Camp Kesem Augustana

  • IL


639 38th Street
Rock Island
United States

About Us

Our Purpose

To provide a week-long summer camp experience to the children of cancer patients. Camp Kesem hopes to provide these kids with a magical, fun-filled week. Throughout the year, these kids have to experience things that most children their age do not have to worry about. During this week of camp, we provide them with the opportunity to just be a kid! They are freed from worry and are able to create friendships and a supportive community with children who are going through similar situations.

Camp Kesem Augustana is run by the student leaders at Augustana College. Students plan and fundraise all year in order to provide these children with a free week of summer camp. These same student leaders are trained to become camp counselors. With a camper-counselor ratio of 2:1, Camp Kesem provides campers with the opportunity to receive support and attention 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.

The Need

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.