Summer camp is one of my best childhood memories! Starting in 5th grade, every summer my best friend and I went to camp for a week. Playing camp night games, singing songs to God with a hundred plus other kids, going on hikes, and spending time in the craft shop were just a few of my favorite activities. The food at camp was of course delicious with it’s excess of processed foods and the counselors insisting we eat one scoopful of vegetables a day.
My food sensitivities were not too obvious at this time. I’d bring lactose intolerant pills along and to my mortification, I had to go to the nurse’s station to take my vitamins twice a day. Besides that, everything was fairly normal.
Since then, my family and I have gone back to camp and lots of planning went into making the trips possible. We started off by contacting the camp to find out if they would be able to accommodate to our diets. Luckily, we were not the first campers to come with gluten, dairy and countless other sensitivities.
Here is how it was possible for us to go…
A few weeks before leaving for camp, we contacted the cook and talked specifically with him to create a plan. My mom asked him to email her the menu the week before we left. She’d read through it and mark all the foods we would not be able to eat. If she had more questions after that, she called or emailed the cook again.
The camp was able to make a few substitutions or remove an ingredient or two to make parts of meals okay for us but for the most part we prepared food ahead of time. For example, if the meat wasn’t allowed in one meal, for whatever reason, then we’d cooked a hamburger or packed a few hot dogs to be made instead. None of the desserts were safe so cookies were baked prior also.
All the food was put into ziploc bags and containers marked with the date or meal they were meant for. We took the food with us and went to the kitchen as soon as we could when we arrived. The kitchen staff then kept it in a cooler and warmed it up each meal.
I had only positive experiences at camp and have been blessed with an amazing staff who was willing to make it possible for me to go. With registration for many camps already open, if you are considering going to camp but are unsure if it would be possible for you to go because of your food restriction then I highly encourage you to contact them before ruling it out.
Camp is an amazing experience you don’t want to miss if you don’t have too!