Sending them to Day Camps…GF Camps

Every summer, I dread having to deal with food issues when I send my girls to camp for two weeks. I am very fortunate. Shwayder Camp of Temple Emanuel in Denver Colorado provides gluten free foods during the first session of their camp schedule for kids like mine, who are sensitive to gluten. Although my girls have to constantly be reading labels and checking for contamination, the camp provides a pretty stress free environment. I wanted to see how many other camps or if there were any gluten free camps out there. Here is a rundown of various gluten-free summer camp sessions for 2012 that I found when I searched on Yahoo. I guess I should have put this out sooner, as most camps begin registration in January!
1. Camp Celiac, Northern California
Location: Camp Arroyo, San Francisco Bay
Dates: July 24-28, July 28-Aug. 1
Details: Back for its sixth year, Camp Celiac’s counselors and attendees (ages nine through 17) eat gluten-free food and do camp activities such as a ropes course, rock climbing, zip line, boating, swimming, and outdoor sports. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, which supports the camp, enjoying three meals a day without having to ask if any of the foods are gluten-free is life-changing for many campers and staff. The camp costs only $25, since most expenses are covered by the Taylor Family Foundation, the East Bay Regional Parks District, and the YMCA, along with the Celiac Sprue Research Foundation and the Celiac Disease Foundation.
Registration for the 2012 sessions opens Feb. 1, 2012.
2. Campfire USA Camp Nawakwa, Southern California
Location: Campfire USA Camp Nawakwa, near Big Bear
Dates: July 30-Aug. 3
Details: The Celiac Disease Foundation is holding its own gluten-free camp for the first time in 2012. The camp, located in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear, is open to campers ages 7 to 15. Campers will enjoy gluten-free food and regular camp activities, including enjoy archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, cookouts, drama, hip hop dance, nature lore, swimming and wall climbing. The camp costs $400, and a deposit of $50 is required with the reservation. The balance is due on May 31.
3. Camp Celiac, Rhode Island
Location: Camp Aldersgate, North Scituate, R.I.
Dates: Aug. 12-17, 2012
Details: Camp Celiac, supported by the Celiac Sprue Association, is open to children ages 8 through 16. All food provided is gluten-free, and two full-time registered nurses will be onsite to take care of non-emergency medical needs. The cost of the camp isn’t yet finalized; in 2011, it cost $390. A limited number of scholarships are available. The camp fills up very fast, so make reservations as early as possible.
Registration for the 2012 session opens Feb. 1, 2012.
4. Gluten Intolerance Group Kids Camp East, North Carolina
Location 1: GIG Kids Camp East, Camp Kanata, Wake Forest, N.C.
Dates: Aug. 5-11, 2012
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. Some scholarships are available. Spots at Camp Kanata frequently fill up by February, so it helps to get your application in early.
5. Gluten Intolerance Group Kids Camp West, Washington State
Location 2: GIG Kids Camp West, Camp Sealth, Vashon Island, Wash.
Dates: Aug. 1-6, 2012
Like Camp Kanata, Camp Sealth is a mainstream summer camp that features gluten-free food options. Camp Sealth also is peanut-free, and can accommodate campers with both celiac and diabetes.
6. Camp Weekaneatit, Western Georgia
Location: Camp Twin Lakes in Warm Springs, Ga.
Dates: June 24-29, 2012
Details: Camp Weekaneatit (We-can-eat-it — get it?), sponsored by the Georgia R.O.C.K. group, provides children and teens ages eight to 17 who have celiac disease and gluten sensitivity the chance to participate in a traditional summer camp. Activities include swimming, kayaking, archery, rock climbing and arts and crafts. Everything on the menu and at the snack canteen is entirely gluten-free, and the camp will work to accommodate other food allergies and intolerances. Because cabin space is limited, campers will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee is $450 per camper, although you can get an “early bird” special of $400 if you register and pay before Feb. 15. Siblings also receive a discount.
7. Camp Westminster, Northern Michigan
Location: Camp Westminster, northern Michigan
Dates: June 17-23, 2012
Details: Camp Westminster provides a Christian summer camp experience that includes retreats and outdoor summer worship in an allergy-friendly atmosphere. In 2011, the camp’s gluten-free week is called Free to Be Me. It’s aimed at children in grades 1 through 9 and costs $455. Camperships (i.e., scholarships) also are available. During the gluten-free week Westminster also can handle other allergies, and the camp staff says the camp can accommodate children who need a gluten-free diet during any week of summer camp with prior notice.
8. Camp Gilmont, Eastern Texas
Location: Camp Gilmont, Gilmer, Tex.
Dates: July 8-13, 2012
Details: The Dallas chapter of R.O.C.K. sponsors the Great Gluten Escape to provide campers the opportunity to participate in all camp activities without any concern for the gluten content of the food provided. The camp is open to children ages 7 to 15, and costs $395 for five nights. The camp cannot accept children with diabetes, autism or Down syndrome.
Registration will open in February for the 2012 session.
9. Camp Manitou-Lin, Western Michigan
Location: Greater Grand Rapids Manitou YMCA, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dates: July 1-6, 2012
Details: The Michigan Capital Celiac/DH Group sponsors a summer camp for children ages 7 to 17. Members of the group monitor the meals to make certain they’re gluten-free. Although non-gluten-free children attend the camp at the same time, those who are gluten-free eat separately. The cost is $450 for the camp session, and some financial assistance is available.
Registration for 2012 should begin in January.

I think it would be wonderful for my girls to attend a gluten-free summer camp because it can provide an incredibly valuable experience for children with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity by giving them the chance to feel normal and to enjoy summer activities without constantly worrying about food and feeling different from their peers.

Well, summer is finally here! What a better way to celebrate than with an ice cold smoothie. Here is a very quick and easy smoothie that you can serve on those hot afternoons this summer.

Fruit Lassi*
2 cups fresh berries
2 T honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cup ice cubes

Puree strawberries with sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt in a blender until smooth
Add yogurt and ice then puree until smooth again.
Pour into glasses and add a dollop of whipped cream

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