Food Allergy Summer Camp 2009
by Lilly Byrtus, Regional Coordinator, Prairies/NWT/Nunavut Region, Allergy/Asthma Information Association
AAIA’s sixth annual Food Allergy Summer Camp held July 27 to 31, 2009 was another great success! Eighteen campers enjoyed a fun-filled week of swimming, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, zipline, high ropes, climbing wall, hiking, campfire, games and more. An overnight out-trip adventure for the older campers made the week even more memorable. A special treat for campers and camp staff was an evening of entertainment provided by Sheldon the Magician. As in our previous food allergy camps, all campers were integrated into the regular YWCA camp program for activities. The only difference was preparation and serving of food where campers with food allergy restrictions had their food prepared separately by Wendy, our dedicated dietitian, and her team of volunteers in the kitchen. The menu was carefully coordinated ahead of time to ensure that our campers were eating a similar meal while meeting their own particular dietary requirements.
As an additional precaution, Rachael, our volunteer paramedic from Chicago, Illinois, circulated through the dining room during meal times carefully observing the campers, and well-known pediatric allergist from Edmonton, Dr. Stuart Carr, was on call for the week of camp. All camp counselors received hand-on training prior to the week of food allergy camp to allow them to quickly recognize symptoms of anaphylaxis and administer epinephrine if required. Training was provided for both single and double-dose auto-injectors.
A very special thank you to all of our campers, especially those who traveled from as far away as Chicago, Illinois, and Falls Church, Virginia to participate in Food Allergy Summer Camp 2009. Thank you to YWCA YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Center and all the dedicated camp staff for welcoming the allergy team and helping to make this camp possible. Special thanks go to Wendy, our dietitian, Rachael, our paramedic, Connie and Kristina who helped in the kitchen, and our allergist on call, Dr. Carr. Without all of them, this camp would not be possible.
Thank you to Paladin Labs, and to the Alberta Lottery Fund, Community Initiatives Program for providing financial assistance.
- Only food allergy camp of its kind in North America, providing a wonderful opportunity for food allergic children who want to attend summer camp
- Weeklong camp including eating and sleeping in an integrated camp setting
- Allows children with food allergies to eat away from home without the anxiety associated with eating food prepared by others
- Dietitian dedicated to planning, preparing, and serving meals according to specific campers food requirements
- Nurse, paramedic or other medical professional on site at all times during food allergy camp week
- Pediatric allergist on-call for the week of camp
- Meals prepared in separate kitchen to prevent cross-contamination
- Camp staff trained to recognize and treat symptoms of anaphylaxis
- Peanut and nut-free camp for all campers year-round
YWCA’s YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Center on the shores of beautiful Lake Wabamun, 80 km. west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Who can attend?
Campers (boys and girls) aged 6 to 15 years are welcome to attend.
When is the next camp?
July 26 to 30, 2010
Registration for summer camp opens in February. Campers need to register early as this week of camp fills up quickly. Please indicate that you are registering for the allergy camp. For more information about registration go to www.ywcaofedmonton.org or phone (780) 892-2660.
Contact Lilly Byrtus by phone 1-866-456-6651, e-mail , or visit AAIA’s website www.aaia.ca