The Gluten-Free Triplets Travel Corner

Welcome to the gluten-free travels of C. Lee, Ceelee and Celi or as they are known to the NJY family; the Gluten-free Yak triplets.  This is their diary as they travelled around the world talking NJY Camps gluten-free program. To see more pictures you can go to our facebook page NJY Camps Gluten Free Program.

 October 25-26, 2014

                                      Gluten and Allergen Free Expo 

Hi. It’s me Celi.  I spent last weekend at the expo which was held at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts and it was AWSOME.  First of all there was so much food.  I didn’t know what to try first.  I was so happy it was two days so I would have enough time to try everything.  I met some really nice new vendors who have wonderful kosher products. One gave me a full ready to use pizza crust!! 

We were right next to my friend Oonagh, the chef.  I met her last year at the Healthy Villi event.  It was nice to catch up with her.  She has a new cookbook out which she was showing.

I saw a lot of my other good friends there too.  Stacey from GiG was there.  Did you know GIG is 40 years old!? She told me there was going to be a big celebration.  Two of our veteran sponsors were there Namaste and Udis.  Aleias, who joined us for their first year as a sponsor, was also there.  They are all so nice to me.
I got to meet Patricia Teague who wrote the children’s book Gilda the Gluten Free Mouse.  She was so nice. She gave me a signed copy of her book and let me take a picture with her.

I got to talk to a lot of parents at this expo.  I wish they had brought their kids with them because I love talking to kids.  I like to show them pictures and stuff.  I got to talk to some but I wish there were more.  Maybe next time.

September 6-7, 2014

Gluten and Allergen Free Expo by Ceelee Yak

Hi All. I hope you had as relaxing a summer as my brothers and I did.  But now it’s back to work.  Personally I am excited  to go to the fairs and meetings this year and meet all the people and of course, taste all the GLUTEN- FREE food!!I recently went to the gluten and allergen free expo in Secaucus, NJ. It was AWSOME !There were sooo many vendors.  I saw three of our sponsors there: ( Namaste, Kinnikinnick and Udi’s)  Actually Udis is one of the sponsors of this WHOLE event .   Kinnikinnick introduced me to their new vanilla wafer.  MMMM it was good.Saturday was SOOO busy. I was very happy that Barry Saias came to spend the day and talk because I just kept talking and talking. There were so many people.  They all were very happy to see an overnight camp like ours.  Many of them were interested in coming to the family weekend in the spring. I even saw a few of my camper friends who stopped by to give me a hug and tell me how great their summer was.  It was so busy I forgot to get a picture with them. 
Sunday was a little quieter but not much.  I actually had time to walk around the vendors and see what was there.   I got to spent some time with my friends Dr Verma and Patty Bierly from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Stacey Juhnke from the Gluten Intolerance Group  Stacey was very helpful when I asked her about some of the kosher vendors that were there.  I wanted to make sure they were certified by them.  And they were!!   I love new vendors for camp!! 

I was exhausted when I got home but I had so much fun.  I think this is going to be a GREAT season of events.

July 13, 2014
Visiting Day at Camp by Ceelee Yak

Although it was not a gluten-free event, I got to go up to camp for parent visiting day.  What a crazy day! First you watch when they open the gates how the parents run.  Guess that is why they refer to it as the “running of the parents.”  They run to their children and the lakefront to get a good spot to spread out their chairs and picnics. 
 I spent the day at a table meeting alumni and campers.  My friend Brea came over to give me a hug so we took a picture together.  The whole day was meeting and chatting with alumni.  One really nice thing was to hear the campers tell their siblings that they could not bring the food that they brought into the bunk.   They had it outside so anyone who had  Celiac or other food allergies would not get sick.  I also found out that the camp sent an email to make sure that anyone coming to visit needing a gluten-free meal at the barbecue would get one.   It was a wonderful day.

