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Summer Camp?

26 replies [Last post]
By Tina H. on Thu, 05-18-00, 13:59

Would any of you ever let your PA kids go away to summer camp or is it just too dangerous? My daughter is nine and I've pretty much made up my mind that she will never go away to camp. Another sad bit of information: A couple of weeks ago, I took her to New York to audition for the National Tour of Annie directed by Martin Charnin (the creator and lyricist). Well, to our surprise, they called and offered her the part of Kate and the first understudy to Annie. At first, I was so excited. But, because of many reasons, mainly her peanut allergy, we decided not to let her do it because it would mean being on the road for six months, eating at different restaurants and hotels (and me being with her away from my husband and other two children). If she didn't have this stupid allergy, I would have let her go with the cast for a couple of weeks at a time. I am so sad about it. I hate this horrible allergy.

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By Lisa M on Thu, 05-18-00, 17:30

I remember when you all were going for the audition. Congratulations to her. I hear the pain in your writing. It does seem unfair to the kids, doesn't it? How did she take it (not being able to go)? My friends are talking about little day camps for their kids and vacation Bible school, etc. I still won't let my 4 year old pa son go to any of these unless I'm very involved in it. I've thought of sleep away camps when he is older, but can't say that I would let him go until he is a teenager or so. My husband loved going to the same camp every summer. I hate that he'll miss out on that.

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By jh5000 on Thu, 05-18-00, 17:39

Our local support group just last Saturday had a speaker who addressed sending food-allergic kids to camp. Her feeling was that you COULD do it, and she went through a whole list of precautions to take. It still feels too risky to me.

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] Maybe FAN could sponsor summer camps for kids with food allergies, where precautions are taken with the food, all the counselors are trained in administering epi-pens and treating allergic reactions, they have a crash-cart on site, as well as a nurse or doctor (or make it close to a hospital), etc.!!! Wouldn't that be nice?

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By on Thu, 05-18-00, 17:48

That would be great! I never thought about an actual camp stricly for food allergic children. I see camps advertised at the doctor's office for kids with asthma, but my son does not yet have asthma! What a great idea.

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By on Thu, 05-18-00, 17:51

Quote:Originally posted by NaomiR:
[b]That would be great! I never thought about an actual camp strictly for food allergic children. I see camps advertised at the doctor's office for kids with asthma, but my son does not yet have asthma! What a great idea.[/b]

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By melissa on Thu, 05-18-00, 19:50

I'm sorry to hear that your daughter couldn't go, but what I don't understand is why, when knowing you wouldn't let her go, did you let her audition. My son gets very upset when he can't attend something special because I can't be there. I would hate to tell him he could do something and then change my mind and disappoint him. I feel for you guys. I know it is hard to let our kids be normal, by normal I mean, letting them be on their own, going to parties with out a parent, being able to go to summer camp, etc. I think it would be a great idea if there was a summer camp for food allergic children.

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By scywong on Thu, 05-18-00, 23:04

I saw this site and I knew I had to respond. The reason I am responding is cause if my parents had told me that I wasn't allowed to go to brownie and girl guide camp and day camp, I think I would have missed out on a lot of fun. I realize that you're all very scared about your children but, you need to realize that if you don't give them a little responsibity, they will not learn. I have a peanut allergy and have had one for over 20 years, I am now 22. I was taken to the doctor's office at the age of 5 and taught how to use my ana-kit...the epi needle, it is an actual injection not the auto-injector epi-pen. By the time I was 7, I went to camp both day camps and over night camps. You'd be amazed and surprised at how mature your kids are when you give them responsibility. I know it is hard to imagine...the difference maybe that my mom was a nurse before she had me and didn't want to restrict me in anyway. She did take precautions, the first away camp I went to, my mom did come along but, after that, I was on my own. I never had a reaction. I don't know about the camps in the States, I definetely can't speak for them but, in Canada the camps that I know of, all counsellors are trained to use the epi-pen and are fully aware of cpr training etc and the seriousness of anaphylaxis and allergies. I worked as a leader in training at a sports (day) camp and I had training on how to use the epi-pen and cpr etc. I hope this helps to change your minds a little. But, I also realize the decision is totally yours. I will mention that no one can ever make the decision about your child's safety but yourself. Before I end this, I would like to tell you of another story. There are defintetly two sides to every story. A while back, a girl went camping (this was not a day camp, it was a camping trip with her school), she was a teenager at the time and they were making sandwiches, everyone knew she was allergic to peanuts. The teacher wiped the knife thinking that should be safe, she made a sandwich from it and subsequently had an allergic reaction. Because they were too deep in the bush, they did not get her to the hospital in time. Mind you she only had one epi-pen with her. I would suggest that when you send your kid to camp that they are at a camp where a nurse is staffed on site and that you have enough epi-pens to last the child to get them to the hospital. This is of course a precautionary measure only. What I;m basicaly trying to say is that you can't protect your child forever and the more they are sheltered I think the harder it is for them to understand their responsibility for their allergy. But, I must mention that this is solely my opinion and not meant to get anyone angry or mad or upset.

