Last year, we enrolled my oldest son in Headfirst Summer Camp. He was enthralled with the idea of his week at their all-sports program and even more ecstatic to be participating with one of his best buddies.
As excited as we were for him, I was – as always – a little apprehensive of sending him to a camp where lunch was involved. Before enrolling, I called Headfirst’s administrative office to ask questions. To my surprise, they couldn’t have been either more professional nor more prepared for handling food allergies. Campers bring their own lunch – already a good start – and snacks were not served. Phew! There is a nurse on site (yay!), nut-free area for dining and the counselors carry each campers emergency medications (for us, EpiPens and Benadryl) in a fanny pack (poor counselors) or backpack with that child everywhere the child goes. Headfirst was both prepared and thoughtful about food allergies (see the policy in their words) – I was impressed and happily signed him up!
We had one little snag for the whole week: the camp wound up rewarding the kids with ice pops one afternoon – something that was not communicated to me, as a food allergic parent, in advance. When my son came home and admitted to having the ice pop because he didn’t have an alternative snack and he was sure he had eaten the same kind before, I was concerned. First of all, this wasn’t the protocol we taught him and secondly, ice pops occasionally contain dairy. Thankfully, my son showed no allergic symptoms but I checked with the director before camp the following morning, confirming that the pops were, in fact, something my son had eaten before. I let her know that food allergic parents should be made aware of this reward as they register on the first day of camp – giving them a chance to okay the product in advance. She agreed and we both called the main office with this suggestion.
All said, my son had a fantastic week at camp! The program suited my son (and his friend) soooo well. They were excited going to camp each day and left wanting more. And, I could send him off without worry knowing how well thought out the camp’s food allergies plan was.
What has your summer camp experience been like?