There are 1.7 million cancer cases a year in the United States that affect individuals and their families and nearly 3 million children live with a parent who has cancer. Often, support is available for the parent undergoing treatment, but the special emotional needs of children of adult cancer patients is not as readily addressed. Kids often have to deal with the aftermath of their parents’ diagnosis on their own, and if parents themselves are struggling with illness, their sons and daughters frequently miss some of the basic tenants of childhood – like camp! In response to this need, Camp Kesem– a college-student-run summer camp for kids whose parents have (or have had) cancer – was established in 2000 providing children with the opportunity to be part of a “non-theraputic” environment where kids can just be kids. Camp Kasems' missions are:
- To provide children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs.
- To empower college students to make a difference and build invaluable leadership skills by developing and managing every aspect of their Camp Kesem chapter.
Camp Kesem, allows college student leaders nationwide to create free, life-changing summer camps for children affected by a parent’s cancer. Student leaders are full-time undergraduate students at universities around the country. In addition to their academic workload, these students each take on different aspects of the Camp Kesem planning process in order to make Camp Kesem happen.
Camp Kesem campers and counselors engage in activities like sports, arts and crafts, and drama to provide campers with an easy, and fun week free from the stress of their everyday lives. Campers also participate in “Cabin Chats” with their fellow campers and counselors, giving children the chance to share their experiences with each other. Camp Kesem fosters a supportive community among campers going through similar experiences at home. Learn more about Camp Kesem here.