I've been away from home for various summer camps and retreats for many summers now. For being a vegetarian for nearly three years now, I know just how difficult it is, so I thought I'd make a thread so that we can all share tips on how to not starve during the duration of the camp, and other hardships of being away from our happy places where we feel most secure.
Call the camp to see about food options, if it is not discussed in the literature you get sent after you register. All the camps I've gone to have a salad bar option at lunch and dinner, and breakfast usually has some sort of cereal or toast option besides just bacon and eggs.
Go shopping! Even as an omni, I brought food to camp. So, as a veg*n, it is essential that you have a meal substitute just in case dinner isn't what you expected. Go for nutritious, delicious, and energy dense foods, especially if you're going to a camp that demands 110% of you. I like to bring along Clif bars, granola bars, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, fruit leather, candy, bottled water, popcorn, and crackers so that I know I'll have something to eat.
It's not the healthiest thing in the world, but it's only for a week Even if they discourage bringing food, they may be more lenient because of your diet. Just give them a call and politely explain the situation and go from what they say. I've had no problems in the past.
I learned this at debate camp- pack everything in a little plastic tub with a lid. It makes everything much easier to carry around and contained in a small space.
Find (or bring) a veg*n friend at camp. Two years ago (and the first time away from home for a week as a vegetarian) my roommate was. But because of me being incredibly nervous around people I don't know well, I didn't bother to interact with her, or even know she was a vegetarian until the last day. This way, you and a friend can figure out what's edible or not.
Some of the counselors may also be vegetarian. Even if they aren't, many are more than happy to do everything they can to help you find something edible.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. The food service may actually be able to tell you what is vegetarian or not, or be able to provide you with an alternative meal if they're really nice. I had PB&J a few times when the main entree was meat-based. They are usually very helpful at knowing what goes into the food.
Always, always, always eat at the salad bar if there is one. Even if it's iceberg lettuce, cabbage and carrots, it still provides some nutrition. It may be boring, but it's still food. If that's the only thing around for you, it's never that difficult to go back to your room and grab a granola bar and some trail mix.
Call, or make a comment about the food on the questionaire that some places give on the last day. POLITELY tell them that you enjoyed the camp, but next year, it would be nice to see more veg*n options. Don't be preachy, just ask for more options. You'll catch more flies with sugar than vinegar, just remember that, being rude or militant (ie.. MEAT IS MURDER! MAKE ALL THE MEALS VEGAN BECAUSE YOU'RE KILLING COWS AND PIGS AND LIVING THINGS! or whatever.) just makes us all look crazy and will not likely make any real difference except making other vegetarians and vegans look like extremists.
If anyone has any other tips to add, feel free. These are just observations I've made through the years.
EDIT: And let's not somehow turn this into a huge argument. I don't know how one could, but with the teen forum, you never know. Play nice, kids.
Edit #2: This has been restickied this year, so I've revised everything.