Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Girls Scout Day Camp Problems

Girl Scout Day Camp starts at the end of the month and we're encountering lots of resistance with our efforts to keep our allergic daughters safe.

Unit leaders not wanting to carry epi pens, unwilling to make simple accomodations for snack foods, not willing to even ask (not demand) that parents not send in PBJ's. 

I'm not sure what's going to happen.

The leader of the camp has even suggested that very allergic campers not even attend.  Can you freaking believe that!?!?!?

I'm shocked and saddened.  And I'm looking for your advice.

What's our recourse here?  I've got a call with the head of camp tonight.  I've got lots of ideas to make this work, but would love to hear what you all have to say/your experiences/solutions, etc.




Anonymous said...

I'm so so so so very sorry. We experienced the same thing with a cheerleading camp--no one would call me back beforehand, (after I called and put allergy info on her sign-up sheet) and when we arrived (early) they informed me that all they served was popsicles, so no one was interested in hearing about the EpiPen, etc. Since they DID only serve popsicles, I gave them my cell number, stayed within 5 minutes of the school, and told them to call me with any issues. Honestly, I would NOT have left her had they served lunch or had lunch there. The lack of call-back told me they weren't taking it seriously. If you can't get anyone to be trained on and carry the Epi, I just plain old don't think you can send her. You can do some extra-fun things that week instead--zoo, Chuck-E Cheese, pool, etc.

IF on the other hand, they will bend and be trained on the Epi, watch her during lunch time, and carry it with them, TAKE A SMALL GIFT and THANK YOU to the director and counselors on the first day--hopefully that will motivate them to treat others that come after you a little bit better. :-) Good luck! I feel for you!!!

Anonymous said...

We have run into the same issues with programs, etc. Doesn't it seem like a simple request?

Reading labels, planning ahead, watching for signs of a reaction, bringing safe snacks, etc. can be a very exhausting job so a few words sent home to parents seems like such a simple request to keep my child safe.

I have found that part of being a PA is to be proactive rather then reactive and it can be really frustrating educating others.

Hopefully there is another camp that your daughter can do this summer if you don't get a good response.

I know that there is heated debates from both sides, but if I had received a request from another parent not to send a certain food type, I would respect it.

Good luck and keep us posted!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I'm so sorry!! The big guy attended Boy Scout Camp last year and I worked it one day and I was able to check things out. This all seems universal with the "scouts". At their camp, all EPI's were kept at the "nurses station" in a cooler with the peanut butter sandwiches (I can't even tell you how that made me cringe). I didn't see any leader carry any of them, but then again I didn't ask either. The Little Man could have attended this year, but the camp fell during our vacation so I didn't check it out. Honestly I just assumed that if he went, I'd have to be his group leader. I'm not a working mom (at least I only work from home on a very flexible schedule) so I can do that. Many can not. I don't know what other parents are supposed to do? I did see numerous EPI's in that cooler last year. Maybe other parents aren't as strict as we are? J's EPI goes everywhere he does or he doesn't go.
Can she self carry for camp and you could train her group leader on what to do? I know B and J are the same age and I'm not sure that I'd be comfortable with that at their young age, but it could be an option. If that doesn't work and they don't budge on the Unit Leader carrying an EPI, I wouldn't let her go. Too scary for me, and frankly not safe for anyone with food allergies. Makes me so mad when this happens.

Jacqui said...

that really stinks! I don't know why they can't accomodate a child with allergies!
We are having an issue as well, but with family! ugh! We are all staying in a rental house for a week, and I have a few that don't want to give up peanut butter for the week. Now, with 9 kids under the age of 10 in the same house, I'm not comfortable with my toddler, who puts everything in her mouth being there. We have to go, but I think we will be staying elsewhere. People sometimes just don't get it. My sister said to me that I've done all I can, and I have an epipen and can use it if needed. So, basically it's better that her kid doesn't have a 5 minute meltdown because he couldn't have a pb & j, but my kid could end up in the ER for hours.

Anonymous said...

I am a day camp director for su 607 AND a mom of a peanut allergic child. If there is anything I can do (email or call) please contact me.

Anonymous said...

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Website says that the Girl Scouts have a FAAN "Be a PaL" patch that girls can earn. Can you come at it from that angle?

Just a thought.

Gab said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! The status currently is that they are going to transfer B and her 2 allergic friends from their unit into another one (and I would lead them). They are still resistant to doing that, but i told the leader that she couldnt be in the other leader's unit. I don't trust her in an emergency situation.

Moving the kids doesn't solve the big picture of them being so lame, but at least the girls will have a great time and the allergy will be a non issue.

Anonymous said...

OH NO. That's really bad. My daughter is 7 and the main reason I won't put her in camp is because of the allergies. I would think that they could atleast ask other parents not to send pbjs. After all so many schools have bans on this, that I'm sure the other parents are used to these rules anyway.

In this situation the GS are not being inclusive.

good luck