You have been diagnosed or know someone else who has been diagnosed with cancer and you know that your life and the lives of your family members and friends will never be the same. There is support for the grown ups but what happens to the children of a parent affected with cancer? More than likely they are left on their own to deal with everything in the best way they can and gone is the simple life of a care-free childhood. But, there is hope in a very special program that is known as “Camp Kesem“.
Camp Kesem empowers college student leaders nationwide to create free, life-changing summer camps for children affected by a parent’s cancer
If you check out the Camp Kesem website, you will learn that their mission is actually two-fold – first, “to provide children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs” and two, “to empower college students to make a difference and build invaluable leadership skills by developing and managing every aspect of their Camp Kesem chapter”. That’s right – “Camp Kesem empowers college student leaders nationwide to create free, life-changing summer camps for children affected by a parent’s cancer”.
“The ever-expanding Kesem community engages in camp activities like sports, arts and crafts, and drama to give campers a fun-filled week. Campers also participate in “Cabin Chats” with fellow campers and counselors, giving children the chance to share their experiences with each other. There are plenty of laughs and lots of emotional support, but Camp Kesem does not provide therapy. The tremendous fun and support campers experience is what makes Camp Kesem a transformative, magical week for campers and counselors alike. Camp Kesem makes a huge impact on the lives of children, but it also prepares and empowers a generation of student leaders by allowing responsible college-age individuals to make a meaningful difference. Each of the camps around the country is organized and operated by the young up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow who gain hands-on experience in fundraising, finance, marketing and project management as they bring much-needed happiness to truly deserving kids. In addition to real-world skills, Camp Kesem enables student-leaders to discover their passion for serving others”.
What a wonderful program this camping opportunity provides for all of those involved. The children need to know that not only does someone care about what they are experiencing but also they are being given a week of fun that is shared by other kids who share what they are experiencing. For the college students, each chapter is associated with their own college. There are currently 41 colleges in 24 states involved in the program with the numbers growing every year. The complete list of chapters is available on the Camp Kesem website.
I believe that Camp Kesem provides such a wonderful opportunity to the children who are dealing with a parent’s cancer. This has been a very underserved group in the cancer community for a long time and the need for a child to be able to escape from the pressures of a home that is enveloped with a cancer atmosphere is of prime importance to that child. This program is further enhanced by its structure that incorporates college students and gives them an opportunity to participate and to learn so much about the business aspects of financing, staffing and running the camp while providing them with the chance to aid and learn from the children that they are directing.
I would encourage everyone to take a look at this program and to provide help in any way possible. Perhaps you know a child who could benefit from this program. If you are in the education community, you might want to examine the possibility of your local college joining the efforts of Camp Kesem with a chapter of your own. Maybe you would be interested in sharing the information about this camp with your social media community so that others might choose to join in. And if you are in a financial position to make a monetary contribution, it would be greatly appreciated or perhaps you would be willing to have a fund-raising event, the proceeds of which would go to this organization. You can make a difference for the children who need this opportunity and for the college students who can benefit so much from this exceptional learning experience. For more information, please go to www.campkesem.org to find out how you might be able to help.
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