It is like a dream come true!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 4:45am
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I really did not think such a place existed. Dd had a friend last year who went to sleep-away camp for a week for diabetics. The food is safe for diabetics, they all test their sugars, etc. So a few months ago, I asked dd`s allergist if there was anything similar for kids with food allergies. Dd is 11 and allergic to milk and peanuts. The milk allergy is much harder to work around than the pa. So dd`s allergist told me that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has an asthma camp. I said what about the food allergies, and he said they are prepared to deal with all kinds of special situations. I called, and due to the prevalence of nut allergies, the camp is peanut free and tree nut free. They have doctors actually at the camp and they are prepared to handle any emergency. They have nebulizers, can start IVs, etc. It is really hard to get in. There are more applications than there are spots, and they decide based on medical need. So dd got in and last night we had our orientation meeting for parents and kids. I assumed that due to the milk allergy I would just send all of dd`s food. It would be hard to find 5 days worth of non-perishable milk free food, but we would come up with something (non-perishable because it is a two hour bus ride to the camp and about an hour to check in before that), once at camp her food could be refrigerated. Never in a million years did I expect her to be able to eat the camp food with milk allergy. If your child is MFA instead of pa/tna, you sort of give up hoping that they will ever be able to eat a meal that wasn`t prepared by you. Also, dd had a recent cross-contamination milk reaction, so I really did not expect a camp cook to know all about cross contamination.

So here is the part that is too good to be true. At this camp, they have lots of kids with food allergies, and they are used to accomodating even MFA kids. At the meeting last night, they said that they have milk free meals available for all the meals. (obviously all meals are peanut free/tree nut free). They have soy milk and rice milk available at all meals, besides regular milk. And even better, for every meal for every item served, they announce the ingredients to the kids, and the ingredients are all written on the black board for every food item served. So if your child is allergy aware, he can just read the ingredients and determine what is safe for him. And they train the cooks on cross contamination. Dd was SO SO SO excited when she heard this. Even better, there are two board certified allergists at the camp. They were both at the meeting, and one turned out to be my former allergist from way back when. I don`t have to train anyone on the epi (that is a FIRST), because the allergists will actually know more about how and when to treat a reaction than I do. The allergists even ride the bus to camp with the kids.

Dd and I are so excited about this. For the first time ever, I am actually sending her off somewhere not thinking to myself "if she has a reaction, will they really use the epi?" For once, she will actually be safer away from me than with me. When your child goes off to school, you always wonder would the teacher really recognize the reaction quickly and use the epi. And the allergist said last night that he has been working at this camp for 20 years, and they have never had a single allergic reaction.

So if your child is MFA or just pa, and you figure that they will never get to go to sleep away camp, you really should check out the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. They have different chapters, and I don`t know if all the chapters have camps that are peanut free with allergists on site. But it sure is nice to be able to send your child off to camp and only have to worry about normal things (will she be able to sleep without her "blankie", will she get homesick, etc.) I never thought the day would come that I would be able to send dd somewhere and not have to ask for any accomodations. Just wanted to share this. Maybe other people want to look into it for your area.

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 4:57am
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Wow, that is such great news. I hope your DD has a wonderful time!!! And how wonderful for you too....to just be able to send your MFA child to camp...to just be able to do it. THat's so great...enjoy!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 5:13am
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Congratulations on your DD getting into the camp!!! How exciting for her to be able to go -- and exciting for you that you don't have to sit and worry about the MFA's. Truly amazing! Let's hope she has the time of her life, and if you go one year you end up with some priority for the next year!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 5:20am
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Yes, and if she actually has a question about the ingredients, she can ask one of the allergists there, and I know she will be given the correct answer. I know your ds is pa and egg allergic, right? But I think he is younger than my dd. Anyhow, I have the impression that they would have no problem accomodating egg allergy. They said at the meeting that they keep the food items really simple with few ingredients to make it easy for the kids to determine what is safe. Maybe they have a chapter in your area, if your ds wants to go at some point.

