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Sleepaway Camp
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Have you all sent your kids to any gluten-free sleepaway camps? 

 

My oldest has gone to Girl Scout camp the past two summers, but there is NO way I trust their standards in helping her with her diet and providing suitable alternatives.  I did try to contact them with questions (left a message and an email - both with no response) because I told her I would, but still doubt I would send her there.

 

So I've been looking online and trying to find her a place to go.  For the record, we are a midwestern family that has been grooming our kids for New England camp since in utero!  Anyway, I found Camp Eagle Hill and it looks awesome.  Seriously - it's a lot of what we were looking for before the DX and now it looks even better with a dedicated gluten-free kitchen and a dedicated chef.  Plus the director's daughter has celiac (I read that on another site).  I also ran across Camp Weekaneatit - through the Georgia ROCK chapter.  My worry about that is that it's not a "real" camp experience.

 

Anyway, feedback?  Or other camp options?

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Have you all sent your kids to any gluten-free sleepaway camps? 

 

My oldest has gone to Girl Scout camp the past two summers, but there is NO way I trust their standards in helping her with her diet and providing suitable alternatives.  I did try to contact them with questions (left a message and an email - both with no response) because I told her I would, but still doubt I would send her there.

 

So I've been looking online and trying to find her a place to go.  For the record, we are a midwestern family that has been grooming our kids for New England camp since in utero!  Anyway, I found Camp Eagle Hill and it looks awesome.  Seriously - it's a lot of what we were looking for before the DX and now it looks even better with a dedicated gluten-free kitchen and a dedicated chef.  Plus the director's daughter has celiac (I read that on another site).  I also ran across Camp Weekaneatit - through the Georgia ROCK chapter.  My worry about that is that it's not a "real" camp experience.

 

Anyway, feedback?  Or other camp options?

 

I can't help you with New England camps, but we sent my son to one of the Concordia Language Village camps in Minnesota last summer.  They did a great job with his food, even though the camps are set up around family-style eating.  They let him know which dishes he could and could not eat, and the chef prepared gluten-free alternatives for him for the ones he couldn't eat off the shared plates.  He went to the Japanese camp and had a great time. 

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My daughter went to a camp with school.  They said they could accomodate her diet.  And while she didn't get sick there, she certainly did come home very hungy!  And she ate far more apples than she cared to remember.  The problems?  The other kids got snacks.  She didn't.  And they wouldn't even allow me to send food for her.  The other kids made S'Mores around the campfire and while I could have sent her suitable food, it was not allowed.  They were also given candy bars on hikes.  Nothing for her.  Note that her issues at the time were not just gluten but eggs, dairy, nuts and other things.  Mostly she had plain chicken breast and rice pasta, salad, bread and apples to eat.  She was given the choice one day of a sunseed butter or tuna sandwich.

 

At this particular camp, some parents could attend but...  They were required to help out.  And me being disabled and also a diabetic who was newly on insulin and using a CPAP machine, I decided this just wouldn't work on so many levels.  I also have food issues myself that were different than hers so...  Husband went instead.  Had I gone, I would for sure have sneaked food for her. 

 

If the camp is truly totally gluten free, then I would feel much more comfortable about sending my kid there than I would a place like she went to. 

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I think I can give you some good perspective on this! My 11 year old was diagnosed in mid-April - about 2 weeks after we signed her up to go to the same church camp she had been to the two previous years, and this time her best friend was going with her. All of her tears when she was first diagnosed were about camp and whether she could still go. I called the camp and they said that I could send food for her. Then I started searching for a gluten-free camp because we were trying really hard to get her over the initial hump of diagnosis. We found Camp Weekaneatit, and registered her for that as well.

 

Her church camp was less than successful. She basically starved all week, and what she did eat that was supposedly gluten-free gave her some stomach issues (and she has always been GI-issue free). We took a lot of food for her, but she didn't want to appear different and basically subsisted on salad. Needless to say, until she can advocate better for herself she is not going back there. BUT....she is okay with that because she LOVED Camp Weekaneatit! Yes, it's a little bit of a different camp experience and not as rustic and "woodsy" as her other camp, and my vision of camp. But it's got a lot going for it and she constantly talks about things they did there. She did everything from climbing walls to paddle boards to bowling. And it was a great experience for her as a newly diagnosed Celiac. She will be going again next summer, and the 10 hour drive from Virginia is definitely worth it!

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What activities did she do at Weekaneatit?  I'm willing to drive the 10 hours - just want to make sure it's worth it. 

 

How many kids attend?  Are they mostly older?

 

Thanks!!

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I can't remember how many kids attended - maybe 75? I know they have room for more than they had. My daughter says that they were spread from ages 6 and 7 up to high school. There were multiple groups in the 10-11-12 age group but the rest were pretty evenly dispersed.

 

They did lots of different activities. Off the top of my head, there was a climbing wall, paddle boarding, paddle boating, and bowling. They also have a one day "color war" where the camp is divided into two colors and they do activities/contests all day. She really had fun that day. The closing ceremony/presentation including a lot of singing and chanting.  She came home exhausted, and after an hour sleeping in the car woke up sobbing because she didn't want camp to be over. When I say it's not a real camp experience, I think it's because they aren't living in cabins in the woods.....they are more in dorm like settings with 6 or 8 kids and a counselor in each room.

 

We definitely feel it was worth our 10 hour drive. As a new Celiac at age 11, my daughter tends to really worry when she's eating away from home. I think to not worry at all for a week was the biggest blessing she could have. And she can't wait to go back next year!

 

I could e-mail you the slide show that they did at the closing ceremony and then e-mailed all of us if you are interested. If so, please send me a private message with your e-mail address and I'll send it to you.

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We haven't yet (my oldest just isn't quite ready yet), but we plan to send him to Camp Celiac in Rhode Island when he is.  I've heard great things about it and it's an entirely gluten-free camp for a week that lists every single food they serve on their website.  I think it will be great for him, when the time comes.

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We interviewed two camps last week - one in NY and one in NH.  Both are 4-7 weeks.  The oldest would *love* them.  So we're still debating.

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My daughter went to camp celiac for a week in Rhode Island. I think registration starts in Feb. She really liked meeting other kids with celiac and it made her more sure of herself. It's pretty much a regular camp other than everyone has celiac.

 

http://campceliac.org/

 

Sarah

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My son's camp has 6 celiac kids and a dedicated food prep area for them. They prepared a great meal for me on visiting day! That said, my son said a friend got glutened badly on a field trip (asked carefully at snack bar but got hit anyway - I'm sure camp will send snacks next year)

Just saying many camps are aware now. Ask.

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