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By Lisa M on Fri, 05-19-00, 00:15

Thanks so much for that post. It always helps to hear from an adult that has lived through it. It seems as if Canada is light years ahead of the US in educating others about food allergies and training people in charge about epi's, etc. I envy it. I guess because my son is only 4 and behind in speech and language development, it is really hard to imagine that he'll ever be old enough to go anywhere by himself! But I have to admit, I'm an overprotective mom in a lot of ways with my 8 year old that doesn't have any allergies! So, I need to work on that in general! I hope you'll keep posting your experiences. I really want to read them. Lisa

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By scywong on Fri, 05-19-00, 01:52


I now better understand your concern about your child. A parent is supposed to protect their child, I don't fault you for wanting to keep your child safe. I know if it were my kid, I would probably be totally paranoid. I guess cause I grew up with it, my perspective on things is a little different than those who had to care for me. If you are fearful that your child is not able to communicate his peanut allergy then I (and this is a suggestion) have him start practicing first with family members regarding his allergy and then expand your circle to include grandparents etc. This may help, I suggest starting with a little responsibility and then as he becomes more confident you may begin to feel a little more at ease. I can definetely tell you that this isn't the easiest thing to deal with but, it isn't the worst either. Good luck if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Good luck!

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By melissa on Fri, 05-19-00, 15:17

Thank you for your support. I agree that Canada is doing more to educate the general public on the dangers of food allergies. I live in Denver, Colorado and I can't count how many times people have laughed when I asked what type of ingredients they used. Most think I am being a litte paranoid about my son. Thank you very much, I am!!! He has a horrible allergy and many people don't take it seriously. When my son was 3 we were at at grocery store and my son was in the cart. I turned around to get someting and the person in the bakery was walking around with fresh baked peanut butter cookies. She was handing them out to people. When I turned around my son was just taking the cookie and nearly had it in his mouth. All I could to was literally slap the thing out of his hand. He cried and the lady yelled at me "Why did you do that!" I told her my son is PA and he could die. She should never give a child anything without asking the parents first, I was right there, she could have asked. She then said that it couldn't be that bad, I was just being to protective. I was angry by that point, I left my cart and walked out of the store. See what I mean, it is scary.

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By ihatepeanuts on Fri, 05-19-00, 22:31

Melissa: Yes, it is scary. I think I would
have had the urge to slap the lady for
saying that! Maybe you could talk to the
manager of the grocery store and suggest
that anyone handing food out only ask the
parents first if a child can have it. At
our grocery store we often have people set
up with little tables handing out samples.
They will not give any food to children until
they get the o.k. from the parent.

Tina: I would have a very hard time allowing
my son to go away to a camp. I would consider it if my husband or I could go with. I was also curious why your daughter
auditioned if she wasn't able to go. This
is not to make you feel bad. Maybe you just
didn't think of all those things before
auditioning. I can understand that. I hope
your daughter isn't too heartbroken!