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 8:20am
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How absolutely wonderful for you and your DD! How long will the camp be and how will you spend your time without her around? Enjoy and have a terrific summer!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 8:41am
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We used to send my little brother to asthma camp (somewhere in Indiana). He loved it. My mom was relieved to know that conscientious staff who could handle his needs were all on board. He loved it.
It also gave the rest of the family a break from carrying extra inhalers and meds for him all the time. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] We had a week off and he had a week of fun and hijinx.
ygg

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 11:09am
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Carefulmom, That's fabulous! Your DD must be SO excited!
Are you going to enjoy the week too? Are you going to plan anything special?
Adele

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 9:06pm
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That's wonderful news!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I'm so glad she got in and is excited to go [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I hope you enjoy the week too. I'm really happy for her. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] Meg

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 5:12am
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That's awesome!! I actually am getting tears in my eyes!!

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 5:29am
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thats realy awsome...
whats the name of the camp? and where is it located? im thinking way ahead here for my son. i never ever thought he would be able to go to sleep away camp!
my husband wants him to join boy scouts in a few years but i just cant imagen him going to a camp out with all the diffrent allergies he has...
this camp sounds too good to be true.
i so happy for you!
----
erin
son alergic to peanuts, dairy, strawberries, blueberries and aparently my mother in laws dog [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 9:08am
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The camp is for five nights and is for ages 8 to 14. Dd is already saying it isn`t long enough! Something tells me she isn`t going to get homesick. As for me, I`ll miss her alot. The longest we have been apart is about 30 hours. I will definitely order a pizza and probably eat a Reese cup. I am going out with a friend one night, but also want to have some time at home to relax. I am planning to rent a lot of movies. Although I`ll be able to stay out late, I really doubt I will, as I am usually ready to fall asleep by 10 P.M.! I am pretty surprised that she got in, as her asthma is not severe. I think they let her in because of the food allergies. Smudgesgarden, it is through the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. I don`t think it really has a name. They just call it "Asthma Camp". Their website is [url="http://www.aafa.org"]www.aafa.org[/url] Check and see if they have a chapter near you. Basically they rent space at a real camp, and then make it safe for kids with allergy/asthma. Her camp will be up in the mountains about 85 miles away. (I am in Los Angeles.) She is really excited. Your ds`s allergies are really not much more than my dd, so I bet they could accomodate him if they have something similar in your area.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited June 16, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 9:14am
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This is so heartwarming to hear! Good for both of you!!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 11:36am
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Wow, that camp sounds incredible. I'm so happy for you and DD that you found it. Assuming my child doesn't develop asthma, it's too bad he'll never be a candidate for such a wonderful place.

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 12:21pm
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I saw something like this at our allergist's office recently, but I have not inquired about it just yet, b/c it is for 6-13 & aidan is only 5. But they have a whole medical team there & our allergist cooriditnates it with an area hospital. I will have to check into it to see how they accomadate FAs. Or even if they don't I can talk to our allergist! The one I saw was called Camp Azzie. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] It is in Louisiana. I'm excited now & will talk to them soon. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I'm very happy for you!

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 12:32pm
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we are in new york ill check around here.
this weekend my husband is away with the kids in albany to visit his brother and his family. its the first time ive been away from my kids over night.. (i had some peanuts at work just because i could!!!) i miss my kids. i didnt think i would miss them this much... and its just for one night.. dont know if im ready to think about camp just yet!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
of coarse i have quite a few years before i send johnny to camp! so i have time to prepare!
hope the pizza was good!!!!
---
erin

