Posted on: Sat, 07/08/2006 - 2:14am
oliverioa's picture
Joined: 06/12/2001 - 09:00

Has anyone dared try any kind of summer camp for their PA kids? I recently had a very bad experience with a summer day camp. I was very excited about the opportunity for my 6 year-old to attend a one week day camp at the local University. It was supposed to have a focus on science and seemed to be right up his alley. I wrote on the form that he has a severe allergy to peanuts (even though they did not have a food allergy question on form). I was shocked to discover upon our arrival that they were going to be doing three projects with peanutbutter. One was using a cup of pb per child with other ing. to make a model of earth. They were also baking with it as well as using it to make a birdfeeder. You can imagine my reaction. We were out of there in no time flat. However, my little boy was fighting back tears b/c the place was FASCINATING... black lights and neon planets in the space room, etc. We, ofcourse, have contacted some higher ups in the University and were offered a peanut-free last session of the summer. However, I do not think it would be possible to get all that pb off of every thing my son would touch and declined. The only good thing that came out of it was that they are going to make some changes in their program.
Now, my question is does anyone else even try to do summer camps or programs like this? What about when he's older is there any safe overnight camps?

Posted on: Sat, 07/08/2006 - 3:12am
mcmom's picture
Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

That's such a shame [img][/img]
Could I ask, who was going to have your son's Epipen while he attended the camp? That has been the reason I haven't sent my son to any of the day camps here yet - at the outdoor rec camp he would be supervised directly by 13 and 14 year olds, and I am not comfortable with then being in charge of his Epi and making a decision to administer it. At the academic indoor camp, the director would have it, but it's in a huge building, and he has never actually used one....makes me nervous. (At both of these camps the kids eat snacks.)
We are trying a one week readers camp this summer - he will be in a class where the teacher is from his own school, and she has a PA child herself, so she will hold on to his Epi.

Posted on: Sat, 07/08/2006 - 3:26am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I am polite but firm about this sort of thing when I sign DD up... and I make no bones about her aerosol and contact sensitivity. BUT. It still seems that pn/pb are just [i]around[/i] at these things. And there is little that anyone can do about removing it from other kids' snacks, etc.
So my solution is to shadow DD. She's used to it, and I just bring knitting or a book and sit there while she does her thing. I'm not turning over responsibility to a 16-22 yr old who knows nothing about FA.
But once I scare the **** out of them about her condition, they are [i]happy[/i] to let me hang out. And I can pull the plug on anything dangerous... and I usually ask the "teacher/counselor" to call me with questions about safety of materials. Several have.

Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2006 - 1:44am
KatiesMom's picture
Joined: 03/01/2000 - 09:00

My daughter has been doing summer camps sine kindergarten. I always start the phone calls in the spring to make sure she will be safe. I've had different degrees of happiness with the camps. Some have been terrific and very caring, others just want to do the bare minimum. This summer and the last two summers she has even gone to a sleep away camp run by the Girl Scouts. They are very accomodating for her. The counselors carry her epi for her the whole time so she is never without it. They won't serve any thing "nutty" for a main meal, but they do offer PB&J as the "no thank you" meal. Katie is very aware of her allergy and keeps away from the PB&J, they follow strict handwashing after every meal. Before camp started, the nurse at camp gave me a call to doublecheck that everything was good for Katie. I worry the entire time she is gone, afraid I will get "the phone call", but she loves it there, and it's important for her to be at camp. So I'm saying.. there's good camps and bad camps. Keep working to find a good camp. Camps can be a great experience for a child.

Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2006 - 1:53am
Gwen 5's picture
Joined: 01/24/2003 - 09:00

Do as much research as you can. I have been sending my dd age 81/2 now to a Jewish day camp in California.
They are great and very aware. All the snacks are nut free- they serve things like graham crackers, goldfish, ritz crackers, fruit and I think yogurt.
Kids bring their own lunches- the camp is not nut free but they encourage the parents not to send.'
The counselors are more like college students and really aware and responsible. I always go meet with them- they are all trained on Epi pens and the like.
Her counselore carries her fanny pack of meds.
I tell them to have all kids wash hands after lunch and my dd is more aware of what other kids are doing now.
They do have a field trip every week but my dd doesn 't go so she stays and does the specialty camp that day.
They are very accomodating to our needs-
For the first time she is going to a sleep away camp for a week- the only reason she is going is because I will be one of the staff nurses the same week and will oversee all her food!
I have also had a few other camps in our area that have been very aware and even nut free- to the extent that they really can.
Keep looking- maybe in California they are just more aware and very accomodating- I have been very lucky at school as well- no balking at all over having a 504 plan and a very pro-active principal.
I hope you can find something as it is such an awesome time for the kids!
Good Luck

Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2006 - 2:02pm
NutlessMOM's picture
Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

