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10 Counselor Secrets Camp Kesem Proves Wrong!

TLC Family posted an article on “10 Things the Camp Counselor Doesn’t Want You to Know” and Camp Kesem can proudly say that those do not apply to us! Below are responses and explanations of how Camp Kesem doesn’t fit into the typical camp mold!

10: The Counselors Haven’t Had Background Checks 

Our entire staff (nurse, therapist, admin team, counselors) has to pass a new background check every single summer in order to come to our camp.  Any visitors we have must pass one as well- have no fear, your kids are in great hands!

9: The Counselors Are Kids, Too

All of our counselors are college students, ranging from 18-24 years old; your kids will never be left under the supervision of anyone that has not reached college age.  We will be implementing our CIT (Counselor in Training) program in summer 2013, so there will be previous campers ages 16 and up who will be part of this program, however, they will never be solely in charge of campers, they are simply learning how to become great CK counselors!

8: The Facilities Aren’t Up to Par

Every facility we attend have to be up to our national standards- they must meet all health codes, have emergency plans, and are American Camp Association (ACA) accredited.  You can also take a tour and check out the entire camp beforehand!

7: Your Camp May Not Be Accredited

Please see # 8 🙂

6: There Are No Rules About Hygiene

To keep everyone healthy, smelling reasonably good and comfortable, everyone has to shower at least once a day.  We have jam-packed days filled with lake swimming, playing in the mud, etc. so everyone needs a shower (and wants one) at the end of the day!

5: It’s a Real Co-ed Experience

Yes- we have boy and girl campers, however they are never left alone together.  Our units travel as a team and if they need to go somewhere during an activity, we use the buddy system; this consists of AT LEAST 2 campers AND 1 counselor or 1 camper, 2 counselors- no one will EVER be one on one- whether it is 2 campers, or a camper and a counselor!

4: The Food’s Nothing to Write Home About

All campsites we attend must have vegetarian and other special dietary needs options, there is also always PB&J and cereal available if the provided meal is not one someone prefers.  We have accommodated vegetarians, vegans, kosher, gluten free, dairy free, etc. Your kids will not go hungry- there are plenty of options!

3: There’s No Mission Statement or Objective

Camp Kesem actually has a two-fold mission statement:

  • To provide children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp opportunity 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.

2: The Kid-to-counselor Ratio Is Shockingly High

Not at Camp Kesem! Our ratio is a strict 2:1 for every 2 campers there will always be 1 counselor.  This ratio is very different from other camps; we believe that it is so important to have counselors always available to provide that extra attention when necessary.  Your kids will never question the care and compassion our counselors have for Camp Kesem and every single camper.

1: Not Every Kid Enjoys Camp

This is very true, not every kid enjoys camp.  HOWEVER! We have a ton of different activities and options for our kids that we have never had issues of not having fun.  We have something called “free selects” every morning after breakfast, these are counselor-made and run activities that ranges in everything from flag football, to picture frame making, to egg drop, to paper airplanes, to poetry.  There are activities for the kids who love sports and for the ones who aren’t athletic, for the crafty campers, and for the mechanical campers.  We also have a wide range of highly trained staff and we make each unit a very good balance of personalities so all different kids can have different counselors to relate to.  With the extensive training every counselor must go through, they learn how to adapt games and activities so that there are no “winners or losers”.  This is a very important aspect of Camp Kesem, that shows our number 1 goal of increasing every camper’s self esteem.


We at Camp Kesem MSU are very proud to say we do not fall into any of TLC family’s counselor secrets!! Camp Kesem as a whole has been providing safe, healthy, fun weeks of camp going on 12 years, and can’t wait to do it for many, many more!