Camp TAG provides a safe place for children with food allergies, eosinophilic disorders and asthma and their non-allergic siblings to have fun – with no worries about allergic reactions – and meet other children who share similar experiences. It is a bonding and empowering week for all campers, including parents.
Camp TAG is 95% fun and 5% educational, with age-appropriate activities and games each day on food allergies, anaphylaxis, nutrition, the emotional impact of living with food allergies (for children with food allergies and their families), and how to stay safe at school and at home. The curriculum was designed and reviewed by FAACT's Medical Advisory Board.
Activities each day will include camp games, ropes course, climbing tower, canoeing, arts and crafts, music, swimming, pedal carts, miniature golf, Ga-ga, archery, mine chutes, and field sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, flag football, lacrosse, and tennis.
This ONE-WEEK, DAY CAMP is designed specifically for children ages 4-12. For camp activities, children are grouped by ages to ensure experiences are age-appropriate:
In 2016, camps will be held in:
“Camp TAG was created because I wanted to send my son, Thomas, to camp, but worried about a reaction occurring during the camp day. I researched local camps, and none of them were able to accommodate his needs. As I continued my research, I found that there weren’t any types of specialized food allergy camps for kids anywhere in the country. I then decided to start our own camp. Camp TAG (The Allergy Gang) was actually named after my children. TAG stands for Thomas Andrew and Anne Garrow, and they share the “A” as they share their life experiences of managing food allergies on a daily basis. I also wanted the camp to include siblings because I have one child with and one child without food allergies. Siblings are also just as affected and advocate just as much for their affected siblings. I wanted my children, along with all of your children, to enjoy the camp experience together.” – Eleanor Garrow-Holding
Medications are checked in each day in the morning and checked out each afternoon when you pick your child up from camp. We do not keep medication overnight. There are camp nurses on site at all times. The counselor of your child’s group will be carrying the child’s medications in a portable cooler on wheels (room temperature) so all medications are with your child the entire time. Every camper must have a medical/health plan completed, which is included in the registration packet.
Each camper is responsible for bringing his/her own lunch Monday through Thursday. To ensure the safety of campers with food allergies, some of the “top 8” allergens are prohibited at camp, including peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. We stress the importance – and ease – of cleaning hands and not sharing foods to help build healthy habits for all campers.
YMCA Camp Kern, Tall Pines Day Camp, and Camp Emerson have a peanut- and tree nut-free policy in place, therefore, all food brought in must be free of those ingredients. The same requirement stands for the YMCA Bransby Outdoor Summer Camp and YMCA Camp Oakes camp sites. Camp TAG provides bottled water for every camper each day to eliminate the need for parents to pack drinks for campers. No drinks are allowed to be brought in during the week.
In addition, Camp TAG provides allergy-friendly snacks free of the "top 8" (plus free from gluten, sesame, potato, sulfites, casein) in the morning and afternoon for every camper from Enjoy Life Foods.
Each camper will be required to clean his/her hands with hand wipes when they arrive at camp each morning and before and after snacks and lunch.
The first four days of camp are full days of fun and engaging activities. One of the purposes of Camp TAG is to allow kids to gain independence and self-confidence; therefore, parents will not be permitted to stay at camp with their children on these days.
The first four days of camp are full days:
Lebanon, OH: Monday - Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Lithonia, GA (Atlanta): Monday - Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Big Bear City, CA: Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Williamstown, NJ: Monday-Thursday from 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.
Hinsdale, MA: Monday - Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
On each Friday, family and friends will be invited to join campers for Family Fun Day from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the last day of camp. There will be games for all to enjoy, such as a moon bounce, tug of war, water games, sack races, obstacle courses, and more. Booths by camp sponsors will also offer a variety of medical and educational information
Teens with food allergies, ages 13+, or a sibling of someone with a food allergy, ages 13+, may apply to become volunteer teen camp counselors. Camp TAG provides one counselor for every five children. We'd really like to see the teens apply for counselor positions because they can relate to the campers and act as mentors.
No tuition is required for volunteer teen counselor positions. Teens may receive community services hours for their time, which averages about 35-40 hours for the week. If interested, please email Eleanor.Garrow@FoodAllergyAwareness.org for an application.
Please see the location you are interested in for the Registration fees. Tuition payments must be made in full online at time of registration or a check sent via mail to:
P.O. Box 511
West Chester, OH 45071
Please email Eleanor.Garrow@FoodAllergyAwareness.org for a Camp TAG application near you!
There will be an education session implemented during the education portion of the week for the campers and counselors on how to recognize signs & symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to use an epinephrine auto-injector (with trainers).
In July 2011, the inaugural Camp TAG was launched at Tall Pines Day Camp in Williamstown, New Jersey. A second camp was offered in August 2011 at the Sandy Springs Friends School in Sandy Springs, Maryland. Created as a place for kids with food allergies to just be kids, the experience was made memorable not only by the fun activities but also by the fact that the kids felt safe and reassured in an environment free from their food allergies. Through the hard work of Camp TAG founder Eleanor Garrow, the camp staff, and many volunteers, we were thrilled that Camp TAG was a total success! However, don’t just take our word for it. Read what some of the parents and volunteers had to say about the experience.
“…it was AMAZING!!!! It was the most inspiring, empowering experience we’ve ever been able to provide [our daughter] with. It was the first and probably the only program we have ever sent [our daughter] to that we didn’t have to even worry about the food situation, and for [her] younger brother, it was a good opportunity to teach food allergy awareness and safety.” ~ Julie
“I can’t thank Eleanor Garrow-Holding enough for Camp TAG. It was a wonderful experience for my 4-year-old son to be educated by people (adults and children) other than myself, husband, and family on food allergies.” ~ Kerri
“I have to say that Camp TAG is not only great for the kids, but for us parents as well. It means so much to me to meet other parents of food allergy kids who know what life is like trying to keep our kids safe! Thank you so much for all your hard work!! This is the best week ever!” ~ Lisa
“My son had so much fun today and cannot wait to go back tomorrow. Thank you to Eleanor Garrow-Holding and all the volunteers at Camp TAG for making my son’s dream of going to camp come true!!” ~ Amanda
“Camp TAG is so amazing in so many ways. It’s already made a huge difference in my son’s life. We are excited for the rest of the week …I loved how the kids at my table were all comparing their allergy bracelets and loving them like accessories and not having to feel different – instead a new sense of belonging!” ~ Kim
“I just wanted to let you know that you did an OUTSTANDING job putting this together and that ALL the children left with a new feeling of comfort with both their feelings about their allergies and meeting new children who have the same conditions as they do.” ~Frank