2013-2014 Directors

We are proud to introduce to everyone our Directors for our first chapter of  UC Santa Cruz Camp Kesem. These amazing Directors have spent endless hours organizing the 1st ever chapter at UC Santa Cruz while balancing everyday life of school, work, and extra-circular activities. They are go getters and have a lot a passion for Camp Kesem.


  • -lead weekly coordinator meetings
  • -have weekly conference calls with Shaggy, our Program Advisor
  • -recruit and lead quarterly advisory board meetings comprised of local professionals who aid and support Camp Kesem UCSC
  • -act as a liaison between CK national and our chapter
  • -attend Camp Kesem National Summit


With almost $14,000 raised, we are ahead of schedule to raise $30,000 by the end of May to bring 30 campers affected by a parents cancer to our first-ever session of Camp Kesem UC Santa Cruz in July! We are so proud of the progress our 11 lead coordinators and five student committees have made towards creating this amazing week of camp for our chapter’s first year. We make our work fun and are becoming a family, always keeping in mind the huge difference we will make in our campers lives.
Our incredible Advisory Board consists of nine professionals with a variety of backgrounds in psychology, child development, marketing, law, health and program management, and we will be having our second Advisory Board meeting in February. Our Advisory Board provides guidance and support with fundraising and helps to create community connections. We will be holding a letter-writing party at an Advisory Board member’s house in the upcoming months with music, pizza, and a whole lot of letters to family and friends asking to support Camp Kesem. We are continuing to connect with student organizations, community organizations, and local businesses to build support on and off campus.We are looking to double in size in the next three years to 60 campers, requiring a fundraising goal of $60,000 for the 2015-2016 school year. We are both sophomores and intend on returning as Directors next year to keep this Kesem magic flowing (:



(From Left to Right: Roo and Snickers)

Name/ Camp Name: Marissa Heirich / Roo / Rooski

Hometown: Palo Alto

Birthday: 11-4-1994

Major/Year: Human Biology/Sophomore

Favorite Candy: Anything with chocolate

Why you are a part of Camp Kesem: I am a part of Camp Kesem because I want to enrich the lives of local children going through an unimaginable experience and give them a chance to just be kids. I knew that CK has a profound impact on the lives of thousands of kids nationwide, but I never expected how much of a positive impact it would have on my own too.

Why you chose your Camp Name: My camp name comes from a nickname that my family called me growing up. They would call me Riss or RissyRoo and call my sister KyraRoo, so when I first became a camp counselor in high school I went with Roo for my camp name and it has stuck ever since.

3 words that describe yourself: Dedicated, Goofball, Stoked!

If there was one place you travel to in the world right now, where would you go and why?

I want to go to Latin America to do some kind of school-oriented service project with children in rural communities, and I just might be going next fall!!


Name/ Camp Name: Katie Sweeney/ Snickers/ Snix

Hometown: Burlingame

Birthday: 10/09/1994

Major/ Year: Hoping to double in sociology and politics/ 2nd Year

Favorite Candy: Snickers

Why you are a part of Camp Kesem: I wanted to start a Camp Kesem chapter at UC Santa Cruz to fulfill my childhood dream of spreading the Kesem magic that has impacted my life since age 7. I was a camper for eight years at the first Camp Kesem, which started at Stanford. During my mothers battle with ovarian cancer, and after she passed away, Camp Kesem remained the only place I felt truly understood by all my peers. The primary focus during the week of camp is having fun while building connections for families facing similar hardships, and creating a community of support for them that persists throughout the year. I have a lot of appreciation for the strength Camp Kesem has given me and my family, and hope families of Santa Cruz can benefit from our chapter in a similar way.

Why you chose your Camp Name: I chose Snickers because it is my favorite candy and the only candy I have on a fairly regular basis… trying to cut back …but the fact that it is my camp name tempts me to indulge myself more than I should ;)

3 words that describe yourself: Passionate/ Upbeat/ Silly

If there was one place you travel to in the world right now, where would you go and why?

If I could travel one place, I ideally would live several months to a year in Spain to become fluent in Spanish and experience the culture there.