AFAA Camp was the first food allergy camp in the United States! It was six years in the making, with site visits, extensive food planning, and medical staff recruitment - in addition to the normal planning when undertaking the creation of a camp. AFAA Camp, now in its 6th year, is pleased to be a model to organizations in other states who have been motivated to begin camps in their areas.
Objectives of AFAA Camp
- Provide a safe camp experience for children with food allergies.
- Provide leadership training for food allergic teenagers and young adults.
- Provide food allergy & anaphylaxis education for children, their siblings and their parents.
- Promote improved self-care, self-image and independence for children with food allergies.
- Normalize food allergies among a group of peers.
- Reduce anxiety in parents.
- Provide respite from social & medical stressors involved in participating in group functions.
- Provide an opportunity for parents to network with each other to gain mutual emotional and social support.
- Interact with nature and gain appreciation of the environment.
- Engage in traditional camp experiences.
AFAA Camp is unique in a number of ways:
- While some camps have nursing staff on site, AFAA Camp has physicians (as well as nurses) on site during the entire weekend;
- We accommodate campers with any medically diagnosed food allergy (not just those with the majot 8 allergies) and celiac disease. It is customary to manage more than two dozen allergens during the course of our camp;
- Only Certified Food Managers (CFMs) are allowed in the kitchen. In addition to this certification, they must have food allergy experience;
- Menus are reviewed by dietitians who specialize in food allergies;
- The kitchen and campground are used only by AFAA Camp during the weekend;
- In addition to passing the kitchen inspection required by the county health depatment with a 100% score, AFAA engages a certified food safety trainer who does an additional kitchen inspection;
- Multiple layers of safety measures are utilized to avoid exposure to allergens (from menu creation to brand specific shopping,label reading to meal escorts and cue cards, and (when it is rarely needed) segregation of allergens - not campers), etc;
- Knowing that some children (and some parents) are not ready to separate - particularly given the seriousness of life-thratening food allergies - we not only allow, but encourage parents to participate in AFAA Camp as family campers or volunteers;
- Both day camping and overnight camping are offered.