New Camper Questions About Meals, Food Allergies and Bed WettingMarch 8, 2016
Here it is: the latest installment of our blog series “Answering New Camper Questions”. In recent weeks I’ve written about the bus ride to camp, what you might want to bring for special events, and how laundry works. This week it’s all about how meals work, how we help keep our campers with food allergies safe, and what to do if you have a problem and can’t solve it yourself. Let the reading begin!
So wow do meals at Kenwood and Evergreen work?
Your bunk is going to be like your summer family while you are at Camp – and that includes at meal times. At almost every meal you will sit with your bunkmates and counselors. It’s a great time to relax, chat with friends, laugh with your counselors, and recharge your batteries. We will have a short all-camp assembly around each Breakfast and Dinner. Assemblies are a big, friendly meeting where we gather everyone from the Kenwood & Evergreen community to talk about all of the interesting or exciting things that just happened, or are going to happen in the next couple of hours. You’ll get a chance to learn about the upcoming evening activity, about how much fun a group had climbing a mountain yesterday, or who has a birthday that day. At lunchtime you will leave your bunk and come straight to the Dining Hall. You and your bunkmates will walk to your regular table and wait for the rest of the Camp to enter the Dining Hall. As a community we all work to help keep the Dining Hall a relaxing place where we all enjoy our meals together.
At Camp we eat in what is called Family Style. This means that just like in the bunk, everyone will have some responsibility for helping out at the table. One of the counselors will go up and get a tray of food. He or she will distribute this to the table. Once the food runs out someone at the table will take the tray and the empty dishes and get in line forSeconds. At the Seconds Window you will also be able to get eggs for breakfast, and theVegetarian meal for lunch & dinner. If you run out of juice, water, milk, napkins, ketchup, or anything else, you may be asked by a counselor to head to the Seconds Window.
There are also multiple salad bars in the Dining Hall. At breakfast time they are filled with fresh fruit and yogurt. At lunch and dinner they have different vegetables, prepared salads, and other goodies. There may be different items offered at each salad bar.
There are also toasters located throughout the Dining Hall. If you would like to make yourself a bagel, toast, or a toasted English muffin you are welcome to do so. Please make sure that you do not put anything over-sized in the toaster, as it will burn. This includes muffins and croissants. Nothing buttered or covered in cheese should ever be placed in the toaster!!!
Because there are so many different options at each meal, it is easy for the Dining Hall to become chaotic.
We ask that only one person from each table be up at a time during the meal.
Fresh fruit will be offered after each lunch for dessert. There will be an ice cream or baked dessert after each dinner. A counselor must come to the Seconds Window to get dessert. Campers should remain at their table. At the end of the meal, everyone is responsible for cleaning the extra food off of the plates onto one plate. Please work with your bunkmates to stack your plates and cups neatly and place them on your table’s tray. There are a group of wonderful staff members who serve food and keep the dining hall clean, and we want to help them out as much as we can. No food or trash should be left on the table when you leave the Dining Hall.
But what if I need to eat a specially prepared meal because of my food allergies?
We are a peanut free and tree nut free community, but that isn’t always enough to help keep all of our campers and counselors safe. Lots of campers at Kenwood and Evergreen have restricted diets. They may have Celiac Spru or Crohn’s, or for whatever reason need to eat dairy free, egg free, or gluten free. We are certainly happy to provide safe and delicious meals for our community members whatever their dietary restrictions may be.
On your first afternoon at Camp your age group will take a walking tour of our campus, and you will stop by our dining hall. Campers with food allergies and intolerances will have a chance to meet our chefs, see the window where their specially prepared meals will be served, and even look through the refrigerator that will contain their allergen-free condiments and snacks for the summer!
What happens if I occasionally wet the bed?
We get this question ALL the time! At Camp it’s just not a big deal. We ask that you share this with a counselor in a way that feels comfortable for you. The easiest way to let them know is to privately whisper to them “can you and I talk after everyone leaves for Assembly?” Your counselor will wait until all of your bunkmates have left, and then know exactly what to do. He/she will pack up your stuff and take it to the laundry, and remake your bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night and find that your bed is wet please quietly (and gently!) let one of your counselors know. He/she will get up and help you change your sheets while you go take a shower.
This happens really often at camp (even with older kids). Please know that we will always handle this situation carefully and respectfully!
What about if I have an “accident”?
You know what: it’s happened to just about everyone at some point in their lives, including at camp. Just like with wetting the bed, we want to make sure two things happen: 1) that you get out of your dirty clothes and 2) that this isn’t a source of embarrassment for you. What we ask in this situation is that you let a counselor know what happened as quickly as possible. He or she will get you back to the bunk, and give you some privacy while you change. If you need to take a shower you can do that, too. Your clothing will get put in a plastic bag and taken to the laundry, and will get washed immediately. No one else has to know, and then you’ll go right back to whatever fun thing you were doing before. It’s as simple as that!
The thing that doesn’t work at camp is hiding that it happened. Putting your clothes that you were wearing in your laundry bag will make your whole bunk smell like…you know what…and then someone in the housekeeping team is going to get a not-so-fun surprise when they do your laundry.
So please make sure that this is how you handle this should an “accident” occur this summer. It’s TOTALLY not a big deal!!
What if I’m unhappy about something? What are the best ways to make the situation better?
Most of the time, you will be having a great time at Camp. But just like at home, there might be times when you want to talk to someone about something that has happened, or something that is upsetting to you, or maybe something that you think might make your time at Camp even better. The most important thing that you can do is share this information with someone. Camp has a lot of really good listeners who want to hear your thoughts. You can always go to either of your counselors, or your Unit Leader. You can also talk with one of the other counselors in your unit, or with a specialist counselor that you really like. There are also the nurses and doctors in the health center just waiting to listen to what you have to say. The staff members who don’t live with you care about you, too!
You can also speak with one of the Camp Administrators. Scott, Phyllis, Jason, Deena, David, Courtney, Catherine, Stephanie, Jacki, and Bob have been at Camp for years and years, and our #1 goal each summer is for you to have the best summer possible. Some campers feel comfortable to talk to us when we are walking around Camp; others like to share a moment with us during mealtime. Some visit us at our houses and offices, and others ask their counselors to let us know that they’d like to see us. Some kids write us notes and place them in the special wooden mailbox at the entrance to the Camp Office. Notes in this mailbox are only read by Jason & Deena. Jason also has a mailbox for camper notes next to his office door, which is located in the upstairs of the Dining Hall. Whatever works for you works for us, as long as you communicate with someone.
Of all of the strategies we know for helping campers, not telling someone is probably the least successful. If we don’t know that something is bothering you then we probably can’t help or support you!! And if you wait until November to tell your mom or dad about what was bothering you the summer will be long gone, and we will have lost the chance to make things better right away!