I wish that I could time travel back about 7 years when my food allergic daughter was 10. At the time, she’d just finished attending overnight camp with her school and had such a wonderful experience that she really wanted to go again. There was just one problem; there was nowhere to go that was safe. The reason she’d been able to attend the school camp was that her dad accompanied her as a volunteer, brought safe snacks for her and checked all meals with the kitchen staff. He could hardly attend summer camp with her too.
Because the camp that had hosted her school was nearby to us and had been really very good about all of our food allergy questions, we looked into whether they might be able to handle her needs during a summer camp without a parent by her side. No such luck. Neither we nor their administration were truly comfortable regarding all of the expertise in the kitchen that would be needed and the questions of liability that brought up. So, no camp not only for her but also for her sister. We felt it would hardly be fair to send one child when the other couldn’t.
So it was with delight (and some envy) that I found out about Zajac Ranch for Children that is specifically for children/young adults with medical needs. Not only is it nearby in Vancouver, BC, it’s also medically supervised by staff from the University of British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital. While they host different camps all summer for a wide variety of medical needs, the last week of August is specifically for children with food allergies. I love that they’re avoiding all of the top 10 food allergens but also that siblings and friends can join their allergic loved ones at camp if they’d like. Their motto on their home page? “Out Here We Raise Spirits”
When I posted about Zajac Ranch on my Libre Naturals Facebook Page, AAFA of Minnesota also let me know that they’d been hosting a camp that also took care of multiple food allergies (49 alone last year!) and that this summer will be their 6th season. Fantastic! I also know that there are several camps for kids with Celiac Disease (ROCK) autism, diabetes and others needing special diets but I certainly don’t know them all. So, please, if you know of any, post them here including links to websites if they have them.
I think that the people who create and volunteer at these camps are our unsung heroes so my hat goes off to you all.