June 27, 2014 

Re-Accreditation Day At Camp – The Journal of C.Lee Yak

Hello.  I had the good fortune of going to camp last Friday for the visit with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).  They were coming to reaccredit the camp’s gluten-free kitchen.  I was excited to meet and talk to Cynthia Kupper, who is the Executive Director of GIG and a Resident Dietitian.  I had some questions for her and was curious to see what she looks for when she certifies a kitchen.
 When Cynthia first arrived we went directly to the kitchen to meet up with Chari Nacson, the supervisor of the kitchen for the past two summers. (Chari is on the left of me and Cynthia on the right) She gave us a quick run through of the kitchen, introducing the cook and staff.   We went into the dining room and sat for a long time talking about new products, the changes in packaging.  Chari was questioning if something is labeled GF do you still need to read the ingredients.  According to Cynthia, starting in August, all companies that label gluten free have to abide by the safe standards set down by the government.  (Of course, you can still read ingredients but you should not need to do so.)

There was a great deal of discussion surrounding new products and companies being acceptable to Gig for our usage.   Cynthia went through the book with us.  She asked a great deal of questions about our procedures and who ensures they are followed.   She made some suggestions about adding procedures that were changed over the years and an explanation of why so that the next person who comes in will understand. We spent a great deal of time talking about campers with multiple allergies on top of having Celiac and how they are taken care of in camp.  Chari showed Cynthia her “cheat” sheet of campers from each camp that is posted on the door. We then took Cynthia to the store room and freezer where all the product is stored.  She liked that we have a separate locked cage for all of the dry good product.  She offered some suggestions which we always love to get from her.  Her suggestions always make our process so much easier.

We took her up to Cedar Lake at lunch to see service.  We stopped at the canteen to show her what Chari does to ensure it is easier for camper with Celiac to know what they can and cannot have at canteen without having to ask.   It makes the campers more ”normal” when they come as they just go to the counter and ask for what they want as quickly as any other camper.

After observing CLC in action, we went back down to NJW and watched their service.  Cynthia finished up with a review and we were finished.  Another safe and successful gluten-free season for camp.

May 30- June 1 ,20141
Gluten-Free Family Weekend
BY the Yak Triplets

Hi All.  It’s me Ceelee. This weekend was the gluten-free family camp weekend and it was AMAZING!!  About 100 people were there.  This was the FIRST time my brothers and I ever got to go to sleep-away camp so we each took our own pictures of what we wanted to share with you.  As you will see we are VERY different in what we like. 

So I 'm first and I took pictures of EVERYTHING starting with the car ride.  It was a bit squishy as you can see.  C.Lee wanted to see out the window so he kept pushing into me.  Anyway I was told the ride was an hour but it didn't seem that long. I was so excited because this was the first time I was in Pennsylvania.  We crossed the Delaware River but we couldn't stop to take a picture.  
When we got to camp I made my brothers take a picture in front of the welcome sign.  It was so exciting to FINALLY be at camp! As you can see we were not the only ones at camp but you didn't really notice everyone else until you were in the dining room.  Then it was LOUD!

I did so many activities this weekend but I was told I can only put up a few pictures because I took soooo many.  So I chose a couple of my favorites. First is yoga.  Both mornings I spent an hour with Marge doing yoga.  She was great.  It was so peaceful by the lake where we were and after ward I was so relaxed.  

I did so many things including  an art project but one of the really fun things I got to do, which I don't get to do at home, is archery.  This picture was right before everyone came and I was waiting.  I was so excited I forgot to take a picture while I was actually shooting the arrows and I hit the target!!

This is the pool.  I didn't actually go in because I forgot my bathing suit.  I know that sounds funny as I came to camp but I didn't think it would be hot enough to swim and it was, especially on Sunday. 

At night we got to sleep in a BUNK BED!! We never get to do that at home. 
  So of course I HAD to share that picture with you. 

The whole weekend was so much fun. I wish I could go the whole summer. Thanks for sharing my trip!!

Hey it’s me Celi.  This weekend was beyond cool!   I did so many things. Sorry if some of my picture taking was not great but I was so busy that I didn't really look at them until I got home.  

So they have this game called GAGA. Its like dodgeball but better cause you are in this pit so it goes really fast.  As you can see I got out pretty quickly. We are not supposed to sit on the wall but I wanted a picture so I was told I could do it fast.

I got my sister and brother to come on the tire playground with me when we first got to camp.  It is a great playground with lots of tires and a slide and things to hang on. I went here a few times.

Although it was not open I was really excited that when I do come to camp I can do woodshop.  I LOVE to build stuff.  I also liked the movie Shrek. 
I was told that there are real scroll saws that we get to use with the staff.  How cool is that?!

