FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) has created another way to educate young people about food allergies. Junior, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts can earn the Be A Pal patch (http://www.foodallergy.org/Girl_scouts_badge.pdf) to learn about peanut and other food allergies. The 20 page document on the FAAN site provides teaching tools and requirements for scouts to earn the badge.
I offered to help my daughter's troop earn the Be a Pal patch. They chose the requirements they wanted to meet such as creating an allergy friendly meal for camp, how to read food labels and how to use an Epi-Pen. They also made posters for the nurse's office educating others about food allergy. We worked through the requirements over a few weeks.
Many of the scouts expressed surprise about how hard it was to read labels. They also couldn't believe how many ingredients (most too tough to pronounce!) there are in some of their favorite snacks. I provided treats such as dairy, egg, peanut and nut free chocolate chip cookies and granola bars at several of the meetings. Much to their surprise, they thought they were delicious!
It was a very successful program and I encourage anyone to offer it to a local scout troop. I know our community now has twelve more people who understand what it's like to live with food allergies.