Kudzu Spotlight

Camp Kudzu is dedicated to educating, empowering, and inspiring children and teens living with type 1 diabetes, promising that until there’s a cure, there’s camp. Read how the lives of our campers and volunteers have been impacted by camp:

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“Volunteering at Kudzu is the highlight of my year, year after year.  It is a privilege to serve your community and you will gain so much more than you give.”

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“Ivey Zezulka’s parents describe her as kind, compassionate, and loving! She is always up for anything fun! Ivey is creative, artistic, and athletic, as well as outgoing and optimistic. Everywhere she goes she makes friends and both kids and adults love her. “



“Camp is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.” Lola expressed in her speech at Camp Kudzu’s 11th Annual Benefit Luncheon.

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“The most helpful tip I learned from camp was to not focus on diabetes so much, and not let it define me.”

[cq_vc_testimonialcarousel names=”Camper Parent,Former Camper,Camper Parent,Camper Parent ,Camp Volunteer,Camper Parent” subtitles=”” tbackgroundcolor=”#1e73be” ttextcolor=”#ffffff” autoplay=”on” namesize=”18px”]When I came to pick up my son, I saw a young boy who was no longer shy or dismayed about his condition. He was empowered. No more issues of the past, eyes wide open to take on each day. Thank you 10 million times x 10 over and over.

Camp is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s my favorite part of the year.

Other parents have asked me why Amy is so independent with her diabetes management. I tell them it is all from Camp Kudzu. Amy has only been diagnosed for a year and a half and is so much more educated than the kids that have been diagnosed for years. I can’t say enough good things about the camp – you have really made a difference in her life.

Absolutely amazing place and staffed by some very special volunteers.

It’s my daughter’s 3rd time at Camp Kudzu and she only wishes she could go there every month of the year!!!!! She is so welcomed, so cared and loved there! We want to thank everyone who volunteers and donate!!! You cannot imagine the difference you are making in these kids’ lives!!!!

Our daughter looks forward to CK each summer! She has made lifelong friends and developed great skills in just the 2 years that she’s attended. We love Camp Kudzu and all of the memories that she’s made there! Thank you to all of the clinicians, nurses, volunteers, and sponsors that make this camp possible[/cq_vc_testimonialcarousel]

Dr. Quentin Van Meter

For over 40 years, I have been diagnosing and treating children who live with insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes. The families must endure the initial shock of accepting and understanding the diagnosis and then move forward to put in place the lifestyle changes to manage this disease. Even though physicians provide medical information with encouragement, that’s not enough to calm their fears. 

That is one of the reasons that I insist that children with type 1 diabetes go to Camp Kudzu. I have seen first-hand the great improvements attending Camp Kudzu’s programs makes on the lives of children and it helps reduce their parents’ concerns too. It is no wonder that these campers count the days until the next year’s session of camp when they can rejoin their soulmates.


When asked what sparked our decision to keep our daughter Ivey involved in Camp Kudzu? We honestly didn’t have much of a choice because Ivey loves camp so much and talks about it all the time haha! No, but seriously, before Ivey moved in with us I had the chance to speak to an old friend who grew up with type 1 diabetes. I asked her what advice she had for me, as a soon to be parent of a child with diabetes.

Her number one piece of advice was to send Ivey to a camp for kids with diabetes. She said that it not only meant a lot to her as a kid but now as an adult the friends she made at her diabetes camp growing up are still close friends today. As kids, they supported each other through kid diabetes issues like social concerns or dating concerns. Now as adults they are able to recommend medications, discuss insurance issues, even help each other with fertility and diabetes questions.

I hadn’t thought about the kind of support system and network we could help Ivey cultivate by making the investment each summer to send her to Camp Kudzu.

-The Zezulka Family

The Richards Family

Camp Kudzu’s programs have the power to change life for everyone in a family affected by a child’s diagnosis. Read how attending Camp Kudzu affected Zharia Richards, her parents Juandalyn and W. Scott, and her older sister Ashlyn:


I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006 at the age of seven. At the time, I was a little timid and self-conscious about my diabetes. I didn’t have anybody that I could relate to…But it wasn’t until I found Camp Kudzu that I learned to truly embrace my diabetes and feel comfortable living with it.                                                                                                                       

W. Scott

When Zharia was diagnosed at 7, it was a major shock. Initially, we wondered what limitations type 1 diabetes would place on her dreams and goals. How does an otherwise healthy and active young child deal with all that comes with this disease? More importantly, how do we, as parents, support her, encourage her, and make things as normal as possible?


It was summertime and although Zharia, age seven, was a junior cheerleader cheering out in the hot sun, something just didn’t feel right about my little girl always being thirsty and frequently using the bathroom. It was just mother’s intuition. So I took her to the doctor only to hear an unexpected diagnosis.                                                                                       


Camp Kudzu has definitely helped me as Zharia’s older sister. When she was first diagnosed, it was really hard to watch my sister experience low blood sugar, to give her insulin, and check her blood sugar. It was new and frightening.