Posted on: Sun, 06/18/2006 - 5:51am
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they actually have these camps in many states across the country- ask your allergist!! our allergist is the director for one of them here in Pennsylvania- I was also very happy to hear about it! My son is SO active and at age 6 is already asking about overnight camps ( we have had him in several different day camps each summer, and i always worry!!) Asthma camp will be Ideal for him ( and he does have asthma in addtition to his nut allergies) My kids also just participated in an "asthma Olympics" last month locally and had so much fun~ it was great support for them to hang out with other kids dealing with similar allergy and asthma issues. I bet the camp is a blast! let us know how her experience is! Jen
[This message has been edited by jayD (edited June 18, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 07/14/2006 - 11:53pm
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Well, dd got back from camp yesterday, so I am back to update everyone as promised. She had a great time. Things were not exactly as they said, but pretty close, and she was old enough to work around the things that were a little different.
So I dropped her off at the bus on Sunday. We all met at a park. I could see the doctor get on the bus (these were air conditioned tour buses, by the way, really nice). I saw them wheel an oxygen tank on the bus, so I could tell they were prepared for anything. I introduced dd to the nurse who was going, and told dd if she had any questions about which foods were safe she could ask the nurse. The nurse said they had lots of kids with food allergies going. Out of 85 kids, 6 were milk allergic and 5 were pa. I`m not sure if that included kids who are tna and not pa. I didn`t ask the nurse about other allergies. The other nurse, the one who organizes the camp had emailed me the menu a few days before. I packed for dd hamburger buns, hot dog buns, bread, and mini-boxes of cereal, in case she had safety concerns about the cereal there. When they have them in those big bins in those hotels where you get the free breakfast, I always tell dd that she cannot have them, as who knows what cereal was in the bin the day before and who knows if the bin was thoroughly washed. At the orientation in June, I had asked if the ingredients on the hot dog buns and hamburger buns would be posted, most buns and bread have milk, so that was why I decided to send our own as a back up.
So anyhow, when dd got home yesterday we went over the menu, and we talked about what she was and was not able to eat, so I would have an idea what to send next time. While she was at camp the only food of ours that she ate was two slices of bread the day they had a sandwich. The hot dog buns and hamburger buns at camp were safe. (the unsafe foods being unsafe due to the milk allergy). Dd said there was a girl in her cabin who was allergic to peanuts and soy, so I really have the impression they don`t have any trouble accomodating mfa kids. I think soy would be really hard to avoid. Anyhow, dd and I went over the menu and she did have enough to eat at each meal. I would say she was able to eat 1/2 to 2/3 of the foods serverd and there were maybe 5 to 7 items at each meal. She said they had ingredients listed for most items but not all items. They did not list ingredients for the french fries or the bacon, so the first time those were served she avoided them. The next time they served french fries and at another meal bacon, she asked the nurse or doctor to find out the ingredients. They were safe and she ate them. The dry cereal was in those big bins so she avoided them. Dd did not have any of our cereal, because she was not sure if she could drink their soy milk. It was a different brand than we use at home, so she wasn`t sure. It would have been fine, but she was playing it safe. She still definitely had enough to eat. She said there was one time that was really scary where she didn`t feel well while eating some oatmeal and went to lie down. Dd was sure it was not an allergic reaction, because she also did not feel well before eating the oatmeal. Anyhow, she went to lie down and the doctor immediately came over and asked dd what she ate. They were right on top of it, whereas at school if your child says they don`t feel well, who knows if anyone would even think of an allergic reaction. Anyhow, the doctor came over right away and asked dd if she ate oatmeal. Dd said yes. The doctor said it has whey in it (whey is milk protein). Dd said no, that dd had read the ingredients and it did not have whey. The doctor went back and checked and dd was correct, the doctor was wrong, it did not have whey. Dd said during that brief