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

Gluten Free Fun Camp 2010

Gluten Free Fun Camp 2010

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.

Happy camping!

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4 Responses to “Make Camp Easy, Pick a Gluten-Free Friendly One!”

  1. My 15 year old son was diagnosed 2 years ago. He has gone to Camp Weekaneatit for the past 2 years and LOVES it. This is one of the few places he knows he can eat EVERYTHING they put in front of him. Since he is 15, I know he can put away a lot of food. If anyone has a teenager please, please enroll them in a camp. They need the friendship and support as much as the younger kids.

  2. Thank you Kathie for your comment and insight. My daughter is 12 and plans on going to camp this year too. But I do worry about lack of interest on her part even as early as next year….We’ll see!

  3. Cynthia Kupper added this comment to my article on the Celiac Handbook Linked In Group page:
    “Check out the other gluten-friendly camps too. GIG runs 2 camps and there are several independent GF camp programs. Watch for 2 camps to be Gluten-Free Food Service Accredited this summer.”
    More info should be coming soon!
    Yippee! Progress is great!

  4. Hi All:

    Our gluten free camp, “CAMP GLUTEN FREEDOM” is being held in Indianapolis at Camp Jameson June 26th to the 29th, 2012.

    You can get all the details on our website or feel free to email.

    Thanks,
    Tina

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