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Calling All Gluten-Free Summer Camps

Calling All Gluten-Free Summer Camps

Dude note: If you have not seen the classic movie Meatballs, 1) shame on you and 2) some of the references in the post will make absolutely no sense to you.

Summer is around the corner and that means parents are scrambling, looking for ways to get rid of their kids for the summer. I mean, they’re looking for ways to enhance their child’s life. That means only thing: summer camp. Food, fun, games, new friendships, life lessons. What could be better? Well…for those kids with celiac disease, it throws a major monkey wrench into things.

“It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter.”

Sure it matters. Three meals a day plus snacks? It totally matters. But if there were summer camps that could completely accommodate those with celiac disease?

“Attention. Here’s an update on tonight’s dinner. It was veal. I repeat, veal. The winner of tonight’s mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin who guessed ‘some kind of beef.’ ”

Believe me…there are camps out there that do food right. And celiac friendly? Is it really possible to keep the kids safe in this atmosphere? Here is how the NJY Camps handle it:

NJY Camps in Milford, PA has a dedicated, GIG certified, gluten-free kitchen which we opened in 2011. The difference between our camp program and other Celiac camp programs is we also have a main stream kitchen. In other words children with Celiac can attend our camp with their non-Celiac friends and family. We have two separate serving areas. When the camper’s table is called the campers go to whichever line they need. The Gluten-free line is supervised by an adult who has Celiac. She knows everything about each child and staff who come to her line including what other allergies ( eggs, nuts, dairy) that they may have. Our staff go through a whole training on the dining room which includes a part on food allergies and gluten-free. Menus are matched so if its pizza, they get gluten-free pizza. There is a separate salad bar. The whole line is in a totally separate area so there can be no cross contamination.

As for the rest of our camp program, the cooking activity is gluten-free so anyone can sign up. Campers going out for athletic or swim meets have their meals prepared in the gf kitchen. Last summer we served over 75 campers and staff.

We run 6 family camp weekends over the course of the summer. One is a specifically GF family weekend, which this year is June 10-12, 2016. It is in partnership with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University who supply medical staff for sessions in the.morning if parents wish to attend.

Read more about the program here.

That’s how they handle it. Pretty cool, right? While I cannot personally vouch for them, they seem to be taking all of the proper precautions and doing it in a way where the kids do not feel different.

“Attention all campers, it’s 9:30… and that’s lights-out time here at Camp Northstar, 9:30 as you know. Tomorrow is parents day, and you must look rested or Morty will be sent to the state penitentiary.”

The questions is…are there other camps around the world that offer a safe zone for those kids with celiac? I have not done the research. In my defense, it’s out of pure laziness.

So do you run a celiac-camp? Have you attended a celiac-safe camp? Are you aware of any celiac-safe camps? Do you have a second cousin on your mom’s side who has a friend, whose sister has celiac and has been to a safe camp? I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT.

“Attention. Bus for the Camp Mohawk basketball game leaving in 15 minutes, and there is a very fat pair of pants hanging on the flagpole this morning.”

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you know. No kid should miss out on summer fun because of a stupid autoimmune disease.

Believe me Tripper…it matters:


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