Recently I wrote about our food at camp and how we try to offer healthy choices at every meal. That said, not every camper is able to eat what’s on offer and parents often ask us if it’s possible to send their daughter to camp if she suffers from some form of food allergy. Well the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Been there, done that
We have accommodated campers with the following food allergies over the past several years: Celiac/gluten-free/gluten-
Not that this is an allergy, but we’ve also helped accommodate vegetarians and vegans in the past as well. We have many choices on our fruit and salad bar, as well as vegetable dishes that make this possible and we can bring in alternative foods for vegans when necessary.
Even I have my food preferences this summer based on eating my new lifestyle Paleo diet!
From the inside
Our kitchen staff always happily prepares special food or meals for campers with certain needs. Yet parents are welcome to bring food to supplement (such as a box of gluten-free foods). But we are able and willing to cover it ourselves as well. Of course, any food sent must be through camp administration and not as a care package (we have a no food policy for care packages.)
Because some allergies are so severe, we’re in the process of rearranging our food storage area so there’s absolutely no commingling of foods that cause allergies with the foods that don’t (especially since food allergies will be recognized as a disability by the ADA in the coming years!)
To make everything very clear to all staff members and hoppers, this summer we’ll also be doing a color-coding system for all tables in the dining hall. This will make it clear to each hopper about any special needs she may have at her table, helping her to be prepared ahead of time. And we’ve moved all peanut butter off the tables and onto a separate “PB&J station” in the back of the Dining Hall. Of course, should something unexpected happen, we always have our medical staff in the dining hall during meals.
We have a plan
We have many parents who contact us saying they’re interested in our camp but they’re not sure we can accommodate their daughter’s specific food allergies/needs. As you can see based on our strategies and plans, I’m always confidently able to say that we definitely can!
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls