Do

Diabetes Camping and Educational Services (DCES) is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is dedicated to helping children and their families to better understand and manage their Type 1 diabetes.  DCES serves over 2,500 families annually from various backgrounds in the Southern California area in partnership with the region’s leading hospitals and educational institutions.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Type 1 diabetes is the single-most costly chronic disease. The programs and events we provide through education, support groups, family retreats, and youth camping programs are designed to see each and every child develop life-saving skills and reach a new level of confidence and self-esteem.

  DCES is open to all children and families impacted by Type 1 diabetes, and offers numerous opportunities and training for volunteers, medical, and dietary professionals and students.


*Financial Aid applications are available to those experiencing economic hardship.





Meet the Team


Steve Thronson - Board President

Dr. Kevin Kaiserman, MD - Medical Director

Dr. Josh May, MD - Medical Director

Dr. Michael Bolaris, MD - Advisory

Debi Wilson, M.S. - Board Secretary

Gary Wayland, CPA - Board Treasurer

Carole Superfine


Dr. Doris Graves, MD

Chet Pipkin

Erik Antonsson, PhD

John Moser

Roslynn Reese

Michael Tachvosky, PhD

Tom Johnstone, PhD

Tracey Lenocker, P.E.

Our History

Conrad Joungewaard, the Director of the Centinela Valley YMCA during the 1940’s, asked his support group called the Inglewood ‘Y’s Men Club, and the Y’s Mennetts (the female counterpart) to help build a place where nature and human nurture could come together. The volunteers worked together with the Calkin’s Family Construction Company, and built Camp at a site in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino Mountains – about 45 minutes south of Big Bear Lake. They named it Camp ‘Conrad’ in honor of the YMCA director who inspired its formation. The very first campers arrive in the summer of 1949.


In 1957, a young physician from the University at Loma Linda Hospital contacted the then current director of the YMCA Camp Conrad, Jim Risner, and asked if he could start a summer camp for children with Type 1 diabetes. The young physician, Dr. Robert F. Chinnock, wanted to provide children with diabetes a positive camping experience and demonstrate to everyone that, when managed correctly, these children could participate in the same activities considered only possible for children without diabetes. It was through the joint effort of these two pioneers, that the Southern California diabetes camping program was born.

Have questions? Check Out Our Frequently Asked Questions

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