moment that the doctor was checking, she was a little scared. Other than that, she was fine at camp. Another thing that was different from what they told us was that they had said that the ingredients would always be in plain words: if it had milk it would say "milk", etc. But the oatmeal did say "whey" and not "milk". If they had told us there could be some hidden words, I would have gone over with dd the other words for milk. Fortunately she remembered that casein, whey, and lactose or lactate can mean milk. I cannot believe she even knew that, as I don`t really have her reading labels at home. The other thing that was different than expected was that they served snacks which were not on the menu which they had emailed me and dd said there were a few days they served granola bars with nuts. I have no idea of it was a may conain or actually had tree nuts. Dd is not tna so it was not a problem as far as airborne/contact, but I was very surprised. I don`t think the Asthma and Allergy Foundation knew this would happen, as the food was prepared by the camp employees (the Asthma and Allergy Foundation uses a regular camp which is basically rented out to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation for a week). Anyhow, I could see where some on this board might have a problem with them passing out granola bars with tree nuts in them. It is possible it was only a may contain. Dd did not see the ingredients, but said they made an announcement "if you are allergic to nuts you cannot eat these". Another thing that was good about the camp, is at the meals they would often make an announcement if you are allergic to _______, you can`t have _________.
So all in all it went really well, with those few minor glitches. Dd had a great time, made a new friend, and I feel she was really safe there. The other part that was great for dd was all the kids there were on asthma meds. Each cabin was assigned a doctor. The kids in the cabin would line up alphabetically and the doctor would hand them their meds, and let them know if they were doing it correctly or not. Dd came home with a peak flow meter. I am embarassed to say she never uses one at home, because her asthma is really well controlled. They had a little bit of asthma education each day, and got to see a lung of a real pig, to see what a lung looks like. They learned about airway inflammation and hyper reactivity.
As far as the other activities, she had a blast. They had swimming, archery, arts and crafts, did skits, sang songs around the campfire. She did not get homesick the tiniest bit, and already said she definitely wants to go back next year. Another parent told me at the bus when the kids left that the kids only get to go every two years, so as to rotate the spaces, since there are more kids who want to go than there are spaces. I asked the nurse in charge if this is true and she said yes, usually, but exceptions are made. It is evaluated case by case. Clearly dd could never go to a regular camp, so I hope she gets in next year. The staff was wonderful about checking on ingredients, and I loved that each cabin had its own doctor. It was great for dd not to have to break away from the group to take her asthma meds since they all did it together. I am not sure I would send a mfa kid there before the age of 10 or so, just because the ingredients were not always in the regular words. Also, dd made sure to ask the cook to change gloves when the cook made dd a sandwich using our own bread---I am not sure a younger child would do that. I must say I was so impressed with how dd handled her food allergies; she is so on the ball with that.
As for me, I had a great time. The first day when I got home from taking her to the bus, the house was so quiet (I am a single mom). The first day was a little lonely. The rest of the time was great. I went out dancing one night, rented lots of DVDs, still had to work during the day. The thing that was best was that if I did not feel like eating, I did not have to cook. I actually did not have the urge to get a Reese`s or anything with peanuts while she was gone. I ate a lot of things with cheese though, and ordered a big salad in a restaurant a couple of times which was great, because dd does not like to eat out, because she can never have anything much due to the milk allergy. So it was nice to eat out.
When I picked dd up at the bus yesterday, I actually did not recognize my own child. She seems to have grown, and was wearing her hair in a new hairstyle. She seems much more mature than a week ago. She already wants to have her new friend sleep over. The new friend lives an hour away.
I think the camp will be posting photos on their website within the next week or so. If so, I will post the link.