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By Anne Parrish on Sat, 05-20-00, 19:10

What a great question this is... it is something that has been very much on my mind recently, as I am about to let my soon-to-be 6 year old peanut allergic daughter go to a girl Scout day camp. I will be a unit leader at the camp -- although not *her* unit leader, much as I was tempted to request that! Since she is about to leave the safe (peanut-free!)waters of her preschool/kindergarten for the peanut-riddled open seas of a public school 1st grade, I figured day camp would be a good test run. Half the time I am scared to death at the thought of her surrounded by all those PB&J sandwiches for lunch, but it would break her heart to be left behind as her sister & I go to camp (the camp has a Harry Potter theme this year, so it is a particularly desirable way to spend a couple weeks...)

I figure I am going to describe my daughter's symptoms (at least that she has had in previous reactions) to the unit leader, write up some guidelines for her unit to follow (folks must wash their hands after eating, PB&J sandwiches must be eaten on the other side of the circle from my daughter, my daughter can't eat anything unless we brought it/I personally have seen it, etc.)& perhaps photocopy a P.A.L. flyer/brochure thing I got in the mail as part of the FAN fund raising appeal to hand out to the girls in her unit to take home... The '1st Aider' for the camp has told me that my daughter can carry an Epi-Pen on her (besides the one that will be at the 1st Aid station) & I figure I will train the unit leader w/ an expired one & an orange.

If anyone can think of other things I should consider, I would greatly appreciate the suggestions.


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By rilira on Sat, 05-20-00, 20:07

I would find out what the planned craft projects are also. Your daughter's service unit ODC ( outdoor consultant) should be able to tell you that info. esp. if they are going to be trying to earn a patch or a badge. Also find out how far the day camp is away from medical care so you are sure to have enough epi's on hand. Sounds like a great time!

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By Tina H. on Sat, 05-20-00, 20:56

Thanks for all of your replies to my post. About the Annie Audition:
To be honest with you...we just went for the fun of it. We live in Chicago and thought it would be fun to go to NY for a weekend. We wanted to see a broadway show and just see how far she would get if she auditioned for a big National Tour. Well, we didn't really expect her to get cast! She's nine years old, never had a singing lesson, and never auditioned for anything but community theatre. If she would have gotten the starring role and not the understudy/orphan role, we would have done it because it would have been too big to pass up. But, my husband is happy she didn't get it. Too long on the road! I think her peanut allergy just makes every decision harder. If she didn't have it, we would have let her do it. From now on, we will not let her audition for anything unless we'll let her do it.

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By scywong on Sun, 05-21-00, 04:34

Hi: When I went to brownie/girl guide camp, peanut butter was never served. Everything was washed with dishsoap and bleach. Did you check what would be in the menu? I remember we didn't have any peanut products at all.

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By Anne Parrish on Thu, 05-25-00, 14:15

This GS camp is a day camp & all the girls will bring their own lunches, just like so many do at school. And since pB&J travels so well & holds up in the heat, I figure almost every kid will be eating it every day. That is why I want to have something for the unit leader to send home.

And, thanks to the person who suggested checking on the crafts that are lined up... I will add that to my list.

I figure all your suggestions are going to give my daughter the best shot of having a great introduction to GS camps -- & of me not having a complete anxiety attack in the process! Thanks for all your help.


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By PattyR on Fri, 05-26-00, 16:49

This is a link to a site for summer camps for children with Asthma. Many of them are located in NC but some are in other nearby states. This isn't directly related to PA but I know that many of the families here are dealing with this issue as well. [url="http://ocmefsn.med.unc.edu/camps/campGuide.htm"]http://ocmefsn.med.unc.edu/camps/campGuide.htm[/url]

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By scywong on Sat, 05-27-00, 06:00

I'm surprised that you have to bring your own food to camp. Maybe you can ask if the kids can bring either nutella (made from hazelnuts) or cheese whiz. They can keep. Will the kids be bringing their own utensils?? Perhaps you can suggest the use of plastic utensils and that they be disposed of in a separate bag to reduce contamination.

