Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Barry Garst

Committee Member

Dr. Denise Anderson

Committee Member

Dr. Carlos Nicolas Gómez Marchant

Committee Member

Dr. Karen Kemper


Severe food allergy is an emerging issue in public, educational, and recreational spaces, as the condition rises in prevalence and severity (Capucilli et al., 2019). Nearly all camps serve children with food allergies (Schellpfeffer et al., 2020). Research focusing on documenting rates of food allergy, anaphylaxis management, and food allergy management in summer camps has been foundational to ensuring a safe experience for youth attending camp (Gonzalez-Mancebo et al., 2019; Schellpfeffer et al., 2020). However, less research has focused on the socio-emotional impacts of attending camp with a food allergy or exploring how children with food allergy experience summer camp (Liebel & Fenton, 2016).

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand the experience of summer for children with food allergy using qualitative methods grounded in phenomenology. Four primary themes emerged from the data analysis process: 1) Trust and Transparency, 2) Inclusion is about Connection, and 3) Inclusion and Exclusion Coexist and 4) Parental Influence. The themes identified provide insight into how children with food allergies experience camp and how camp provider accommodations impact campers’ experiences. Generally, campers reported a positive camp experience which was improved by trust in the safety of the food and feelings of inclusion. Campers also expressed a desire for allergy self-management, while being included in the traditional camp meal service. Camp leadership needs to think critically about serving this growing population of campers with food allergies, to balance youth needs for autonomy with safety, and to allow campers to practice allergy management in a supportive environment.

Author ORCID Identifier



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