So this is the lake. Sorry about my hoof in the picture. I try to keep it out but sometimes I miss.  Anyway the lake has all this fun stuff on it like the slide and the Rave and Iceberg.

This is the ropes course.  It has three ziplines !!  I wanted to go on it but they didn't have a small enough harness.  I definitely need to get one for next time.  The kids were "flying". There is a climbing wall and a vertical gym with a bell that you ring when you get to the top.  So COOL !!

Ok. This is the dining room. It was so busy and the food was really good.  I ate soooo much.  We had an ice cream party and a camp fire where we made s'mores.  Chocolate and marshmallows all melted together on graham crackers. MMMMMM.

On Sunday we had a barbeque with corn on the cob!!  I wish the weekend just kept on going for the WHOLE summer! I did NOT want to go home!

Hello everyone. I know my sister and brother thought I was ridiculous with what I took pictures of but for me this weekend was the first time I was NOT in the minority but rather the majority. I wanted to document that for myself.  So my pictures are less activity and more about the idea of someone like me who has Celiac going to an overnight camp. I would never have thought that possible. I also thought it was great to meet all the medical staff of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University who came and to sit in on their sessions. 

I hope you enjoy my pictures.

So I started at the dining room.  I wanted to see this dedicated, certified kitchen.  When I got there this was the first thing I saw.  I was pretty impressed at how visible this was.  They really wanted to make sure the staff knew the specialness and seriousness of this kitchen.

I moved into the storeroom which I was given permission from the Food Manager to visit. Actually, he was very happy to answer anything I wanted to know. 

Here is what I learned...all the gluten-free food that is non perishable is in a locked cage. Then there is a freezer for whatever needs to be frozen and in the actual gluten-free kitchen there is a fridge.  I thought it would be fun to sit among all the sponsor's donations.

This was a  picture from one of the sessions that I went to with the medical staff at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.  It was very interesting. This particular session was on the Neurologic manifestations of Celiac Disease. It was just so great to be able to talk to these really knowledgeable staff.

My sister and brother think I spent my whole weekend "in school" as they call it but I did other things.  At the ice cream party I played with this group of girls who were so much fun. They were with one of the counselors, Jenna who was celebrating her birthday.  It was really special when Jenna told me that she was gluten-free like me.

My sister and brother and I really enjoyed the relaxing nature of the weekend. It was nice to have the choice to be busy or just sit and enjoy.  In this picture you can see what we chose to do at this moment.

Well we hope you enjoyed our pictures.  The weekend was truly a unique blend of fun and education.  Personally the fact that, again, I was in the majority made it a truly exceptional opportunity. 

My sister, brother and I hope that more families will be able to join us next year and wish you all a great summer !!

May 10, 2014
Walk For Celiac by Ceelee Yak

Saturday I went to the Third Annual Mid-Hudson Valley Walk for Celiac.  I was so excited about the event as I have never been to a walk for ANYTHING before.  The only bad part was I had to get up soooo early to get there by 8:15 am to set up.  Fortunately I got to sleep in the car on the way since I have a driver cause I cannot reach the gas pedal.

Anyway I was a bit worried when we first got there because it looked like it was going to rain any minute.  Luckily, we were under a tent with the other vendors.  I was in between two food vendors…actually when I think about it, the Arbonne table and NJY were the only non-food vendors. Anyway registration started at 9 am but the walk was not until 10 am so people could walk around the vendors.  The first Mom who came up to me was Kate and she was so excited to see me.  She said her husband had found us online but she was disappointed that they could not come to the gluten-free family weekend May 30.  I told her there were other family weekends and the gluten-free kitchen was always open.  She took our postcard with all the dates. The kids, Jack and Aubrey, were excited too.  We took a picture together which you see up above.

I didn't need to worry about the weather cause at about 9:15 the sun came out and it never really went back in.  That was great BUT it was soooo HOT!! My fur was frizzing!

I met a lot of people throughout the day who were so happy to know that we did this.  Many families took our information and were thinking about taking their families to camp. A few times people told me they were TOO OLD for camp.  I told them you are NEVER too old for camp.

One great family I met were the TEAM ASHLEY family. I didn’t get all their names but they had great shirts…even their dog had a shirt.  Mom wanted to know where I was adopted from so I told her my story and that I had twin brothers.  The whole family was so impressed with me that I asked them to take a picture with me.  

