Buffet, Serving Line, and Family Style: The Pros and Cons

What type of dining service does your camp use? To get an idea of what is currently popular in camps, I conducted a survey among camp food service directors and received some insightful responses.

Buffet Serving Style

Some of the first buffet restaurants in America were established in the 1950s by restaurateur Johnny Garneau. These mimicked the traditional Swedish "smorgasbord" buffet-style meal, with a wide variety of food displayed on a table (Smith, 2013).

Dutch Oven Cooking Tools and Tips

Gabe, now a fifth grader, was pumped that he had graduated prerequisite camp programs required to experience Adventure Camp for the first time. Gabe conquered the zip line, sailed on the lake, and last summer, he and his fellow Adventure campers slept in tents in the wilderness for a whole week! A favorite delight that week surprised him — being sous chef to his counselors while Dutch oven cooking, especially when searing fajitas. Here are some pointers for your outdoor campers.

Campers with Food Allergies

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."

Allergies Galore! Managing Allergies Is More Than a Call to 911

In the summer of 2001, Congressional Camp found itself hip deep in allergies. Of the 490 campers on our campus, 222 had identified allergies. This fact left us limp and sweaty with concern . . . and it wasn't because of the humid Virginia summers.

We knew that food allergies never take a break, never rest, never leave well enough alone, and never forgive a tiny transgression - "just this one time." The worry about an exquisitely allergic child is continuous - for the parents and for our director and staff.

Feeding Camper Creativity with Food Service Supplies

The camp food service operation is sometimes asked to get involved with food and nonfood-related program offerings, so it makes sense that classes and activities be designed to include the non-edible elements that could be created with food service supplies. If need be, the food service director, the crafts instructor(s), and the program director can sit down and plan these classes and activities together.

Nonfood Class Ideas

Following are some nonfood class ideas that will be sure to cook up enthusiasm among creative campers:

Plan Now for New Food Activity Programming

Before the last campfire at summer camp 2015 fades from your memory, focus some energy on developing new camp activities that involve the food service operation. Food activities can range from campers making and mixing their own trail mix before leaving on a hike to offering an entire week of camp for those who want to focus on the culinary arts.

Current Challenges in Camp Food Service

Hesitation gave way to excitement as I unexpectedly grabbed the reigns of food service management, in the dripping, humid heat of a Texas summer camp season. Nine years had passed since I last served in this capacity at camp, but everything was coming back to me — the roar of kids laughing in the dining hall, the buzz of activity as cooks whirled by with fresh-baked yeast rolls, and the mouthwatering scent of fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookies! “Ahhhh,” I thought to myself, “the camp kitchen . . . this will be a breeze. I’ve GOT this!”