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Camp Celiac: A fun-filled Gluten-Free retreat for Northern CA kids

July 28, 2010

Kids with Celiac disease have it rough.  Stringent dietary restrictions, prohibiting some of the most common foods, create awkward situations for these kids, who often simply cannot eat what their friends are eating.  As adults, most of us probably remember being a kid, and how feeling “different” is the last thing a kid wants.  Fitting in and feeling “normal” are often all these kids want!  That’s why Camp Celiac, hosted by the Taylor Family Foundation at Camp Arroyo in Livermore, CA provides a valuable respite for these children.  If you have Celiac disease, you can imagine how wonderful spending a week in a totally Gluten-Free environment, socializing and having fun with other Celiac kids, would be.

The Taylor Family Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing children with life-threatening diseases with enriching, life-affirming experiences.  Preserving wellness and enhancing quality of life for these kids is their mission, and the Foundation hosts camps for kids living with heart disease, autism, skin diseases, celiac disease, and HIV and AIDS.  The camps take place at Camp Arroyo, a beautiful 138-acre facility nestled in the rolling hills of Livermore, CA.  The camp is run by a joint public/private effort between the East Bay Regional Parks District, The Taylor Family Foundation, and the YMCA.  Lucky Celiac Campers get to spend the week in the care of camp counselors who also have Celiac disease, providing guidance and reassurance from people who really understand what these kids are dealing with.  The camp provides abundant Gluten-Free food for all meals, and exciting activities including swimming, hiking, boating, and rock-wall climbing.

For a closer look at Celiac Camp, check out this excellent 2008 story and video from our local ABC News affiliate.  Founder Elaine Taylor, young campers, and some of the dedicated chefs and bakers who feed them share their feelings and insights on just how important this camp is for Celiac kids and their families.  A former Oakland Raider, now a supporter of the camp, shares the story of his daughter’s diagnosis with Celiac disease and the difference that the GF diet and the camp has made in her life.  Part of the camp’s mission is to instill independence and self-confidence in these kids, so that they feel empowered and informed in making food decisions in everyday life, and you can see it in the faces of these kids.  Their stories will tug at your heartstrings for sure!

Each year’s camp includes a Vendor Fair on the last day, where Gluten-Free food vendors from all over the country come to showcase their products, providing samples to campers and their families and offering an exclusive opportunity to purchase delicious and safe foods right from the source.  Crave Bakery is thrilled to be part of the Vendor Fair at the 2010 Camp Celiac.  We look forward to meeting all the kids and the wonderful people who make this camp possible.  Check back soon for photos and an update on the event!

Celiac Campers Making Gluten-Free S’Mores!

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