It was a wonderful event.  I don’t know how much money they raised but they had A LOT of people.

May 3 - 4, 2014

Key Staff Training

Hi it's me Celi.  What a great weekend I had.  I was invited to the first training event of the season for our staff.  It was held at the Executive Director’s house and all the Camp Directors, Assistant Directors, Associate Directors, Division Heads and the C.O.O. was invited. 

The training focused on two major areas…introducing the Jewish heroes of the summer and taking care of the campers. During the Jewish hero piece we played a fun game and later broke into our camps to plan programming for the summer.

The piece that I was really interested in was taking care of our campers…especially ones with Celiac.  Janet, the COO, ran a discussion on taking care of the details.  She gave out one of those picture games where you have to find the differences between the two pictures.  Then a discussion occurred about how it translates to our campers.  How do we make sure the details are taken care of with every camper?  We included all areas from activities to food.  Ideas were shared on how to ensure our counselors, or as we call them the “front line”, really take time each day to know and check in with each of their campers. 

It was a wonderful kick-off to the summer. Here are a few pictures with some of the key staff.

Me with Sam Aboudara, Teen Camp Director, Amanda Weiner
Teen Camp Assistant Director and Kari Grove, Director of Camp
Nah-Jee-Wah.  We were cheering Celiac Awareness Month !!
Me with the Round Lake Staff.  Jen Rosh, Division Head is holding me.  Aryn Barer, Director and Beth Roth, Assistant Director are next to us.  We were talking about Round Lake and Gluten as RLC is NJY's camp for children with social and communication challenges.

Me with Daniel Hosiassohn and JK Schneiderman, Division Heads of Cedar Lake.  In all honesty we were talking about the NHL playoffs when this picture was taken. Hey not EVERYTHING I do is gluten free !!
May 4, 2014                  
          Katz JCC Kidsland Event 

Journal entries by Ceelee and C.Lee Yak

Hi All.  Yesterday was  AWSOME !!  C.Lee and I were at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill attending their annual community-wide Kidsland Event.  So many people.  So many vendors. SOOOO much fun!!  We had a table where we gave out tattoos and fruit.  We raffled a family camp weekend.  I met so many great families.  Lots of really young kids which I like as they are my height. We even met two of our new Hannah campers for this summer.  They were so cute and excited to come. I also met a few alumni.

There were these two huge birds walking around.   Every vendor had an activity and was giving away either food or fun things like flash lights and beach balls. I’ll let my brother tell you about the food as he spent the whole day walking around and checking it out. There were two HUGE rooms filled with different companies from the community. PLUS some of the vendors did demonstrations.  At the end of the day we had our picture taken with BATMAN and he had his Bat Mobile too!!  Well I am exhausted so I will turn it over to my brother.

Good morning.  So my sister told you about the fun but I wanted to talk about food. After all that is why I went.  I walked around the event. A number of vendors gave out neutral food like raisins or chips. Unfortunately the vendors that gave out cupcakes and cookies did not have any alternative for me.  They didn't even have anything in writing on their table about food allergens.  

However there was one highlight. We were next door to Shoprite and I was talking to Ashley and she was telling me about their recent gluten-free event they had just had at their store.  They do a number of events over the year and actually invite other vendors to come. She said the one they just had had 40 other vendors!  I was so excited I asked to be put on her mailing list. 

As for all the activities, I agree with my sister on her assessment of the Batman piece.  It was rather exciting.  By the way this Batman was the one you might have seen on utube or the news with the young boy Batman. He does a lot of special events like that.  When you think about it, Batman does not have a real special power like superman or spiderman but he is a great person who has special gadgets like the bat mobile and other items.  Sure he can fight but it is my opinion that he has a more human type special power.

A Little New Orleans flavor

                                  Meli and Jason with CLC camper Ben Dias

 Meli and Jason tattooing some of our new friends


April 13, 2014 
 New England Celiac Conference

Hi it’s me Celi.  It has been a crazy few days for me with the Passover holiday but I wanted to tell you all about this past Sunday at the Healthy Villi event in Massachusetts.  It was held at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood.  It started at 8 AM!!!  Who gets up at 8 AM!!  Well it seems the gluten-free world of Massachusetts does, so I did too! 

