Many of our kids went to camp before they were diagnosed with celiac disease and many will go after their diagnosis. Going to camp can still happen– you just may need to find one that works better with your gluten free concerns.
Gluten Free Fun Camp– Minnesota August 14-19, 2011
Here in Minnesota we have Gluten Free Fun Camp! It is a fun experience “Up North” — complete with water sports, crafts and more from August 14-19. It is a great place where kids who have to eat gluten-free, can do it in a safe environment and experience summer camp!
This year the camp is in a new location, Camp New Hope in McGregor, about 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities. Camp Courage, where we’ve had camp for the last several years, was no longer able to accommodate our needs, Katie Radeke Gluten Free Fun Camp Coordinator, explained. “The new location is a more intimate camp setting with all of the bunk houses and lodge and dining hall overlooking a beautiful private lake,” said Radeke.
“Campers will have access to pontoon rides, hiking trails, mini-golf, game room, campfires,and a craft pavilion.”
Last year’s camp had about 40 kids and was a huge hit “My child loved all of the food, but he can’t stop talking about the buns,” one mom said. Another parent said “I was grateful I had over an hour with her in the car and she never stopped talking about her experience…She was actually planning next year before we even left the parking lot.”
Check out the Gluten-Free Fun Camp website for registration information.
Finding a Gluten-Free Friendly Camp
There are a handful of other celiac camps in the US. I found two websites with great suggestions:
- Click here for celiac specific camps from Katie Chalmers.
- Click here for Food Sensitivity Journal’s camp info which is allergen friendly, including some peanut-free camps and some gluten-free camps.
There are some overlapping camps on these lists, but they are both worth looking at.
If you are working with your child’s regular camp, you are likely in for a challenge, one that you may want to consider not taking. But if you choose to go this route, I would recommend start working with them as early as you can, gather lists of food and educate them on food preparation. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network says in its Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies at Camp it is up to the parents to find an “appropriate” fitting camp for their child and do everything to prepare the camp for their child with the food allergy– and I will add gluten intolerance to this as well.
The other thing it noted, that I completely support, is making sure your child has a good education on what they can and cannot eat and what to do if cross contamination does occur! It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children management of their diet for times like these.
I will say, I am sure people can make non-celiac camps work for their celiac child but it really depends on the camp’s ability and willingness to learn and do gluten-free right, and your patience and education. It will not be easy, and your child will feel different at this kind of a camp because they’ll be eating other kinds of food.
If you want to make it easy on yourself and especially your child (along with letting them eat great gluten free food), I would recommend a camp that specializes in gluten free foods or food allergies and sensitivities.