Allergy/Asthma Information Association

Anastasia and Emma
Anastasia and Emma

Food Allergy Summer Camp 2005

by Gail E. Poulos, Maryland, USA

The AAIA Food Allergy Camp held the first week in August of 2005 at YoWoChAs (near Edmonton) was a wonderful experience for my daughter and for my husband and myself. My 13 year old daughter had been begging to go to a sleep away camp for a couple of years.

However, she has a life threatening food allergy to milk proteins and we were very reluctant to send her to a camp based on our experience with a camp she attended in Maryland, and noticing the complete misunderstanding about food allergies when talking with other camp directors. After searching on the Web for camps for children with food allergies here in the U.S., I discovered the AAIA Food Allergy Camp in Alberta and immediately sent an e-mail to Wendy Busse to inquire about the camp.

Wendy promptly returned my e-mail, answered my questions, and directed me to Sara Middleton for further information. As soon as registration opened, we registered our daughter because I was confident that my daughter's allergies would be addressed and great care would be taken to make sure she was safe and fed nutritious meals. We made the decision to travel from Maryland to Alberta based on the information provided by both Wendy and Sara.

Just prior to arriving at Camp, Wendy called to go over the menu for the week and gave me product contacts so that I could check out products we did not have here in the U.S. She also went over the dining room procedures for the children with food allergies. Upon arriving at camp, we met our daughter's counselor who gave us a tour of the camp and also informed us that her father and brother had food allergies. She explained that she knew about Epi-pens and described the training all the counselors received.

Also to our surprise, our daughter was given a new mattress to sleep on because she also has a mold allergy. She had been to one other sleep away camp with her class and teachers for outdoor learning and that never happened. For that camp, I had to prepare all her foods ahead of time and send her with a microwave oven and cooler.

We also got to meet and talk with Wendy and Sara in person that day. We were very confident that our daughter was in good care and that we could also enjoy our vacation in Alberta without too much concern.

Our daughter had a wonderful time; she loved the activities, and made new friends all in a safe atmosphere. I would highly recommend this camp to any child with a food allergy. A great thank you to all who have worked so hard to provide this opportunity to children with food allergies.

from Allergy & Asthma News, Issue 4 2005

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