Anyway it was a day-long conference with lots of speakers.  Dr Alessio Fasano of Massachusetts General Hospital was one of their major speakers.  I met him after he spoke and he said he had heard about our camp.  That was really cool!  Unfortunately he was in a rush to get back to the hospital so I could not get a picture with him,  but maybe next time.  I did get a picture with my new friend Ooonagh Williams.  She is a chef.  She was doing a session on Easter and Passover gluten-free desserts, which I went to.  She had stopped by our table earlier and was asking me questions about Passover.  She is so funny.  Anyway she asked me to come to her session and taste her Passover deserts.  She actually gave out a WHOLE plate full of Passover and Easter cakes and sweets plus the recipes to everyone who attended her session.  MMMMM she made a really great Passover almond cake.  And, of course, everything was gluten-free. She talked about food allergies, food labelling and being an advocate for yourself when it comes to purchasing products that say gluten free on their packaging.

I saw two of our sponsors at the conference. Kinnikinnick and  Cedar's were both there handing out samples.  I stopped by to tell Kinnikinnick how much I love using their graham crackers to make s'mores at camp and, of course, I stopped by to grab a Cedar's hummus snack pack.

During the day I met a lot of interesting family combinations.  There were families where it was one parent or the other that had Celiac or one of the kids had Celiac.  I met one family where EVERYONE in the family had been diagnosed with Celiac.  I think in all there were about 250 people there.  It was a really nice day.  

This was me in front of the welcome table.
They served us a gluten-free breakfast and lunch.
I was so excited I took a picture on the buffet

This is my new friend Oonagh Williams.
 Along with being a Chef, she is also a food writer focusing on gluten free and other food allergies.
You can follow her on facebook at glutenfreecookingwithoonagh

April 6, 2014 

My Favorite Time of Year by CeeLee Yak

I just LOVE this time of year.  It is getting warmer.  The trees finally have buds, which mean leaves are not far behind.  BUT what I really love about this time of year is Passover.  Why? 

Well first it’s a great Jewish family holiday.  Next week all of us together celebrating around the seder table.  The great family tradition of trying to figure out what’s going on because we all have different versions of the same Haggadah (seder book), doing what my relatives refer to as “new math” as we add up and multiply all the plagues and, of course, the negotiations with my Dad to “sell him” the afikomen so we can end the seder.  Of course there is also all the fun songs too.

HOWEVER…my FAVORITE part happens the week before the seders when we go to the supermarket.  This is the time of year when there is so much more gluten-free food in the supermarket.  This is when my siblings and I get to pick out all the delicious deserts and snacks we want.  We get to fill up both of our freezers (we have a second one in the garage) and all the cabinets.  It is the one time of year Mom says yes to everything!! My siblings had other things to do this year so I got to go all by myself.  (of course they gave me their orders.) I was so excited that I decided to bring my camera.

This one was my favorite. 
Just me COVERED in yummy gluten-free deserts!!

I thought it would be fun to climb onto the shelf 
Happy Passover everyone !!

March 23, 2014 – Journal entries by the Yak Triplets

My visit with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from the journal of C.Lee Yak

Sunday I was asked to join NJY Camps at the CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) event.  It was their annual education day.  The day was a combination of educational sessions and a vendor fair.   Our table was at the very far end behind the buffet line.  I thought it would not be a great location but it turned out we were in the prime location as everyone stopped by to chat.  Families with children of all ages, even teens, stopped by to talk about our camp.  Even the food vendors came over to talk about donating to our program.  Unfortunately we needed to gracefully refuse as we only serve GIG certified products.  Although they were gluten-free, we needed the certification.  There were interesting sessions thought out the day on gluten in medicine, labeling and group discussions broken by the age of the diagnosed child.

Our friends at NFCA (National Foundation for Celiac Awareness) came over to talk.  I proudly showed them our staff training certification from them.    A little later I asked to take a picture with them at their booth and they loved it.  Michael Savett, who writes the gluten-free Philly blog, generously gave me a lift so I could be seen in the photo.

I also took a photo with my new friend Jane who is a girl scout.  She was selling the new gluten-free Girl Scout chocolate chip cookie, which was very tasty.  I am very glad that the Girl Scouts finally realized the importance of making a gluten-free cookie.  I hope they continue to gluten-free the other varieties, especially the thin mints and tag-a-longs as I really want to taste those.  My friends tell me they are the BEST!

