Life at TUNE

Becoming a Part of the Camp Promise Family

Guest Contributor

Hi, I’m Chris Blanco, TUNE’s Head Chef and first-time blogger. “Head Chef” is not one of those made-up startup titles: I actually run a full kitchen here at TUNE’s Seattle Headquarters, where we serve three plus meals a day to all employees free of charge. So awesome, right? Today’s menu includes….

true cod fish tacos with fresh pico de gallo, house-made tomatillo salsa, avocado salad, radishes, green cabbage slaw, beans and rice.

But I’m not writing just to make your mouths water. I wanted to share something else TUNE encouraged me to do with my expertise. Instead of normally reporting to work at TUNE last week, I spent the week cooking for the campers and volunteers at Camp Promise-West, the only camp in the Pacific Northwest for people of all ages with muscular dystrophy.

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I’ve been a long-time supporter of Camp Promise-West, and I was overjoyed to be involved. I got right to work coordinating my meal plans with the camp’s daily themes, with menu items like “On the Lam(b) Stew” on Cops ‘N Robbers Day” and “Sir Mixed-A-Lot of Greens Salad” on Hometown Pride Day. I lived onsite with the campers and counselors, and became part of the Camp Promise family—performing a skit during mealtime, participating in talent show, and even asking a camper to “prom”.

“Chef Chris changed the whole tone of the week,” said Camp Promise-West Director Terin Izil. “Our adult campers and volunteers were more than nourished—they were counting down the minutes until the next meal. Even our pickiest campers were chowing down. And that healthy food and flavor kept everyone energized for all our fun activities. Chef Chris gave camp food a whole new meaning.”

I truly believe anyone can cook if given the chance and some encouragement, and to prove it I introduced a “Build Your Own Pizza” activity, a first for Camp Promise-West and a huge hit among campers and counselors alike (if I may say so myself). Everyone enjoyed playing chef for the day and it even inspired one camper to look into jobs in the culinary field.

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Some campers were bummed to find out I didn’t come from a restaurant because it meant they couldn’t bring their families to enjoy my cuisine. Guess they’ll have to wait until next year! 🙂  But until then, I’m planning on sharing my recipes and culinary tips with the campers, and then creating a Camp Promise-West fundraiser cookbook.

Camp Promise-West was founded in 2009 by a grassroots effort to provide camp to people of all ages with muscular dystrophy and similar neuromuscular diseases. The facility and all programs are wheelchair accessible and adapted to individual campers’ needs. This year’s camp had 28 campers and 43 volunteers, including counselors, RNs, and camp directors to help with one-on-one, 24-hour care and activities for the campers. Camp ran August 24-29, 2014 and was located at the Easter Seals Camp Stand By Me facility in Vaugh, WA. I hope you’ll look into this tremendously worthwhile organization. To donate, volunteer, or learn more, please visit http://www.camppromise.org or http://www.facebook.com/camppromisewest

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