Resource Library

Campers with Food Allergies
Published Date: 2004-07-01

Summer camp is a time for children to have nonstop fun indulging in their favorite activities. For children with food allergies, going away to camp is not a simple decision, yet many parents have worked successfully to enable their children with food allergies to have these enriching experiences. Janet Erlich, whose two children are severely allergic to milk products and eggs, admits to feeling anxiety when they go away to camp but, she says, "My children love camp. It's the highlight of their year."

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  • Manage Time. Have staff do both reactive and preventive maintenance. Do not focus energies only on what's visible, or reactive maintenance.
  • Train staff in preventive maintenance. Staff need to be trained in planning, setting up the record keeping for preventive maintenance schedules, and implementing.
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It's 10:30 at night, and you're tired. The campers have been in their bunks for a little less than an hour. The staff is thankfully quiet. All in all, it has been a good day. Just before you leave the camp office, two figures approach. One is your girls' program director; she has her arm wrapped over the shoulder of a female counselor. You can tell that the counselor has been crying.

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One of the biggest challenges camp professionals face is hiring, orienting, and training staff. It seems like an impossible task given the limitations of time, starting dates, school requirements, and logistics. Complicating this process is the daunting task of communicating — in a matter of days — the vast amount of information needed to ensure a quality camp experience for both staff and campers.

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Horseback riding has deep roots in the history of American summer camps, but stereotypical images of the expense and elitism of riding may get in the way of a full appreciation of the benefit and relevance of this activity today. Children need activities that foster empathy and compassion, responsibility and self-control. Skill-based riding programs provide for the development of a set of competencies that contribute to self-esteem and physical fitness. And achieving a working "friendship" with a horse remains a particularly empowering experience for both boys and girls.

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The staff at Kamp Kessa, an adventure education and treatment program utilizing horses and the wilderness for youth who are considered at-risk and who have special needs in Frankfort, Kentucky, are often asked, “Why do you use horses?” and “Why do you emphasize youth being in natural settings?” Often the questioner will consider young people having such access as a privilege that should be either awarded or withdrawn according to the perceived appropriateness of their recent behaviors.

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Success With Horses = Success With Life
Published Date: 2004-03-01

W.L. Lorimer, founder of Lorimer Family Camps, included the cavalry style of horsemanship along with the athletics, aquatics, and outdoor skills that were the basics for all camps in the early 1900s. More than that, he believed that the responsibility for feeding, grooming, and cleaning — along with the art of handling and communicating with the horses — encouraged positive growth for the campers and influenced their success as adults.

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"Dear Mom and Dad, I’m having a great time at camp," writes twelve-year-old Michael. "Today, I rode a horse for the first time. I thought it would be scary, but it was loads of fun. Tonight I’m going to the camp dance and in the morning we’ll be fishing at the lake. The food is good here, too . . . ."

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Big Questions

If someone told you that you had a "retrospective, unidirectional bias" and had contracted the "availability heuristic," you might think you need to visit a doctor right away. Actually, you'd be right. But you wouldn't need a medical doctor. You'd need a research psychologist — someone with expertise in statistics and child development. Someone who could explain to you that your bias and heuristic — although unhealthy — were common and easily removed. Once cured, you could see more nuances in your campers' behaviors.

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Cultural considerations in camp programming may not be in the forefront of individual or organizational thinking. With all the preparation and planning that we do, is it really necessary to add yet another element for consideration? To not do so would be contrary to the complete package of what risk management should ultimately encompass.

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