Anyone have summer camp stories to share?

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2003 - 1:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I am helping Chris gather stories for an upcoming newsletter. I also posted a link on the Main Discussion Board.

Thanks is Advance for sharing your experiences with summer camps!


Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2003 - 2:04am
Kathy L.'s picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

My pa daughter (and her non-pa sister) have been attending our town's summer camp for a few years now. Never had any problems. There are about 75 or so kids and probably 5 or 6 adults. There are also two counselors per each group of 6-10 kids who are trained very well. They're very good about the food allergy situation. There is also a bee sting-allergic child at the camp who has an epi-pen. Several people at the camp know how to use the epi-pen; however at the start of each camp I ask to educate the staff on what to look for in the way of reactions. My daughter is almost 8 and never eats lunch by anyone who has peanut stuff. Kids are not allowed to share food, (but I'm sure it happens) and sometimes little prizes are given out, but it is usually hard candy, lollipops or little toys - never any may contains.
I send her with her epi-pen in her backpack, with the little icepack thingie, as well as wipes and her water bottle. My older daughter is always watching out for her too, which is good.
They do have a few trips, which I attend with her. They always go to the county fair and the movies.
The camp starts on 6/30 so I'll start printing out my information to give out. The good thing is that a few of my friends are on the recreation commission. The director always recognizes me when I sign up - oh you're Elyse's mom, who has the peanut allergy. I feel comfortable; however, I never go very far away when she's at camp just in case they need to reach me. Until recently, EMT's couldn't carry or administer epi's in our state. Now they can, but the program hasn't been completely implemented yet.

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2003 - 2:22am
DebO's picture
Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

I have just been registering my kids for a variety of camps for the summer. I was quite pleasantly surprised when I went to register them at a City of Ottawa camp. I started with, "I have a question about the snacks and lunch" and they immediately responded that the camps are peanut free and the vending machines are off-limits for the campers.
My kids have been going to summer camps for 2 years and have never had any problems. I put 2 small freezies wrapped in napkins in with their epipens to keep them cool.
(Oh and no, I didn't get into a discussion about the definition and implications of peanut-free like the ones from our school thread.... [img][/img])
take care

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2003 - 3:00am
McKenziesMom's picture
Joined: 03/05/2001 - 09:00

My 12 year old DD has gone to overnight camp twice - each of them for 10 day sessions at Canterbury Hills in Ancaster, Ontario. They have a full-time nurse on staff and I met with her and the kitchen manager during the openhouse the first year my DD went and they provided me with the proposed menus and invited me to offer substitutions where I felt it might be necessary. Then, when the camp started, they took me in the kitchen and got me to inspect the product labels and showed me their "tuck" list of daily treats. The councillors kept my DD's 2 epipens and the nurse had 2 extras that we provided.
They had already previously had children with PA, and various other allergies, so I had to make very few substitutions. I did send along a couple of containers of "SAFE" snacks for my DD, which were kept in the kitchen, in case there was something SHE personally felt unsure of, even though I could find nothing that would have caused a potential problem.
I hardly stepped away from the phone for 10 days, but she had an amazing time and gained a lot of self-confidence.
However, we are only dealing with peanuts, treenuts, shellfish and a mild egg allergy, so we didn't have as much so worry about as some families might.
For us, it was a success story (both years).

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2003 - 10:40am
Julie1's picture
Joined: 11/09/1999 - 09:00

Last summer our then 8 year daughter with multiple food alergies started at a new day camp. In addition to the food allergies, she has eczema and asthma. I very carefully went over all of her special requirements with the nurse and left her epi-pen and benadryl with her. That evening, our then 10 year old son, who was attending the same camp, told me that a kid in his group told him what turned out to be a really vile anti-semitic joke (we happen to be jewish) The joke teller turned out to be the nurse's son! Because camp had just started, and we were new to the camp, I really didn't know the capability of our son's counselor to deal with a kid's very offensive joke. I also didn't know (and therefore trust) the director's judgement with this type of thing.
Part of me felt that I should not let that kind of highly offensive thing go unadressed, the other part of me felt "But the kid's mother is the NURSE...I HAVE to have her full cooperation for our daughter's safety" (Who knew where he even heard the joke...) I ended up not saying anything to the camp counselor (and tried to adress my son's feelings in other ways)I felt caught in a bind, but even the possibility of alientating the camp nurse felt like a mistake. Luckily, there were no allergy problems for our daughter at camp (and the boy never told any other jokes of that nature)

Posted on: Sat, 06/14/2003 - 1:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks Ladies for sharing your stories!
Kathy- It sounds like the camp has been a very positive experience for both your children. Are you in the US? (OT--Did you have a part in helping to change the legislation with the EMTs, if so I would love to find out how it was accomplished, maybe by email so as not to get this post off topic).
Deb--The ice pack for the Epi-pens is a great idea. Once again, Canada seems very allergy aware.
Linda-- Glad to hear of a positive overnight camp experience.
Julie-- It must have been a hard situation to be in with your son. Of course, you did not want to alienate your daughter or disregard your sons feelings, sorry you were in such a tough situation.

Posted on: Tue, 06/17/2003 - 3:55am
Kathy L.'s picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

mom2nickie - yes, I'm in the U.S. - New Jersey. Regarding the EMT bill, I wrote a few emails and letters, but there is a local food allergy support group that was instrumental. There were people from the group that testified in the legislature. They collected photos of food allergic children for a montage to display at the testimony. I can get you in touch with the support group if you email me.

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