Camp Kesem for Kids

Beth Fand Incollingo

Life can be emotionally wrought for children coping with a parent’s cancer.

Cue Camp Kesem, a national non-profit organization that provides free, one-week summer sleepaway camps for children ages 6 through 16 who are coping with a parent’s cancer. The organization aims to let kids be kids through fun activities including sports and crafts, but also encourages them to express their feelings during “cabin chats” with fellow campers and counselors.

There are 3 million children living with a parent’s cancer, but “because they don’t appear sick, their needs are often overlooked and they suffer quietly, leading to academic, social, emotional and developmental problems,” according to the program’s website. The camp aims to help children increase their confidence, network of support, selfesteem and coping tools.

Camp Kesem is run through 62 college chapters in 29 states, working not only to help children, but to promote leadership development and community-building among college students. Student leaders raise funds to run their camps; additional funding has included grants from the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

Although Camp Kesem has a Hebrew name—it means “magic”—it is secular and open to campers of all backgrounds. Applications can be found online, and attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

To learn more, visit
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