Summer Camp with Food Allergies

When I say I have traveled and I have done things that people thought someone like I couldn’t do, I mean it. Going to summer camp with food allergies was especially unique when I was a kid.  Camp was my first real push into independence. My parents had the confidence in me that I could be responsible and take care of myself. It started off as just day camps, but became over night camps that lasted more than half the summer. I carried my epinephrine always. I was the one in charge of it from day one. Yes, my counselors were well aware of my allergies, but at that time, there was no one else with any allergies at camp or even anyone else I knew, so it was not a well-known occurrence to have such severe allergies.

I would go into the kitchen at the dining hall and ask to read the ingredients in all the food. The whole kitchen staff got to know me pretty well and the chef was great about showing and telling me everything to watch out for. They were even willing to make me my own food and keep my own yogurt in the fridge in case there wasn’t anything I could eat.

There were some activities at camp that I remember not participating in. Each year every bunk would go on an overnight or weekend camping trip, and I never participated in that. It always involved being in the woods in the middle of nowhere, so it was decided that I would stay at camp. I stayed with the oldest girls bunk and did everything with them for the two or three days my bunk was gone. All the attention was on me because I was the little one with all the ‘big kids’ and because I had no older siblings, I loved the feeling of having some at camp. My bunk would come back dirty and complaining about their trip, and I would fill them in on what had happened while they were gone, and how cool the older kids were. Sure, I did miss the whole camping part of camp I guess, but it helped me to realize that there are ways to find other options that might be just as fun!

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