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By Jess on Sat, 05-27-00, 15:27

I went to overnight camp for three years and never had a problem. Everyone in my cabin and all of my counselors were very understanding and careful about my allergy. The cafeteria served no peanut products, and while there was a peanut butter bar, no one ever went to it because apparently the peanut butter was weird tasting or something. Anyway, they had a really good health center and I always felt totally safe. I don't think camp is something your kids should miss out on. Most camps have had several children with severe allergies and are very capable in handling the responsibility of keeping the kids safe.

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By Lidia on Mon, 06-05-00, 18:56

My two older children have gone to a local town camp for the last few years. They are not PA. It is a great camp and the cost is very reasonable. Naturally I wanted to send my 3rd son (PA) there. Well, they would only keep the epi-pen with the nurse by the pool. Sometimes the kids are on the playground, picnic area or at the ice rink. Granted, all these places are within a 5 min walk, but I feel that it is too long to risk if a reaction occured. The counselors are college aged kids that I think could learn to use the epi-pen and could responsibly carry it. The director was adamantly opposed. I chose not to fight it because I felt dealing with the elementary school should be my first priority. (he is entering K in the Fall). I am now stuck paying a fortune for a day camp for all my three kids - I wanted them in one place, because of this. It makes me angry. I think I will start the fight soon so they can go there next year. Has anyone encountered this?

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By Rainey on Tue, 06-06-00, 20:34

My 4.5 yr old is attending day camp for the first time this week. It is an anxious time for us. She attends a peanut and nut-free preschool but will be traveling by bus to a city park and nature camp. Other children from other preschools will also attend and may bring peanut butter. Her teacher from preschool is carrying 2 Epi-pens (for camp and bus) and the park naturalist also has 2 Epi-pens which travel with the children on their various walks. I met with and trained the park naturalist in the use of the Epi-pen. There are only eight children per teacher which made me feel better. We felt as though we had to say yes to this one as all of her pals from her regular preschool are attending. I can't imagine an overnight camp at her age, thank goodness.
Yes, a FAN camp for athe food-allergic would be great! I wish we also had a charter school for asthma and food-allergic kids.
Good luck to all on camps and summer fun!


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By jl on Wed, 06-07-00, 02:48

My son is 5 and he has pleaded for us to let him begin a stage career. We have just begun the process. He is peanut, dairy, and latex allergic. I could not ever tell him the reason he can't do something is because of these allergies. Simply, it just isn't living by our Golden Rule: Anything is do-able. IT might require more planning and precautions, but we are teaching him to be able to do anything!

His older brother is 10 and has a multitude of allergies as well. He has tree nut and all of the pitted fruits (that are related to the almond allergic). Yes, anaphylactic. He will be going on his second 2 week trip to overnight camp. It is one of the AAFA camps on the sight listed. I cannot say enough about how wonderful it was/is.

They bake all there own products from scratch...use no nuts or peanuts in any of there baking. What an absolutely wonderful experience for him.

He is, like his younger brother, a severe asthmatic. He was what one might have called the poster boy. All three of my children can recite the meds they require on a daily basis, when they take them, for what, and can go on to say at what point adjustments need to be made....EVEN the 5 Year Old...We have made it a point to EDUCATE THEM AND EMPOWER THEM....THEY ARE LEARNING MORE WITH EACH DAY THEY LIVE THIS....I AM RAISING MY CHILDREN TO BE READY FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES....EVEN AT 5 THEY ARE READY TO TAKE ON SOME OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES...LIKE SAYING NO TO THE OFFERS...ETC., GOSH MY 5 YEAR OLD HAS BEEN ASKING ABOUT LATEX GLOVES SINCE HE WAS 2 AND A HALF..

