More than 12 million Americans — including 1 in 13 children — suffer from food allergies.* They have become so prevalent in many families’ daily lives, it’s no surprise that camps have caught on and adapted their kitchen and food policies with the times. Just as each camp is different, so too are their food allergy policies.
If your child has a food allergy from mild to severe, rest assured there is a camp for you! Summer 365 is here to guide you through the process of finding the right camp for your child and his or her food needs. There are so many factors involved in choosing the right camp environment, and it can be overwhelming to start your sleepaway camp search. By working with us, you can cover all your bases and know exactly which camps handle which allergies, who to talk to, what to ask, and get our first-hand advice to help you find the best fit for your child. How do we know so much? During the summer, our team travels from camp to camp—meeting with directors, asking lots of questions, seeing the dining rooms, understanding each camp’s food policy, how they handle allergies, and what they can accommodate.
There are many food allergies such as peanut, soy, gluten, sunflower, dairy, nuts, and egg to name a few. Depending on the type and severity of your child’s allergy, you need to know different things about the camp. Certain camps have become nut-free (typically meaning that they do not serve any nuts, nor purchase any food that has been processed in a facility that may contain nuts), and most are nut-aware / nut-sensitive (typically meaning they do not buy food with nut oils or those processed in a facility that may contain nuts, however, they do serve peanut butter in the dining room but may contain the area it is served in and might have nut free tables). Camps that are both nut-free and nut-aware can accommodate nut allergies. Many camps have also made a concerted effort to offer gluten free foods and options for any campers who have gluten allergies, sensitivities, or celiac disease, as this has become another prominent allergy among children.
We are here for you to sort out all of the options, learn about your child’s needs, and what is important to you in your search. When you work with us, you get to hear about camps straight from the source. We are in constant contact with directors and head staff at camps, asking them about updates to their health centers, doctors and nurses on staff, closest hospitals, dining halls and food policies and protocols, and how food allergies are handled at camp (via kitchen, camp staff, etc).
Additionally, during the search process it is important to have an honest conversation with camp directors about your child’s unique needs and background in order for both sides to make a well-informed decision about which camp is the best fit for your child.
Summer 365 can assure you it’s possible to survive and thrive with food allergies at sleepaway camp. To find the best camp for your child, contact Summer 365, a free year round summer camp resource for parents nationwide.
*CNN article: Surviving summer camp with food allergies