My youngest PA DS went to church camp today for a week. I am very nervous and he is very excited. I hate to make him a nervous wreck worrying about him having a reaction. DS did not want me to go as a counselor. He is 10 years old and stated that it would not be any fun having his "mommy" there. There is a full time nurse on duty who is aware of his allergies. This is my 5th year in a row that one of my children have been attending this camp. We have adults as counselors and teenagers as helpers. My DS counselor's son is my son's best friend and his son is also PA. So, no peanuts or pa products allowed in cabin. BUT, on the way out the door today, I spotted a can of Planter's cashews that belong to the other adult counselor and I immediately went to the other adult and explained it to him about possible peanut contamination because of them being processed in the same facility. Now, I am assuming this as I did not pick up the can to expect. I am not even sure that cashews was in the container. Am I wrong to assume this? I am literally freaking out from worry. I think I need a nerve pill (LOL). My DD is PA also but she is NOT anaphylactic allergic as DS, so my comfort zone is tighter around him.
[This message has been edited by NutlessMOM (edited July 11, 2006).]

Posted on: Mon, 07/10/2006 - 9:13pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My DS will be going to Boy Scout day camp in a few weeks. I signed him up for it before the pack meeting with unlabeled gummy worms for a game. I am a bit nervous.
What helps, though, is, athough some adults with the scouts don't get it, his den leader is anaphylactic, and will be there with him every day. She has told me that according to BSA rules, she is not allowed to give him his epi. But he will have it on him, and she has assured me that if the adult who may give it is not present and it is necessary, she will give it anyway. BTW, our state has a good samaritan law that protects camp staff if they give an epi.
I will also be there one day, as parents are required to volunteer one full day. But, on the other hand, I will actually be out of the state on his last 2 days. So I will definitely be nervous those days.

Posted on: Tue, 07/11/2006 - 5:22am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

my tna pa 6 year old is at our local Jewish Day camp. They are great. Very allergy aware and epi-trained. The director of camp makes sure that all snacks are safe and the kids bring their own lunches. On the first day the director told me they were canceling a project using M&Ms because he read the label and it said "made on a line that processes nuts." I told him that Kissables were safe and he went that day and bought them.
I really trust them and they really get it. We had a whole discussion about how allergies are increasing and that camps need to be safe.
My son is having a blast. He told me today that next year he wants to go to sleep away camp...that will be a whole new experience! If anyone has recommendations for good sleep away camps in the Southern California area let me know!
mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (8), mild excema

Posted on: Sun, 07/30/2006 - 11:15am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I was out of town, just got back tonight. Camp starts tomorrow. I got an e-mail from DS's den leader. She had surgery last week and will not be able to go to camp! [img][/img] This is after we got everything packed up and ready to go for tomorrow. I called her immediately. I feel bad calling about "what am I supposeed to do now?" after she just had surgery, but I was really taken by surprise. She did tell me that she has talked to everyone else who will be there about the allergy situation, and there are a couple of other PA boys that will be there.
So I will send him tomorrow, but will be so nervous. And even worse, I have a big out-of-state event (there is no way I can cancel or reschedule, this really takes priority over camp) later in the week, and his grandfather will be the only one available in case of emergency.
I just really can't believe that the one person I really felt I could trust, the only reason I felt safe in sending him, won't be there now. UGH!!!

Posted on: Sun, 07/30/2006 - 1:58pm
falcon's picture
Joined: 07/03/2004 - 09:00

My son goes to summer day camp at the Cambridge School of Weston summer program in Waltham, MA off of I95. They provide the meals and all are peanut/nut free. My son brings his own lunch and snack because he has many other allergies as well. There is also a full time nurse and the head counselor in each group is usually already a college grad. it seems.

Posted on: Mon, 07/31/2006 - 9:51pm
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

DS is in his third year of YMCA camp. The first year, I was a bit nervous, but the director of the YMCA is very in tune with the food allergies and she did a lot to ease my mind. She pulled all nutty candy from the snack bar, she is a RN and gave DS's counselors additional info on FA. There are three nurses, one hired to be the camp nurse, plus the director and another employee happens to be a nurse.
The director banned peanuts in the infant, toddler & preschool areas. Instead of banning peanuts in the camp, she has implemented a great lunch menu from different restaurants around the area. Although i don't get the lunch for my son, most parents have their kids participate. This reduces people bringing PB.
He is going to a bible camp for two weeks and they are allergy aware, but yesterday when i took DS, the nurse and I went to the candy & ice cream storage area with the nurse. I was a little distressed to see that they have bags of peanuts, reeces, snickers as well as other candy that is okay. They earn points during the day and can use it to "buy" candy. She wrote the candy that was okay for DS and told the counselor for his area to not include any of the chocolate as choices for DS's group. The nurse said she would talk to whoever does the ordering and suggest next year no nutty candy. She said they have kids wash after snack as well.
There was another camp that i looked into and things were going along okay and the Camp Director was talking about the food they serve. She said the only thing we serve with nuts is the fruit salad every morning. We can just pick the nuts out of your son's fruit. UGH, I told her very politely that she needed to look into the FA more and that I would not be signing up my DS at her camp.
So, I guess that the best thing is to speak to different people within the camp and find out what they are willing to do to make accommodations and what they are serving etc. Some camps do not have a nurse and aren't equipped to take kids with medication and FA.


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