Gluten-Free Summer CampSome of the best summers of my life were spent at a sleep-away camp in Riverhead, NY. My sister and I went for 7 years and still keep in touch with camp friends today. I always had a special milk crate of my food in the walk-in refrigerators at camp. I became close friends with Mary-Anne, the cook, and was able to help myself to various things that were reserved for counselors only. I probably could have been more careful throughout my camp years, but I was definitely watched out for by Mary-Anne. It amazes me that there are now gluten-free camps. Although many of them are quite far from where I grew up, it would have been nice to have this option growing up.
Nancy, at the Celiac Disease About.com site, put together a great list of gluten-free summer camps. There is probably a huge sense of relief for a parent that sends their Celiac child to one of these camps. There is no need to worry about your child getting sick when dining in a mess hall. These camps all sponsor gluten-free sessions.
Camp Sponsor: The Georgia Celiac Foundation
Location: Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia.
Dates: May 8-10, 2009
Camp Wee-Kan-Eat-It Family Weekend is for any family (adults and children) with a family member with celiac disease.
Details: Camp is held at Camp Twin Lakes is a state-of-the-art, fully accessible facility located on 500 acres. In 2008, camp cost about $350 per family. Scholarships are likely to be available. Other allergies can be accommodated.
Camp Sponsor: The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG)
Location 1: Camp Kanata, Wake Forest, NC
Dates: June 21-27, 2009
Location 2: Camp Sealth, Vashon Island, WA
Dates: July 28-August 3; Aug 4-7; or July 28-August 7, 2009
Details: GIG Kids Camps are mainstream, integrated camps, where kids must still be aware of what foods are safe and not safe, ask questions and be able to talk to others about their eating restrictions. Camp counselors are trained by GIG Staff. GIG makes sure the necessary gluten free substitutions are available for meals and any activity the kids might do. Each GIG Kids Camp has a GIG dietitian on site. Important: Register for GIG Kids Summer Camp programs at Camp Kanata and Camp Sealth, and then send a copy of your child’s registration to GIG with the GIG Camp Forms.
Camp Sponsor: Celiac Sprue Association
Location: Camp Aldersgate, North Scituate, Rhode Island
Dates: August 9-14, 2009
For children and youth with celiac disease ages 7-16.
Details: Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2009, Camp Celiac is one of the largest gluten-free camps in the United States, with children coming from across the United States and abroad. The camp is closed to all other groups during the gluten-free sessions, to allow for a gluten-free dining hall and atmosphere. Camp Celiac provides a full-time, registered nurse licensed in the state of Rhode Island to handle all medical needs including medications. Scholarships are available.
Camp Sponsor: Celiac Disease Foundation
Location: Camp Arroyo, Livermore, California
Dates: July 26-31, 2009
For campers ages 9-17.
Details: Camp Arroyo, an old-fashioned summer camp for kids, offers a gluten-free week at no charge except for a $25 registration fee per camper. The camp encourages adults to volunteer as camp counselors, promising an amazing gluten-free camp experience for them, too.
Camp Sponsor: Dallas R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids)
Location: Camp Gilmont in Gilmer, Texas
Dates: June 14 - 19, 2009
For children ages 7-15
Details: The Great Gluten Escape at Camp Gilmont gives campers the opportunity to participate in all camp activities without concern for the gluten content of the food provided. The camp prides itself on letting kids escape from the daily peer pressure of the "I can't have that" syndrome. This camp also welcomes siblings between the ages of 7 and 15 who do not have celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, or gluten intolerance (although all food will be gluten free).
Camp Sponsor: Camp Westminster
Location: Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake in Roscommon, Michigan
Dates: Children ages 7-14, June 21-27, 2009; Families, July 1-5, 2009
Details: This week promises all the fun of Camp Westminster, with food accurately and sensitively prepared by experienced cooks, for a traditional week of camp for children and youth with sensitivities to foods containing gluten and casein.
Camp Sponsor: Michigan Capital Celiacs/DH
Location: Camp Manitou-Lin on the shores of Ol' Lake Barlow in Middleville, Michigan
Dates: August 16-21, 2009
For children ages 7-15
Details: Cost in 2008 was $419 for the week. Camp Manitou-Lin, on 160 acres, is a branch of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. Seventeen heated and carpeted cabins with bathrooms and showers will house campers, 10 to a cabin.