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By jdickson6 on Wed, 06-07-00, 12:57

I just re-read through all of these posts and I have to agree with SCYWONG 100%. I too am 22, and I learned early on to be responsible for myself about the allergy. I am the youngest of 6 children, and 4 of us have the allergy, my parents couldn't protect us all, and NEVER limited us from events, and experiences.
WE can't go through life in fear or we will miss out on a lot it has to offer.
I understand all of your scared feelings, I went to college far away, in highschool I went abroad for 2 months, and I live 3000 miles away now and barely know a soul, plus I am living in a different language environment. I am ridiculously careful, but I have NEVER allowed this to limit experiences in life. Again, I understand all your concern, I have calmed my mom who has been more frantic than me at times, but what she never understood and what I hope you guys will....is that she did a WONDERFUL job teaching me what to do, how to handle, and how to be strong. IT IS HER fear that scares me worse than the allergy! Seriously, give yourselves more credit as parents....you are SO much more educated than we all were before the internet, and you have each other to feed off from, although I am thankful for this site, sometimes I think it puts more fear in you all. We NEVER had these resources before, and they are WONDERFUL, but, you are doing amazing jobs, and the best thing you can do for your children is NOT to treat them different, not to limit them. Special instructions can be made, and epis are supplied for accidents. Your children don't want to have a reaction any more than you want them too, they understand the danger and they pick up on your concern. But, I think you would be amazed at how intelligent your kids can and will be.

Just a side note....I babysat one time, and took a bite of pie....and the pie crust was not grahm cracker crumbs, it was chopped pecans! The FOUR year old....understood my allergy!! She ran and gave me my purse, and handed me my epi, and SHE went and called 911 and explained. It is amazing, how much kids concern is for others, and for themselves.....I would have been fine to have done these things on my own, but I saw this girl go into the "immediate, I know what to do phase"....and I let her show me that she could.
Hang in there everyone, but coming from other adults who have the allergy, please know that I never regret any experience I had....even if it meant having a mishap....I told youall my senior prom story! Wow....those nurses at the ER hooked the IV OVER my corsage and hiked up my dress to give me steroid shots and epis.......I was pretty "out of it" but I was released and arrived at the dance just in time for the last song.
Yes.....my parents argued with me to go home and stay in their site, but I was fine....after the reaction is over....you are fine....and I would never miss out on having a normal life because of fear.
Sorry to ramble, I just feel for all of your fears, we have been there, and we are at a different point now, that you too will be at.
Thinking of you!

PS...always feel free to email me.....=)

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By fms98 on Tue, 06-28-16, 23:29

I have sent my daughter (ANA to peanuts, asthma) to sleep away camp for the past three years. The camp is peanut and nut free, has epipens in various places throughout the camp, a doctor on the premises at all times, does not permit food from outside into camp (confiscates food mailed to campers), and permits her to carry her allergy bag with her at all times. Good luck!

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By PeanutAllergy.com on Sun, 07-10-16, 03:26

Question of the Week: Answered!

Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.

Our Answer:

Thank you for reaching out to the community with your question. We understand that parenting a child with a peanut allergy can be very stressful. It’s hard to be sure that your little one will always be safe - and when she’s away at summer camp, it’s even harder!

However, as we’ve mentioned in the past, “Summer camp can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a child's life.” And with more and more children suffering from peanut allergies, more and more camps are becoming more accommodating. By asking the right questions to camp administration, you can get some piece of mind about your child’s safety while she is a camper.

Of course, your daughter’s safety is of the utmost concern, and you should always make the choices you feel are best for her. But we think there might be more options than meets the eye when it comes to summer camp. We hope this information is helpful. Take care!

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By gleeming on Sun, 07-10-16, 22:02

I never thought I could send my severely PA son to 6th grade camp, but he desperately wanted to go. I was happily surprised by the YMCA's Camp Seymore. They were quite aware of many kids of food allergies, had me speak to the lead chefs, allowed me to send foods with him, just in case, and made sure he felt comfortable with any foods he was served. He got to have the same camping experience as the rest of his class. I find that national organizations are very able to deal with allergies.

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By gleeming on Sun, 07-10-16, 22:03

I never thought I could send my severely PA son to 6th grade camp, but he desperately wanted to go. I was happily surprised by the YMCA's Camp Seymore. They were quite aware of many kids of food allergies, had me speak to the lead chefs, allowed me to send foods with him, just in case, and made sure he felt comfortable with any foods he was served. He got to have the same camping experience as the rest of his class. I find that national organizations are very able to deal with allergies.

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