I can't believe they allow Karen, the Director of Camp Longfellow in Wayland, to run this program! She boasts that they are an allergy friendly facility as they do not allow outside food into the facility, so it is a controlled environment. Karen said that being the mother and grandmother of children with food allergies, she is very comfortable using an EpiPen as she has had to administer it several times to her own daughter. She also said that they are concerned with peanut allergies as that is what typically causes an anaphylactic reaction. They are "not really concerned with the other allergies." Karen then went on to say that she usually tells families who are overly concerned about the other allergies, (i.e., milk, egg, soy, fish, wheat) that they probably should not send their kids to Camp Longfellow. I decided to take her advice.
Karen did not seem to have any idea of what is and how to prevent cross contamination, which explains why she's had to give her own daughter an EpiPen several times. In the next breath of telling me that outside food is not allowed, she welcomed me to bring in my kids' lunches. So much for the bragging of a "controlled environment!" While she is correct that peanuts are typically the allergens that cause an anaphylactic reaction, I am concerned about my kids having ANY reaction! When I explained to her that I've been fortunate enough to not have to administer an EpiPen to any of my children, but that they have, in fact, had hives and swelling all over due to touch of milk and egg products, she seemed surprised that she hadn't learned that in her Medical School Camp. My kids are allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts. It's good to know that Camp Longfellow is not a place to send your children to if they have those "other" allergies. Honestly, it's not a place to send your children to even if they don't have allergies as clearly, the Director does not enforce consistent policies, is not sensitive to the safety and needs of children and families, and simply does not create a warm, welcoming atmosphere to new families.