Finally I took a picture with my camp friend Jack Saias who has been attending NJY for few years.  We are gluten-free buddies.   Jack’s mom, Barrie helps out with recruiting for our program when we are in Philly.  Along with helping us recruit, she recently became the day camp director at the JCC of Allentown.  

Family Fun Day at the JCC of Scotch Plains – By Ceelee Yak

Hey Guys,

Celi and I had a BLAST Sunday at the JCC Family Fun day.  We spent the whole day talking to people and helping NJY Camps run their photo booth.  The theme of the day was Frozen, so our booth had all the characters from the movie.  We must’ve taken over 200 pictures.  It was crazy busy but loads of fun.

We did get to take our picture before the event.  Here we all are: Celi and me with Amy Weinberg, Associate Director of Camp Nah-Jee-Wah, Meli Rozenbaum, Assistant Director of Cedar Lake ( she is holding Celi) and Jason Hosiassohn, Assistant Director of Camp Nah-Jee-Wah ( he is holding me).

We also made a new friend who just liked playing with us so Celi and I  took a picture of him at our table. Celi asked me to add that along with our camp materials, we had some gluten-free snacks to give out which the families enjoyed.

March 13- March 20, 2014

My Remarkable Travels - The Journal of C. Lee Yak

Good Morning.  I recently travelled to Russia with NJY Camps to seek out campers while learning how someone who is gluten free makes their way through daily life.  It was a fascinating experience.  First of all travelling to Russia I needed a special visa.  Fortunately I did not have an issue in obtaining it.  Although I do not speak fluent Russian and was only in the country for a few short days, I was still able to find my way around and see some amazing history.

First I went to Red Square, a huge plaza next to the Kremlin.  The name Red is not taken from the bricks of the surrounding buildings and it is not from the association of the color with communism. It is derived from a Russian word which meant beautiful.  Behind me is the Gum. Today it is a beautiful home to many up-scale fashion boutiques with familiar names, as well as Samsung and Apple stores. Originally it was an outdoor market that was later replaced with three beautiful buildings which housed 1000 small shops. During the Soviet era it was used for government offices. 

Of course I then proceeded to go to the Kremlin which is the residence of the Russian president and seat of his administration. It was formerly the headquarters of the Soviet Union. The sumptuous cathedrals and churches are from the era of the Tsars. The site was established in 1156 and has hosted many governments and rulers. A large brick wall, with towers and gates surrounds the complex .

As I was in Russia for Purim I went to a celebration with our friends from the JCC Nikitskaya.   We attended a Purim gala celebration at a Russian night club with a 1920's Theme.  There were children's entertainers as well as dancing and comedians telling the story of Purim for adults. 

The costumed guests enjoyed the hamantashen. Unfortunately they were not gluten free so I had to pass but my colleagues tell me they were delicious.

At the end families left with mishloahmanit, which are in short … goody bags.  Although I could not pose with the performers, I thought you all might enjoy a few pictures of the celebration.

The next day we had a meeting at the JCC Nikitskaya with some wonderful families who will be joining us at camp this summer. Kate, the chaperone for the past three summers and two of our campers from last year also dropped by to say hi to everyone. 

As I missed the Olympics, I thought I would “pose” with my new friends at the official store of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.   

As for the gluten- free part of my journey. There do not appear to be gluten- free certifications such as GIG or NFCA in Russia. I did not see any gluten -free notations on the menus. However, many of the meals are interesting recipes of vegetables and fruits. Breakfast is spreads of yogurts, fruit and vegetables. So for the most part many of the meals here are gluten free but not certified.  This link is to a card in Russian that explains gluten - free food and preparation.  People carry them and it allows them to tell restaurants about their food requirements.  Hmmm makes you think about the United States and if something like this would assist our food establishments.

Upon my return from Russia, despite my jet lag, I stopped by the American camping Association Tri-State Conference in Atlantic City.  I attended a session on Food Allergies that was led by one of our camp parents.  She was a bit surprised to see me when I went up to say hello at the end as our camp was a bit beyond what she was speaking about but as I explained to her one never knows if there will be some new tidbit that another camp is doing that can be translated into our camp.  Plus it is always nice to see our camp families.   I went through the vendor fair and tasted some gluten-free products.    I was able to take one picture as I entered the vendor fair.  I am standing with Amy Weinberg, Associate Director of Camp Nah-Jee-Wah and Laurie Epstein, an alumni of camp.

