In 2008, my summer camp instituted a rule that campers and counselors could no longer keep food in the cabins. This meant that snacks, gum, sugary drinks, etc would not be allowed.
We did this for a few reasons: first, there was the issue of garbage and wrappers being tossed everywhere, which was attracting skunks, mice, and other fun wildlife.
The real issue, however, was allergies. We’ve had a number of campers over the last few years who have some pretty serious nut allergies, and a large amount of the candy kids bring with them either contain nuts or have been manufactured in a factory where nuts were present.
Anyways, since then kids have tried numerous methods of hiding their food ‘staches:
Shoving stuff in the boiler room behind their cabin
Hiding stuff in the walls
Hiding stuff in the ceiling
One kid actually built a false bottom in his trunk where he kept Costco sized boxes of Twix.
Just a few days ago, we heard a rumor that one kid had a pie hidden in his cabin. Oddly enough, were it true, it wouldn’t be the first time a camper kept a pie tucked away; in 2009 I found a pie up lodged in between the ceiling rafters and a wall located in the cubbies.
When I asked how it was still good to eat sans refrigeration, the kid gave me a blank stare before mumbling, “good point.”
Dan, Armen (one of the head counselors), a former head staff member who was visiting, and I went up to the cabins and began our food check.
We gave them an opportunity to turn in their candy before we searched their stuff and, to their credit, most of the campers turned in their sweets.
That said, a few of them chose to maintain that they had nothing to hide, a fact that was quickly refuted once we found food in their luggage.
One kid, by the way, had a question concerning what constituted “food.”
“Does chewy stuff count?” he said.
When pressed by Armen as to what he meant , he replied, “You know, like, stuff you chew.”
“Do you ingest it? Do you eat it?”
“Then give it to us,” said Armen.
The kid then produced Chewy Jolly Ranchers, still asserting that it wasn’t really food.
I might agree that candy shouldn’t be eaten every day, but come on, kid, that’s food.