Dr. Edward Hertko took a special interest in diabetes after growing up with a diabetic mother and brother. With his medical degree in internal medicine, Dr. Hertko moved to Iowa in 1960, and cared for many patients with diabetes. In 1963, with the help of the Iowa Dep’t of Public Health, Dr. Edward Hertko started the first diabetes support groups in Iowa which, subsequently became the Iowa Diabetes Association in 1968. In 1968, as an affiliated program of the Iowa Diabetes Association Dr. Hertko created a camp for children with diabetes. The first camp session was held that year at the 4-H Camp in Madrid, Iowa and was temporarily called Elm Camp. The campers from that first session voted to officially name the camp “Camp Hertko Hollow” in honor of Dr. Hertko, founder of the camp. After the first summer session, in 1972, Camp Hertko Hollow moved to a more suitable location at the Y Camp in Boone, Iowa where it has been held ever since. In 2003 Camp Hertko Hollow separated from The American Diabetes Association and began operating as an independent nonprofit organization.
In 2001 there was record 255 campers plus a volunteer medical staff of 65 in addition to the YMCA staff of 50. At that point Camp Hertko Hollow had exceeded the capacity at the Y Camp facility and so camp was split into two sessions beginning in 2002 (one week for children ages 6 – 12, and another session for teens ages 13 – 17).
Camp Hertko Hollow has grown from serving 37 children in 1968 to serving over 400 children and their families today. Since 1968, Camp Hertko Hollow has provided a positive camping experience for over 15,000 children with diabetes.