Monday, June 3, 2013

First Day of Summer Camp

Today was the first day of Boys and Girls Club summer camp.  The big kids attended the Boys and Girls Club afterschool program 1-2 days/week, so the staff is familiar with them and their food allergies.  They also attended the programs put on by BGC on days out of school, including spring break.  But this is the first time they have attended their summer camp. 

Of course, my anxiety rises when I leave the kids in a new situation.  I have had several discussions with the director of the program, and she reassures me that she understands and has other kids with food allergies in the program.  But, of course, I am still nervous to leave them. 

About a week ago, I received an e-mail from the Program Manager loaded with information about the summer camp program.  Once section was titled "Medicine."  Here's what is said:
"If your child uses an inhaler, epi-pen, etc., please send it with them on their first day. We will keep them in the office. Just a reminder, BGC is not allowed to administer medicine. We have floating nurses who will be in and out of each site all summer. They will assist when needed."
WHAT??  They can't administer life-saving medication?  I immediately e-mailed her back asking what needs to be done to change this.  She replied saying that their licensure states they cannot administer meds to children.   She gave me contact info of her superior, so I emailed the same question to her.  I haven't received a response yet, but I'm sure this is something I'll have to take to my state representative.

Shortly after lunch, I checked my cell phone to see if I missed any calls/texts (as I do frequently throughout the day).  There was a voicemail from the BGC director saying that GirlyGirl was sitting next to another child who was eating a peanut butter sandwich, and she started saying that her tummy hurt and her throat was itchy.  She was asking if she could have a Benedryl.  Oy!  The first day!  It turns out she was OK and was just complaining about a tummy ache as she frequently does (read more about this here), and she has been having a flare up of seasonal allergies for which we have given her Benedryl a few times recently.  So her dramatics combined with a lunch next to a peanut butter sandwich and this is where we land.  I'm glad they overreacted and gave her Benedryl rather than ignore something that could have been really bad.

Tonight I took some time and wrote out detailed information regarding each child's allergies.  I asked her to share this info with her staff.  In the past, I have always done an in-service with daycare or school staff to make sure they understand their allergies and when/how to use their medication.  I haven't had the chance to do that with the BGC staff, so writing this e-mail is taking its place.

I recently took an online course about anaphylaxis first aid, and I commented about how beneficial this information would be for anyone.  Even though the staff is not technically allowed to administer meds, I feel like having the information from this course would give them confidence to do what they needed to do as a Good Samaritan.  Check out my course review here.

Well, they will head back to summer camp tomorrow, and hopefully with a slight scare and a lengthy e-mail from me, the staff will be more conscientious of their food allergies.

By the way, I think this staff does a fabulous job with my children, and I know they mean all well.  I just think that most people could use more education regarding food allergies.  Unless you live with this every day, it's hard to understand the gravity of it.  This is why I blog.  :)

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