Camp Kesem- University of Michigan
To provide a week-long summer camp to a frequently overlooked special needs group; the children of cancer patients. For fifty-one weeks a year, the families of cancer patients watch their loved ones suffer. But for one week during the summer, these kids are free from worry and welcomed by peers of similar circumstance. Here, their confidence takes charge to create the lasting memories every child should experience. Camp Kesem is truly a magical program.
Students at the University of Michigan are excited to provide a student-run summer camp program for children who have or had a parent with cancer, where campers build self-esteem and gain support from peers facing similar challenges. With a camper-counselor ratio of 2:1, campers receive the special attention and support that they would not receive at a regular summer camp.
Our mission is two-fold:
- 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.
There are 1.7 million cancer cases a year in the United States that affect individuals and their families. The support is there for grown-ups; but the special emotional needs of children of adult cancer patients have been overlooked. Simply put: kids are often left to deal with these personal tragedies on their own; and if parents themselves are struggling with illness, their sons and daughters frequently miss the simple joys of childhood.
Giving Kids the Opportunity to Be Kids
Since 2000, Camp Kesem has given children affected by a parent’s cancer the opportunity to just be kids. 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.
Empowering a Generation of Student Leaders
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 our 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.