Last weekend, FAAM hosted the first camp for kids diagnosed with food allergies in the Mid-South! FAAM parents and children ages 4-14 came to camp for Taekwondo, calm kits, parent chats and the splash pad. Camp was food-free which allowed attendees to relax and have fun; a luxury not fully experienced by individuals diagnosed with food allergies in traditional camp settings.
Campers learned basic Taekwondo moves and broke boards with Hardin's Southwind Taekwondo. Martial arts is a good sport for learning body awareness and confidence, things some of our children often struggle with. How cool is it that some of the instructors were kids, just like them?!
Campers also visited the "beach" to share their favorite ways to relax. Our young people often receive the message that they need to "calm down" and control their feelings, yet they aren't taught how. Each camper built his or her own Calm Kit, full of helpful items to use the next time they feel stressed, sad, or need a mental break. I heard that a couple of the kits even went on family vacations!
While campers were busy learning how to use tissues to breathe (just ask, they'll tell you all about it!), parents chatted with FAAM's medical advisor, Dr. Jay Lieberman. We don't often have an opportunity like this during appointments so parents appreciated the time to learn more and ask questions.
Cooling off at the Splash Pad is always a FAAM favorite and was a perfect ending to our FAAMily Fun Camp!
Words can't describe the feeling I had at the end of this wonderful event. I was humbled at the kindness of others to make this camp happen. Local businesses with no personal connection to food allergy were eager to help us make this event safe and successful. I was elated to see big smiles from the kids and parents alike, some participating in a camp for the first time. My heart ached to hear some of the stories parents shared, but quickly warmed knowing they had support here. This camp was about more than having fun, although we had a BLAST. It was about the incredible support and fellowship we created out of what can be difficult circumstances at times. It was about making lifelong friends.
We thank Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) for the award which allowed us to host this camp at no cost to our members and our wonderful volunteers for working hard to make camp possible.
Food for Thought is the blog for the Food Allergy Alliance of the MidSouth. FAAM's mission is to provide food allergy support, education, advocacy, fellowship & fun for Memphis, TN and surrounding areas.
If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately and follow up with a physician.