Posted on: Sat, 07/15/2006 - 3:07am
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Carefulmom, Fabulous! I am so glad that your DD had such a great time. Also glad for you that she seems to be 'in charge' of her allergies. Glad that you enjoyed the week off, also!
What a wonderful opportunity for kids that could never go to camp otherwise!
Adele

Posted on: Mon, 07/17/2006 - 2:34pm
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Wow what a great camp story! It made me tear up! I will be looking into an equivilant in Canada when Belle is old enough. I am Girl Guide Leader here and all of my camps are PN/TN safe - even though Belle is too young to go. I don't want to bring anything home that may affect her.
I just am amazed at the staff at this camp, do you think the Drs. are paid or volunteer? Not that it matters, but its like someone has taken the time to make the lives of these kids "normal". I am so happy for you, and hope she gets in again next year!
Lorriane
Belle Age 2 - TN/PN

Posted on: Tue, 07/18/2006 - 4:28am
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Carefulmom, that is so awesome! I really can hardly put to words. What an amazing experience to be able to have. Funny too to think that going to camp can be such a big deal, but with FA's those things others take for granted, well, you know, there truly is an appreciation for something like that. What a great highlight to summer vacation for your daughter --- and you too!!!

Posted on: Tue, 07/18/2006 - 2:38pm
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Thank you for posting about this camp! This gives me hope for when my little guy is old enough to think about camp.
I am so happy that your daughter had fun and that you didn't have to worry every second she was away. What a gift!

Posted on: Wed, 07/19/2006 - 11:16pm
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I went digging and found the link for locating asthma camps in your area.
[url="http://www.asthmacamps.org/AsthmaCamps/findacamp/usmap.asp?topic=professional"]http://www.asthmacamps.org/AsthmaCamps/findacamp/usmap.asp?topic=professional[/url]
Carolyn

Posted on: Thu, 07/20/2006 - 12:23am
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What a great time your DD had...and you, too! I am so happy for you guys and am glad everything went so well!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 4:57am
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Wow, that is such great news. I hope your DD has a wonderful time!!! And how wonderful for you too....to just be able to send your MFA child to camp...to just be able to do it. THat's so great...enjoy!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 5:13am
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Congratulations on your DD getting into the camp!!! How exciting for her to be able to go -- and exciting for you that you don't have to sit and worry about the MFA's. Truly amazing! Let's hope she has the time of her life, and if you go one year you end up with some priority for the next year!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 5:20am
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Yes, and if she actually has a question about the ingredients, she can ask one of the allergists there, and I know she will be given the correct answer. I know your ds is pa and egg allergic, right? But I think he is younger than my dd. Anyhow, I have the impression that they would have no problem accomodating egg allergy. They said at the meeting that they keep the food items really simple with few ingredients to make it easy for the kids to determine what is safe. Maybe they have a chapter in your area, if your ds wants to go at some point.

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 8:20am
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How absolutely wonderful for you and your DD! How long will the camp be and how will you spend your time without her around? Enjoy and have a terrific summer!

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 8:41am
krasota's picture
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We used to send my little brother to asthma camp (somewhere in Indiana). He loved it. My mom was relieved to know that conscientious staff who could handle his needs were all on board. He loved it.
It also gave the rest of the family a break from carrying extra inhalers and meds for him all the time. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] We had a week off and he had a week of fun and hijinx.
ygg

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 11:09am
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Carefulmom, That's fabulous! Your DD must be SO excited!
Are you going to enjoy the week too? Are you going to plan anything special?
Adele

Posted on: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 9:06pm
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That's wonderful news!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I'm so glad she got in and is excited to go [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I hope you enjoy the week too. I'm really happy for her. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] Meg

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 5:12am
SallyL's picture
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That's awesome!! I actually am getting tears in my eyes!!

