Hello new camper families!!! It is my favorite time of year – the start of our New Camper Blog Series! Each Tuesday (from now until camp starts), we will post a blog that dives into a topic for our new camper families. We explain things in more detail and give you the inside scoop (with many tips from our current families) so that you are prepared and ready for your very first summer. Our past archive of New Camper Blog posts is a great resource, so make sure to check it out. Let’s jump into our first week!
Food is a big part of the camp experience, and our campers LOVE the food! We already have so many resources on our website about food for you to see: sample menus that show our many food options, fun videos of our Taco in a Bag picnics and a video about our Meals in general, a new camper blog on Snacks and Food Allergies (and even a specific parent video on Allergies), an overview of how the Dining Hall works, and our food overview page with details about how we eat overall. With this wealth of knowledge, what else could you want to know?
Today, let’s talk about how girls sit in the Dining Hall and a little more about Allergies.
In the Dining Hall, we sit around square tables with at least one counselor and up to seven other campers. Girls are assigned tables each week and will find out their table assignment from their cabin counselor. By sitting with new people, campers meet many different friends at camp. This is fun! While girls will make great friends with their cabinmates and will meet other campers in classes, eating three meals a day for a week with a specific group gives you even more opportunities to make friends.
When we assign tables, with our youngest campers and with our new campers, we make sure that each camper has someone her age at her table with her. Often, it is someone in her same cabin, giving each camper a buddy at the table. For girls that are more reserved, or for those who are new, this will help quite a bit when we change tables each week. New campers will have a friend right from the start!
The first meal at a new table is quite fun. Counselors play games to help everyone remember names or to learn interesting facts about their new friends. At our longer sessions, many tables will have their own theme meals (where everyone decides to dress alike in fun costumes for a meal), and many tables also play games during meals (we often find leftover pieces of masking table on tables at the end of a session from the endless games during lunch).
Girls make some of their best camp friends at their tables each week – it’s a fun Greystone tradition to switch tables!
We have shared many details about dietary restrictions and allergy food on our website already (see our Allergy video for parents, and then info with specific details on how we support and handle food allergies). Today, I wanted to better explain some details about our alternative foods to make things even more clear.
We are a completely nut-free kitchen and don’t cook with nut products of any kind. To prevent cross-contamination for other food allergies, we clean our equipment and surfaces in between preparing different foods and are careful to keep alternative foods stored separately.
When we serve something that has an allergen in it that your daughter can’t have (for example, if your daughter is gluten-free and we are serving bread), we will have a gluten-free bread alternative available for her to enjoy. We often are able to substitute “item for item” (i.e. gluten-free bread for our regular bread), or we will make a replica of the food offered without the allergen included (i.e. dairy-free Oreo Cream Pie substituted for our regular Oreo Cream Pie). We will always have a vegetarian version of a dish as well (i.e. meatless sauce for spaghetti).
However, sometimes this just isn’t possible, usually because the allergy-free alternative just isn’t good. When we make a dish like Cheesy Chicken that is dairy-heavy, the dairy-free versions that we have made in the past do not taste good. Instead of serving something that doesn’t taste good, we will prepare a dairy-free option that we believe is delicious (such as herbed chicken on top of noodles instead of Cheesy Chicken). We always try to make an allergen-free alternative that matches what we are serving everyone else, but if it isn’t going to taste good, we always opt on the side of serving the better tasting option.
Make sure to read more details on how girls can find great food alternatives and allergy free options on our fruit and salad bars each day – visiting these are a wonderful way to fill up on protein and enjoy some variety.
That’s it for our first week of our New Camper Blog Series! We hope you’ve learned a little more about food and Dining Hall details that help prepare you for camp. Have more questions about food? Comment below or feel free to . Join us next Tuesday for our next New Camper Blog – see you then!