« Eggless Noodle Receipe | Main | Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover »

November 6, 2006

Island Camping with Child Food Allergies

As you've read before, I camp on a regular basis with my kids. This weekend I took two of my daughters with a large group of dads to Catalina Island, about 25 miles off the coast of Southern California. This is a special trip that my kids alway look forward to. It's also a special trip from the perspective of managing food allergies.

One of my daughters is allergic to eggs and nuts... severely allergic. On this campout, unlike most of our trips, there is a catering service, which sounds like a great benefit to most of the dads but to us it's simply more work. Managing ingredients and the serving process can be a challenge to say the least. However, the staff at Catalina were more than happy to work with us.

We've been to this campsite once before, so at least we knew where to start. Because they were so helpful last time, we were pretty confident in the staff's ability to safely serve our daughter's meals. One phone call plus an email is all it took to kick off the process. I sent a copy of the 1 page flyer that has a picture of my daughter and explains her food allergies in plain and simple terms. Then I followed up with a phone call to Becky, the woman who was running the show, so to speak. She was friendly, understanding, sensitive to our concerns, and open to suggestions. Basically, if it was possible they would do it for us. I spoke to her when we arrived on the island and she sought me out at every meal the rest of the weekend to make sure everything was on track.

Now, I am WELL aware that many kitchen staffs, chefs, managers are not that helpful. If the staff at Catalina would not have been helpful in this situation, we would have taken a different path. I would have filled a cooler with more than enough food for my daughter for the weekend. I would have brought all my own utensils and made sure none of her food came in contact with others'. I would have been more watchdog than dad at that point and it would have taken away some of the fun from the weekend.

Happily, for this campout, we were treated well and my daughter's food allergy taken very seriously. For that I am thankful.

Posted by David at November 6, 2006 5:00 PM