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 5:29am
smudgesgarden's picture
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thats realy awsome...
whats the name of the camp? and where is it located? im thinking way ahead here for my son. i never ever thought he would be able to go to sleep away camp!
my husband wants him to join boy scouts in a few years but i just cant imagen him going to a camp out with all the diffrent allergies he has...
this camp sounds too good to be true.
i so happy for you!
----
erin
son alergic to peanuts, dairy, strawberries, blueberries and aparently my mother in laws dog [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 9:08am
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The camp is for five nights and is for ages 8 to 14. Dd is already saying it isn`t long enough! Something tells me she isn`t going to get homesick. As for me, I`ll miss her alot. The longest we have been apart is about 30 hours. I will definitely order a pizza and probably eat a Reese cup. I am going out with a friend one night, but also want to have some time at home to relax. I am planning to rent a lot of movies. Although I`ll be able to stay out late, I really doubt I will, as I am usually ready to fall asleep by 10 P.M.! I am pretty surprised that she got in, as her asthma is not severe. I think they let her in because of the food allergies. Smudgesgarden, it is through the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. I don`t think it really has a name. They just call it "Asthma Camp". Their website is [url="http://www.aafa.org"]www.aafa.org[/url] Check and see if they have a chapter near you. Basically they rent space at a real camp, and then make it safe for kids with allergy/asthma. Her camp will be up in the mountains about 85 miles away. (I am in Los Angeles.) She is really excited. Your ds`s allergies are really not much more than my dd, so I bet they could accomodate him if they have something similar in your area.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited June 16, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 9:14am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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This is so heartwarming to hear! Good for both of you!!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 11:36am
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Wow, that camp sounds incredible. I'm so happy for you and DD that you found it. Assuming my child doesn't develop asthma, it's too bad he'll never be a candidate for such a wonderful place.

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 12:21pm
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I saw something like this at our allergist's office recently, but I have not inquired about it just yet, b/c it is for 6-13 & aidan is only 5. But they have a whole medical team there & our allergist cooriditnates it with an area hospital. I will have to check into it to see how they accomadate FAs. Or even if they don't I can talk to our allergist! The one I saw was called Camp Azzie. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] It is in Louisiana. I'm excited now & will talk to them soon. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I'm very happy for you!

Posted on: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 12:32pm
smudgesgarden's picture
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Joined: 02/26/2006 - 09:00

we are in new york ill check around here.
this weekend my husband is away with the kids in albany to visit his brother and his family. its the first time ive been away from my kids over night.. (i had some peanuts at work just because i could!!!) i miss my kids. i didnt think i would miss them this much... and its just for one night.. dont know if im ready to think about camp just yet!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
of coarse i have quite a few years before i send johnny to camp! so i have time to prepare!
hope the pizza was good!!!!
---
erin

Posted on: Sun, 06/18/2006 - 5:51am
jayD's picture
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Joined: 09/20/2000 - 09:00

