I was fortunate enough to attend summer camp every year from the time I was 8 until I was 16. Camp Sky-Y, a YMCA run overnight camp in Prescott, Arizona, has a special place in my heart and I can honestly say has had an impact of who I am today. I learned to be independent, creative, and play well with others, but I also got to experience the absolute joy that the outdoors can bring. With kids today being so addicted to video games and TV, I’ve made it a point to teach my 3 year old daughter to appreciate nature. Last weekend we took her fishing and she’s already a seasoned camper. In fact, she learned to pee in the woods without getting it on her feet. That made me so proud!
I began to wonder though, with her being on gluten free diet, if she would have the same opportunity to experience summer camp the way I did. While I’m sure the camp could provide gluten free items if I ask, I wanted to make sure whatever camp I send her to in the future fully understands cross contamination and safe preparation methods.
While surfing I somehow stumbled upon an article from About.com that lists summer camps for those with gluten intolerance. To my surprise, there are a number of summer camps out there catering to those with food allergies and Celiac. When my daughter is old enough to ship off to overnight camp I know there will be options for her. Maybe we’ll even try out a gluten free family camp sometime.
Don’t forget to enter to win free products in the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Giveaway!
Below is a list of camps that cater to gluten free summer camp experiences.
Location: Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia
Dates: May 30 to June 4, 2010
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, 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.
Location: Camp Will-A-Way at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia
Dates: May 30 to June 4, 2010; Family Camp: Sept. 10 to 12, 2010
Details: Georgia R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids) is sponsoring Camp Weekaneatit at for kids and teenagers with celiac disease, at Camp Will-A-Way. The fully-accessible camp at Will-A-Way features 16 camper cabins, which each sleep 14. The camp is complete with a dining hall, medical lodge, swimming pool and numerous exciting activity areas.Campers at Will-A-Way enjoy activities such as arts & crafts, swimming, ropes course, archery, sports, boating, fishing, nature, and more!
Camp Sponsor: Camp Westminster
Location: Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake in Roscommon, Michigan
Dates: Children ages 7 to 14, June 20 to 26, 2010; Families, July 4 to 8, 2010
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. New this year: a gluten-free menu will be available, with pre-registration, during any week of camp in 2010. If you have food related camp questions, please contact Deanna at dkseng99(at)voyager.net or Pam Jann at pamelajann(at)hotmail.com.
Location: Camp Waluhili on scenic Fort Gibson Lake, 45 minutes from Tulsa
Dates: June 20 to 26, 2010
Details:Camp Waluhili lets gluten-free campers (and their siblings) have a traditional co-ed summer camp experience where kids can enjoy all the camp activities without concern for the gluten content of the food provided. Camp’s 219 acres of rolling hills, lush forest and ample shoreline offer a wide variety of areas for creative programs and activities. Features include swimming pool, low-element challenge course, rappelling cliff, miles of hiking trails, shooting and archery ranges, and much more. Resident camp programs are open to boys and girls entering grades 3 to 12.
Location 1: Camp Kanata, Wake Forest, North Carolina
Dates: June 27 to July 3, 2010
Location 2: Camp Sealth, Vashon Island, Washington
Dates: July 9 to 24 (6 days); July 26 to 29 (4 days); or July 19 to 29 (11 days), 2010
Details: GIG Kids Camps are mainstream, integrated camps, where kids must be aware of what foods are safe and not safe, ask questions and talk to others about their eating restrictions. Camp counselors are trained by GIG Staff. Gluten-free substitutions are available for meals and all activities. GIG dietitians are on site.
Camp Sponsor: Dallas R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids)
Location: Camp Gilmont in Gilmer, Texas
Dates: July 11 to 16, 2010
For children ages 7 to 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 to 15 who do not have celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, or gluten intolerance (although all food will be gluten free).
Camp Sponsor: Celiac Disease Foundation
Location: Camp Arroyo, Livermore, California
Dates: July 25 to 30, 2010
For campers ages 9 to 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: Celiac Sprue Association
Location: Camp Aldersgate, North Scituate, Rhode Island
Dates: August 8 to 13, 2010
For children and youth with celiac disease ages 7 to 16.
Details: Celebrating its 11th anniversary in 2010, 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: Michigan Capital Celiacs/DH
Location: Camp Manitou-Lin on the shores of Ol’ Lake Barlow in Middleville, Michigan
Dates: 2010 Dates TBA
For children ages 7 to 14
Details: Camp fee is $450 for the week (a $75 deposit is required to hold a spot). 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. For information, write to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.