Summer sleepaway camp is a rite of passage for so many kids, but up until recently, the option just wasn't available for kids following special diets. Fortunately, things are changing.
Some of you may recall me mentioning our family's own experience with gluten free summer camp. My son has been attending one for the past three summers, and I've had the opportunity to volunteer as a parent counselor (as with so many kids' activities, this camp depends on volunteers to help all aspects of camp run smoothly, even though they have paid camp counselors running the daily activities).
It's been such a rewarding experience for both my son and me that I wanted to get the word out about the growing list of summer camps that either dedicate a week to gluten free campers -- or are able to safely accommodate gluten free campers with special meal preparation. The list of recommended camps now covers most regions of the United States, so it's likely you can find one near you -- or perhaps even near family or friends who you may be looking for an excuse to visit! With many families I've met, dropping the kids off at camp is the start of a road trip or vacation of their own.
We've updated our Gluten Free Camps page on GlutenFreeTravelSite with all the 2014 dates, pricing, and contact info. Take a look, and PLEASE share this information with other folks you know with gluten free kids. Even if it's not in the cards for this summer, it's something to keep in mind for future summers. That's how it evolved with us. We had two people recommend the same camp to us many years ago, but our son was too young to attend at that time. However, we kept it in the back of our minds and were ready to register once he was old enough. Many of these camps book up quickly (in fact, there are a few that already have waiting lists for certain age groups this summer), so if you're interested, I'd recommend looking into it right away.
If you'd like more details on our family's own experience at Camp Celiac in Rhode Island, you can read the article I wrote for Simply Gluten Free magazine last year.
If your child has attended a camp that's GF-friendly and isn't listed on our Camps page, please let us know so we can learn more about the camp and potentially add it to our list. We also welcome REVIEWS of GF-friendly camps on GlutenFreeTravelSite. You'd simply go to Submit Review, just as you would if you were submitting a restaurant review, but choose "Other" when asked for type of review.