they actually have these camps in many states across the country- ask your allergist!! our allergist is the director for one of them here in Pennsylvania- I was also very happy to hear about it! My son is SO active and at age 6 is already asking about overnight camps ( we have had him in several different day camps each summer, and i always worry!!) Asthma camp will be Ideal for him ( and he does have asthma in addtition to his nut allergies) My kids also just participated in an "asthma Olympics" last month locally and had so much fun~ it was great support for them to hang out with other kids dealing with similar allergy and asthma issues. I bet the camp is a blast! let us know how her experience is! Jen
[This message has been edited by jayD (edited June 18, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 07/14/2006 - 11:53pm
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Well, dd got back from camp yesterday, so I am back to update everyone as promised. She had a great time. Things were not exactly as they said, but pretty close, and she was old enough to work around the things that were a little different.
So I dropped her off at the bus on Sunday. We all met at a park. I could see the doctor get on the bus (these were air conditioned tour buses, by the way, really nice). I saw them wheel an oxygen tank on the bus, so I could tell they were prepared for anything. I introduced dd to the nurse who was going, and told dd if she had any questions about which foods were safe she could ask the nurse. The nurse said they had lots of kids with food allergies going. Out of 85 kids, 6 were milk allergic and 5 were pa. I`m not sure if that included kids who are tna and not pa. I didn`t ask the nurse about other allergies. The other nurse, the one who organizes the camp had emailed me the menu a few days before. I packed for dd hamburger buns, hot dog buns, bread, and mini-boxes of cereal, in case she had safety concerns about the cereal there. When they have them in those big bins in those hotels where you get the free breakfast, I always tell dd that she cannot have them, as who knows what cereal was in the bin the day before and who knows if the bin was thoroughly washed. At the orientation in June, I had asked if the ingredients on the hot dog buns and hamburger buns would be posted, most buns and bread have milk, so that was why I decided to send our own as a back up.
So anyhow, when dd got home yesterday we went over the menu, and we talked about what she was and was not able to eat, so I would have an idea what to send next time. While she was at camp the only food of ours that she ate was two slices of bread the day they had a sandwich. The hot dog buns and hamburger buns at camp were safe. (the unsafe foods being unsafe due to the milk allergy). Dd said there was a girl in her cabin who was allergic to peanuts and soy, so I really have the impression they don`t have any trouble accomodating mfa kids. I think soy would be really hard to avoid. Anyhow, dd and I went over the menu and she did have enough to eat at each meal. I would say she was able to eat 1/2 to 2/3 of the foods serverd and there were maybe 5 to 7 items at each meal. She said they had ingredients listed for most items but not all items. They did not list ingredients for the french fries or the bacon, so the first time those were served she avoided them. The next time they served french fries and at another meal bacon, she asked the nurse or doctor to find out the ingredients. They were safe and she ate them. The dry cereal was in those big bins so she avoided them. Dd did not have any of our cereal, because she was not sure if she could drink their soy milk. It was a different brand than we use at home, so she wasn`t sure. It would have been fine, but she was playing it safe. She still definitely had enough to eat. She said there was one time that was really scary where she didn`t feel well while eating some oatmeal and went to lie down. Dd was sure it was not an allergic reaction, because she also did not feel well before eating the oatmeal. Anyhow, she went to lie down and the doctor immediately came over and asked dd what she ate. They were right on top of it, whereas at school if your child says they don`t feel well, who knows if anyone would even think of an allergic reaction. Anyhow, the doctor came over right away and asked dd if she ate oatmeal. Dd said yes. The doctor said it has whey in it (whey is milk protein). Dd said no, that dd had read the ingredients and it did not have whey. The doctor went back and checked and dd was correct, the doctor was wrong, it did not have whey. Dd said during that brief moment that the doctor was checking, she was a little scared. Other than that, she was fine at camp. Another thing that was different from what they told us was that they had said that the ingredients would always be in plain words: if it had milk it would say "milk", etc. But the oatmeal did say "whey" and not "milk". If they had told us there could be some hidden words, I would have gone over with dd the other words for milk. Fortunately she remembered that casein, whey, and lactose or lactate can mean milk. I cannot believe she even knew that, as I don`t really have her reading labels at home. The other thing that was different than expected was that they served snacks which were not on the menu which they had emailed me and dd said there were a few days they served granola bars with nuts. I have no idea of it was a may conain or actually had tree nuts. Dd is not tna so it was not a problem as far as airborne/contact, but I was very surprised. I don`t think the Asthma and Allergy Foundation knew this would happen, as the food was prepared by the camp employees (the Asthma and Allergy Foundation uses a regular camp which is basically rented out to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation for a week). Anyhow, I could see where some on this board might have a problem with them passing out granola bars with tree nuts in them. It is possible it was only a may contain. Dd did not see the ingredients, but said they made an announcement "if you are allergic to nuts you cannot eat these". Another thing that was good about the camp, is at the meals they would often make an announcement if you are allergic to _______, you can`t have _________.
So all in all it went really well, with those few minor glitches. Dd had a great time, made a new friend, and I feel she was really safe there. The other part that was great for dd was all the kids there were on asthma meds. Each cabin was assigned a doctor. The kids in the cabin would line up alphabetically and the doctor would hand them their meds, and let them know if they were doing it correctly or not. Dd came home with a peak flow meter. I am embarassed to say she never uses one at home, because her asthma is really well controlled. They had a little bit of asthma education each day, and got to see a lung of a real pig, to see what a lung looks like. They learned about airway inflammation and hyper reactivity.
As far as the other activities, she had a blast. They had swimming, archery, arts and crafts, did skits, sang songs around the campfire. She did not get homesick the tiniest bit, and already said she definitely wants to go back next year. Another parent told me at the bus when the kids left that the kids only get to go every two years, so as to rotate the spaces, since there are more kids who want to go than there are spaces. I asked the nurse in charge if this is true and she said yes, usually, but exceptions are made. It is evaluated case by case. Clearly dd could never go to a regular camp, so I hope she gets in next year. The staff was wonderful about checking on ingredients, and I loved that each cabin had its own doctor. It was great for dd not to have to break away from the group to take her asthma meds since they all did it together. I am not sure I would send a mfa kid there before the age of 10 or so, just because the ingredients were not always in the regular words. Also, dd made sure to ask the cook to change gloves when the cook made dd a sandwich using our own bread---I am not sure a younger child would do that. I must say I was so impressed with how dd handled her food allergies; she is so on the ball with that.
As for me, I had a great time. The first day when I got home from taking her to the bus, the house was so quiet (I am a single mom). The first day was a little lonely. The rest of the time was great. I went out dancing one night, rented lots of DVDs, still had to work during the day. The thing that was best was that if I did not feel like eating, I did not have to cook. I actually did not have the urge to get a Reese`s or anything with peanuts while she was gone. I ate a lot of things with cheese though, and ordered a big salad in a restaurant a couple of times which was great, because dd does not like to eat out, because she can never have anything much due to the milk allergy. So it was nice to eat out.
When I picked dd up at the bus yesterday, I actually did not recognize my own child. She seems to have grown, and was wearing her hair in a new hairstyle. She seems much more mature than a week ago. She already wants to have her new friend sleep over. The new friend lives an hour away.
I think the camp will be posting photos on their website within the next week or so. If so, I will post the link.

