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for foods you know are safe or that have ingredient labels. That’s what Marcinkowski’s pack does. “Home- baked goods go in one area. Kids who have food allergies may choose not to eat those because they’re not sure how they were prepared,” she says. On outings, you could let boys


with allergies bring separate food or enforce strict rules on what foods can be brought. Sanitation and avoiding cross-contamination are important as well. If peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are on the menu, buy squeezable jelly bottles so no one has to dip a dirty knife into the jelly. Keep in mind that food allergies


aren’t limited to meal and snack times. For example, some dens make bird feeders by smearing peanut butter on pinecones, an activity that is not safe for a boy with severe peanut allergies. Fortunately, there are plenty of other crafts to choose from.


Let ‘No’ Mean No Marcinkowski emphasizes that boys should never be pressured to eat some- thing they want to avoid. “If the child says ‘no,’ that’s where it ends,” she says. “If you think maybe the child is just saying ‘no’ because he doesn’t feel like eating, find an adult leader who knows better or find that child’s parent.” She remembers a time at William’s


preschool when an adult tried to dis- tribute chocolate milk at the milk-free table. The kids at the table kept resist- ing until a teacher had to intervene. “My son was better protected by his 4- and 5-year-old peers than he was by the adults,” she says. “It was a very pow- erful experience.” Friends were also among Morgan


Smith’s best advocates. “All the boys in his den were well-aware of Morgan’s food allergies,” Bob Smith says. “They were kind of protective of him at a certain level.”


That protection continued once


Morgan became a Boy Scout. On hikes, for example, Scouts who had brought trail mix that contained peanuts would intentionally hike at the end of the line and alert Morgan to what they were eating. (Why not ban peanuts? “We weren’t advocates of saying you can’t bring nuts,” Bob Smith says. “We were advocates of education.”)


Better as They Age Morgan’s experience also demon- strates that dealing with allergies can be easier at the Boy Scout level since older boys are better able to advocate for themselves. Even before he moved into Boy Scouting, Morgan taught his new leaders about food allergies and taught them how to use an EpiPen. Now an Eagle Scout, he has presented at food-allergy conferences and helped other Scouts learn to manage their allergies in Scouting. ¿


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