Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gluten free family weekend on the East Coast (aka Camp!)

I had an amazing time at the NJY gluten free family weekend! NJY camps was kind enough to fly me out for their first ever Gluten Free Family Camp weekend in Millford, PA. NJY camp partnered with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York to create a dedicated gluten-free kitchen to serve kosher meals and snacks to the families in attendance. All proceeds for the weekend would go to the Celiac Disease Center.
Some activities at camp
NJY stands for New Jersey Youth and it is comprised of eight Jewish camps which serves the entire Jewish community ranging from special needs children to senior adults. Their goal is to create fun and exciting community service infused programs for Teens in Residential Camp and in Israel! Even if you are not of the Jewish faith you are more than welcome to attend! It was nice to share a kosher meal with my gluten free family in celebration of Shabbat.
In the Nah Jee Wah dining hall preparing for Shabbat Dinner
Shabbat dinner menu - kosher and gluten free
I had never been to camp before and this was a great first adventure. I got to play with the children during archery lessons, arts and crafts, ropes course, rock climbing and zip lining. There was also a beautiful lake with boats, jet skis, and a water trampoline!

Not only did the camp of fun and games for the kids but the Celiac Disease Center sent over some of its finest physicians to do education with the parents! They shared the latest updates in the field of Celiac research and nutrition. 

There were also some notable people in the field of Celiac Disease awareness present. I had a wonderful time playing the Sing Down game with Kirsten Boncher, mother of two and blogger on her own site (link below). She and her family are gluten free, dairy free, and soy free like me! I also met Nicole Hunn, author of Gluten-free on a Shoestring, and Craig Pinto, former kicker of the New Jersey revolution arena football team from 2008-2010 and founder of Kicking4Celiac. He is also a Guinness World Book of records holder!

It was such a wonderful weekend and I was so sad to leave! I made so many wonderful friends and I pray I will see them again soon. The most rewarding part of the trip was when a little girl, named Khloe, looked at me and said that her mother told her I could not eat wheat just like her. I told her that was true and she smiled, threw her arms around me and said, ":Will you eat with me, Mrs. Alaska?" I knew God had put me in the right place at the right moment. Knowing you are not alone is the biggest step in living with Celiac Disease!

For more Information please visit the following links:

Celiac Disease Center of Columbia University
Gluten free on a Shoestring
Kicking for Celiac
Our Gluten Free Family

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