Posted on: Sat, 07/15/2006 - 3:07am
Adele's picture
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Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

Carefulmom, Fabulous! I am so glad that your DD had such a great time. Also glad for you that she seems to be 'in charge' of her allergies. Glad that you enjoyed the week off, also!
What a wonderful opportunity for kids that could never go to camp otherwise!
Adele

Posted on: Mon, 07/17/2006 - 2:34pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Wow what a great camp story! It made me tear up! I will be looking into an equivilant in Canada when Belle is old enough. I am Girl Guide Leader here and all of my camps are PN/TN safe - even though Belle is too young to go. I don't want to bring anything home that may affect her.
I just am amazed at the staff at this camp, do you think the Drs. are paid or volunteer? Not that it matters, but its like someone has taken the time to make the lives of these kids "normal". I am so happy for you, and hope she gets in again next year!
Lorriane
Belle Age 2 - TN/PN

Posted on: Tue, 07/18/2006 - 4:28am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

Carefulmom, that is so awesome! I really can hardly put to words. What an amazing experience to be able to have. Funny too to think that going to camp can be such a big deal, but with FA's those things others take for granted, well, you know, there truly is an appreciation for something like that. What a great highlight to summer vacation for your daughter --- and you too!!!

Posted on: Tue, 07/18/2006 - 2:38pm
milosmom's picture
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Joined: 05/30/2006 - 09:00

Thank you for posting about this camp! This gives me hope for when my little guy is old enough to think about camp.
I am so happy that your daughter had fun and that you didn't have to worry every second she was away. What a gift!

Posted on: Wed, 07/19/2006 - 11:16pm
tcperrine's picture
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Joined: 03/01/2002 - 09:00

I went digging and found the link for locating asthma camps in your area.
[url="http://www.asthmacamps.org/AsthmaCamps/findacamp/usmap.asp?topic=professional"]http://www.asthmacamps.org/AsthmaCamps/findacamp/usmap.asp?topic=professional[/url]
Carolyn

Posted on: Thu, 07/20/2006 - 12:23am
lilpig99's picture
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Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

What a great time your DD had...and you, too! I am so happy for you guys and am glad everything went so well!

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