GGE History & Philosophy
In 2005, Tara Phillips and Grace Gettert had a dream for their Girl Scout Gold Award project. Both loved camp and had received their Bronze and Silver awards volunteering at service unit camp outs and running portions of camp activities. When they heard that the only camp that was safe for kids with Celiac disease was in Rhode Island - they knew their Gold Award would be to start a camp for kids with Celiac.
Tara reflects that the core inspiration for the Great Gluten Escape (GGE) was the knowledge that every child deserves a safe and fun summer camp experience. To this day, community building and peer support are at the heart of this camp. Parents comment how their children feel safe and accepted for the first time in their lives, that bullies don't bother them anymore, and that they've seen their children blossom with the confidence they gain at GGE.
In light of these values, GGE has a unique theme chosen each year - rather than the Biblical theme of Gilmont's other summer camp programs. Past GGE themes have included Hunger Games, Make a Splash, and Super Heroes.
GGE has grown since 2005. That first year, 17 campers attended GGE. In the summer of 2022, 81 campers attended GGE. As campers grow, they return as Junior Counselors and Adult Volunteers to give back to the camp they love. They serve as role models to younger campers and offer additional peer support.
Gilmont holds GGE and all of the other camps and retreats we offer year round as part of our mission to be a safe, sacred space where all are invited to grow closer to God, creation, others, and themselves. We recognize the positive impact GGE had on the lives of campers and it is with great honor we program this camp year after year.