Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anderson Young, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon Todd, Ph.D.


The purpose of this project was to create an empowerment program for children with severe food allergy (SFA) in a residential camp setting. Despite recent advancements in research, there is no cure for SFA, thus there is a need for programs to help children manage their allergies and cope with the ramifications of their condition. Quality of life is a major concern for children with SFA, as the constant fear of exposure to an allergen can lead to high levels of anxiety. This is particularly noteworthy because, barring exposure to an allergen, these children are otherwise healthy and symptom free. Empowerment and adventure camp programs provide many outcomes that could greatly benefit children with SFA, but as to date, no such programs targeting children with SFA exist. Research shows that empowerment programs outcomes include improved self-concept and resiliency, better communication skills, feelings of competence and control, feelings of acceptance and an ability to verbalize feelings. Such outcomes could greatly benefit children living with SFA, but programs must be conducted in a safe context. This program was designed to deliver the benefits of an empowerment process program to children with SFA in an environment where they would be safe. The Operations and Safety Plan outlines procedures for the dining hall and mealtime, and forges connections between the dining staff and medical staff for a holistic, multi-faceted approach to safety. It has been shown that residential camp programs can greatly benefit children of all backgrounds and circumstances. A program such as this could lead to an increased number of safe, viable programs that offer camp services and opportunities to children living with SFA.