MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Over the past few years, most of us have become familiar with the term “gluten-free.” About 1 percent of the population has celiac disease, which means no wheat, rye or barley.

For kids with those types of allergies, there is respite right here in Minnesota. In Maple Lake, one of the only gluten-free camps in the country is being held this week.

Lunchtime at Camp Rock means there are options. That in itself is a gift for kids with gluten intolerance.

Katie Radeke is a staffer at Camp Rock.

“Banana bread, egg bake, pancakes, French toast, rocky road bars — anything that typical kids can eat — we are making it work for them,” Radeke said.

Seventy kids with different diets and for five days, they’re in the same place.

Delilah Schuster is a fifth-year camper from St. Paul.

“Just for a week, it’s like, you know can eat anything, and you can eat the same thing as your friends,” Schuster said.

Kirk Martin says his mom found out about the camp and they came up from Cedar Rapids Iowa. This is his first year.

“I don’t even have any words. It’s just so awesome here, like, you don’t have to worry about your food,” Martin said.

For these 8 to 17 year olds from all over the Midwest, camp can be perilous with unknown buffets and out-of-reach parents. Not at Camp Rock.

“They can go to camp, be kids, have fun, not have to ask us, ‘is this gluten-free?’ and wonder if they’ll get sick. This is 100 percent safe,” Radeke said.

On the menu this week: pancakes, tacos, fettuccine alfredo, but one item outshines the rest.

“I ate a real glaze doughnut for the first time ever and it was delicious,” sixth-year camper Josi Nordren of Savage said.

Radeke says when they served doughnuts, some kids were in tears.

On Friday, this year’s session of Camp Rock wraps up, but we’ve got a link to the registration site for next year.


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