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Taking My Special Gluten-Free Diet to Camp

Hi it’s Alexis. As the school year comes to a close, summertime begins.  Many of my friends will soon be leaving for sleepaway camp and now I have camp on my mind.  I have been attending the same day camp for the last 7 years, but things are going to be different this summer.

Alexis at campThe camp that I go to has always taken great care of me.  In the past years, my mom has always packed me a gluten-free lunch to take to camp. I leave all sorts of gluten-free goodies such as pretzels, cupcakes, cookies, crackers, etc. on a special shelf labeled just for me.  We knew which brands of ice cream and ice pops were gluten-free. We knew what candies were gluten-free that were handed out during special events.  For the last 7 years, we had our gluten-free game plan set. 

Now this summer is going to be so different. This fresh food diet is not easy and I’m always hungry on it!  My mom is going to cook for me in the morning and pack my lunch up so that it can be reheated during lunch in a designated microwave. I won’t need a designated shelf set up for my gluten-free foods because I can’t eat the gluten-free pretzels, cookies, etc.  I will no longer be able to enjoy the delicious ice cream or ice pops I once looked forward to.  I will no longer be able to take a gluten-free cupcake out of the freezer to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I will no longer be able to enjoy the delicious candy handed out during special events.   Instead I will be munching on fruit – and lots of it! Going from ice cream to fruit is not the most exciting.

Elissa and Alexis at camp

Another new thing is that we go on a few trips this summer.  Although my friends are super excited about this, I am a bundle of nerves.  What am I going to do about food?  My mother keeps telling me not to worry that she will pack me enough food in a cooler to feed an army.  But of course, I still worry because what if my food goes bad? It’s not like I can just order food from a concession stand. 

I thought about telling my mom that I didn’t want to go on the trips, but then I thought to myself that I’ve been waiting all these years to be able to go on them!  I just need to get over my nerves and try to enjoy and put my faith into others to help me if need be. 

So although this is going to be a very different summer, I have gotten through many obstacles over the past few months. This is nothing!  And each time I feel myself getting nervous, I’m going to remind myself how hard I fought to get better and that I can get through anything.

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