Life-Threatening Allergies? Camp Blue Spruce is Safe! $50 Off, Too

Louise and Riley

Louise and Riley

Louise Tippens found out her son had life-threatening food allergies when he was 8 years old, after years of milder but miserable mystery reactions. Adjusting to going without eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and milk was no walk in the park, but they managed it. Riley got healthier and happier… and got used to the idea that some experiences just weren’t going to work out since they were too dangerous. Sleepaway camp was one of those things that didn’t seem possible.

Louise had always been clear that she wanted her son to be able to live a normal life. She worked with the school to successfully change the culture and practices so that Riley and other people living with allergies could be safe there. The family took vacations, packing all their food with them, like we do. And as Riley got older, she started to think about what it would take to give him a safe camp experience.

Camp Blue Spruce at Gales Creek

Camp Blue Spruce at Gales Creek

Now Riley is 13 years old, and this year, the camp will be a reality!

August 19-24, 2012, Camp Blue Spruce will hold it’s first session for kids ages 10 to 14. It’ll be held at the site of Gales Creek Camp which normally serves kids with Type 1 Diabetes. The facility is new and beautiful, and many members of the Gales Creek Camp Staff are receiving extra training and staying on as councilors for Camp Blue Spruce. These councilors know the site, have experience dealing with medical issues at camp, and know how to have fun! Update: Lauch of camp will be in summer of 2013. Please fill out This quick survey to tell them what you are looking for in a camp!

Register by July 15th for a $50 discount!

Who Came Up With the Plans to Make Camp Safe?

Louise assembled an amazingly qualified team to help her figure out the details! The team includes: parents of children with food allergies; allergy specialists and doctors: Dr. Baker, Dr. DeMerrell, Dr. Erde, and Dr. Elizabeth Hawkins; a dietitian and homeschool mom, Catherine Dunster; a former camp director, outdoor educator, and camp councilors; an elementary school counselor; and a communications professional.

The Camp Blue Spruce organizers are also working with Washington F.E.A.S.T. and the Oregon Food Allergy Network.

The cook and several of the staff have allergies, so they are very aware of the importance of eliminating cross-contamination risks!

Who Is Safe?

Celiacs and people with life-threatening allergies to any of the top 8 allergens will be able to enjoy camp safely! The camp will be free from the top 8 allergens, sesame, and gluten. That means eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sesame, wheat, and gluten are off the menu and not allowed at camp, even in staff quarters.

How Will You Make Sure the Kitchen is Safe?

The minute the campers from the previous session leave the camp, a specially trained, dedicated crew will come and scrub the place down! While some stainless steel cookware will be washed and used, other items that are more difficult to safely clean will be brought in to eliminate any chance of cross-contamination.

What If My Child Has a Reaction?

Camp Blue Spruce at Gales Creek

Camp Blue Spruce at Gales Creek

The camp will be staffed with a professional medical team throughout the session. Doctors will be on site for check-in, and will be on call 24 hours a day throughout camp. All camp councilors and other staff will be trained to identify reactions and treat them, and will always have epipens available. Camp Blue Spruce is only 20 minutes away from the nearest hospital, just 30 miles outside of Portland, OR, in Banks.

Who Can Go?

Kids ages 10-14 with life-threatening food allergies have first priority. Siblings of children with life-threatening allergies may attend if there is space. Older teens may be able to come as Councilors in Training.

How can I help?

Here are three great ways to help make Camp Blue Spruce a success and open up the possibility of going to camp to more and more children every year!

  1. Spread the Word! Since Camp Blue Spruce is brand new, we need help getting the word out. Tell your friends, share this post, and “like” and share Camp Blue Spruce on facebook!
  2. Make a Donation! Running a camp takes a lot of money and supplies. If you would like to make a cash donation, contact You can purchase wish list items for the camp directly from Amazon. I’ll also donate all the commissions we receive on any Amazon purchases you make (for yourself or for the camp) through this affiliate links to Camp Blue Spruce.
  3. Join the Team! If you’d like to help, contact to find out more about volunteering with Camp Blue Spruce.

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2 comments to Life-Threatening Allergies? Camp Blue Spruce is Safe!

  • I am so excited to learn of this camp. Just 3 more years until my son is old emough. Thank you.

  • Catherine Dunster

    Hi Mama,

    I just heard from Louise yesterday that Camp Blue Spruce is on hold ’til next year: not enough campers! That will give some time to increase outreach and raise additional funds. As you can imagine, Louise is extremely positive and looking forward to next summer.

    On another note – I’m aching to try the coconut oil….where can I purchase in town? Thanks!

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