March 18, 2014. 
My visit to Panama by Ceelee Yak


What a busy week I had! But I was so grateful to be able to travel... I love meeting new families and talk to them about camp!
For my first trip,  I visited Panama. The weather was awesome! I had the chance to experience warm days in the middle of the winter, that's exciting!
The best part of my trip was the visit to the Isaac Rabin School and Kol Shearith Israel Temple, I met there with new families that are interested in sending their kids to camp for the first time and I was able to answer a lot of questions.
But you guys know what?! I met with a family that has a child with a gluten allergy, and they told me that it isn't easy to find kosher gluten-free food there. Actually it is very hard, so they loved the idea of having the opportunity of sending their son to camp, where he can enjoy without worrying about food!!!
In the picture you will see me posing with Silvio and Meli from camp.  They are both Assistant Director of Cedar Lake, the camp for children entering 7-9 grade.
They both traveled with me. The other picture is me trying to reach the synagogue sign.

Can’t wait for my next trip !!

March 17, 2014 
Celi's Purim Celebration

Hi it’s me Celi.   Yesterday morning I was at Temple Sharey Tefilo- Israel in West Orange, NJ.  It was their annual Camp Purim celebration.  I saw a lot of NJY campers and their families there. They came over to say a quick hello and tell me how excited they were to be coming back to camp.   The Temple had a variety of rooms for the kids to play in, including a jumpy castle.  I wanted to go in the jumpy castle but Amy, Associate Director of Camp Nah-Jee-Wah,  Ed ( Amy’s husband) and I were very busy. We thought we would have time later but we never did. They, also,  had a cooking area where they were making hamantaschen but we found out they were not prepared to make them gluten-free.  Since I like to eat what I make I decided not to go there.  Anyway I had a gluten-free hamantaschen from Katz, one of our sponsors,  at home.  But it was a lot of fun to see all the families.  We were so busy chatting to our families and others, we realized we forgot to take pictures once we got inside, so I only have this one with Amy and the Temple sign.  

March 9, 2014 
Celi's First Month

Celi making a snow angel

WHEW!!  It has been an amazing first month for me as I began my travels with NJY Camps gluten-free program.  I have truly enjoyed meeting so many great people to talk about NJY Camps dedicated GIG certified gluten-free kitchen. 

I was sorry to miss out on going to Florida in February, but I know our Southern contingent did a great job.  I got to make a snow angel which was loads of fun

Gez and Amy from NJY and Jen Vitti,
our Camp America Rep

I did get to London in late February.  I was there to attend the Camp America staff recruitment fair.  Of course I took full advantage and stopped by parliament as well.   

Photo bombing Len Robinson, Exec dir and Sir Cyril Taylor,
 Founder and CEO of AIFS
While at the fair I met with Sir Cyril Taylor, Founder and Chairman of AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) and Dennis Regan, Senior Vice President of Camp America to talk about how we can accommodate gluten-free staff as well as campers.  The whole role-modeling is so important at camp.  

in front of Big Ben
in front of Westminster Abbey

I was in Boston in early March attending the Children’s Hospital Celiac Support Group meeting.  They were doing their annual spring event and asked me to join as a vendor.  I tried one of the gluten-free whoopee pies …WOW was it great!!  Our newest sponsor Cedar’s was there as well giving out my favority humus and humus chip individual snack packs.. I met a potential staff person for NJW there whose whole family has Celiac.  She was so excited to find a camp that had a dedicated, certified, kosher kitchen.  She has always wanted to do overnight camp but never thought she could.

I was at Phelps Memorial Hospital Yesterday, March 9th to attend the WCSSG Monthly meeting.  It was about the ABC’s of getting what you want from school.  Although I was a vendor I was also able to sit through the meeting. I saw Amanda and Maureen Diamond, one of our camp families.  Maureen represents UDI’s which we use at camp. Although it was a small event, I met some nice families very interested in our GF Family Weekend, May 30- June 1. 
Have a great day!