Year 6 Camp, here G comes!

This weekend has been a busy one, perhaps busier than expected for me given that Mike and the kids have been away on their “Dads and kids” camping trip.  Instead of taking time to spoil myself in peace whilst they enjoyed the glorious sunshine and camp activities, I sorted, washed, shopped and ticked things off a list, all in preparation for G’s Year 6 camp next week. She’s there for 4 days of adventure: from archery to rock climbing and caving to kayaking, and it’s promising to be an adrenalin-filled time away from home.  It will be the first time she’s stayed away for any length of time, apart from during school holidays with my Mum, and I know she’s been feeling a little apprehensive about it all.  The strain of not knowing in advance who she’d be sharing a room with took a bit of the shine off her excitement and she was anxious to confirm that she could opt out of the caving, the one activity she has said she doesn’t want to do since we first heard about camp back at the start of the year.

The one part of her week away that has not been of concern for her has been the one that I’ve been able to contribute to:  her food.  I’ve met with her teacher, Miss K, and the Head throughout the year to discuss the catering arrangements at camp and had an unprecedented 3 meetings the week after half-term as well as multiple e-mail exchanges to ensure the final plans were watertight.  Miss K spoke to the camp cook to discuss G’s dietary needs and was reassured that they are well-used to catering for children with food allergies.  We had talked about the types of food that would need to be considered for G – GF bread (Genius brown), DF spread (Vitalite Dairy-free) and DF milk (Rice dream) amongst others – and armed with brand names, Miss K has been able to confirm with the camp that these will be available for G.

Mr._WorryI am confident that breakfast and lunch will be okay, but it is still the dinner arrangements that are causing me mild moments of suppressed panic.  If G was “just” gluten-free, I’d have fewer concerns; if she was “just” dairy-free, I’d be only mildly worried, but the combination of both, whilst so much easier to manage that the multitude of allergies of others in our household, requires a little more forethought.  When discussing the menu with Miss K, I realised just how much planning is needed to make G’s meals safe, something that probably seems strikingly obvious to everyone else, but is so second nature to me that I’ve had to learn how to effectively micro-manage these finer details.  It’s not as simple as ensuring that GF pasta is cooked for lasagne or GF sausages provided for sausages and mash as she can’t have cheese or white sauce, mashed potato needs to be made with both DF milk and butter and there’s the hidden use of flour to thicken sauces.  Those are the little things that sometimes slip under the radar.

So, the school and I have reached a sensible arrangement.  I am providing some safe foods for the week for G for those “just in case” moments – cartons of rice milk, safe drinking chocolate, GF breakfast cereal and a loaf of GF bread.  There will also be a packet of GF pasta and a GF/DF curry sauce tucked in that will take up little space, but will give me some invaluable peace of mind. I’m also packing a special camp “swap box” as an alternative to the lure of the vending machines that her friends will undoubtedly be pillaging at all times of the day and night.  In there will be safe biscuits, snacks and a few bars of our ever-favourite Moo-free chocolate to ensure that she has the opportunity to gorge herself at midnight alongside her room-mates.

Today I handed over that precious bag of food and, tomorrow morning, as M and I wave her off on her adventures, I know that she’ll enjoy a mostly worry-free fantastic week away with her friends and my concerns need only be small.

7 thoughts on “Year 6 Camp, here G comes!

  1. Abee

    Your article resonates heavily with me. Both my children are GF, DF and SF and then they both have further individual intolerances. I have never been able to foster the collaboration you are enjoying with my kids school. Trips have been absurdly stressful – my son being left out of one because it involved G/D/S and my daughter always feeling different as I discover after the event there was a treat or an ice cream and there was nothing for her. Bravo to you, your kids and the school for creating such a positive and inclusive experience. I hope G has a fantastic week – half the battle is behind her as she won’t worry about eating or how safe the food is!

    1. bluesingingdragon Post author

      So sorry to hear, and disappointing, that your school have not been able to work with you to support your children. We have been extremely lucky with the positive attitude our school takes towards G and M’s needs and everyday I’m thankful that it’s one less concern for me. We’ve been there in the past with one or other missing out because there’s been no planning ahead or when they’ve planned knowing that the child in question won’t be in school, so I can sympathise. Will let you know how G’s week goes x

  2. lucylox

    Try not to worry too much – the school sound well prepared. I’ve had the same with big S (just dairy) and we’ve coped on school trips but she always comes back famished! Make sure you make some lovely treats for her return! I do worry more about little S (dairy,eggs,nuts,peanuts and sesame) when her time comes…..

    1. bluesingingdragon Post author

      Glad to hear that big S managed well. I’m trying not to worry, but seeing the bag of food disappear in a different direction to the coach yesterday did cause minor alarm, until I realised it was going via car with another teacher to make sure it got there safely and in one piece! Thinking caps on for weekend treats…x

    1. bluesingingdragon Post author

      We use 2 different ones at home. Nesquik chocoalate powder is great for G, but does contain soya lecithin which might be a problem for some. I also highly recommend Sweet Freedom Choc Shot liquid, which uses fruit extracts (apple, grape & carob), cocoa and rapeseed oil. It’s a little pricey, but absolutely delicious. Hope those help 🙂

  3. Pingback: “Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best!” | 7 years to diagnosis

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