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Getting to Know Lola

Hello everyone! I’m Lola, Camp Kesem UW-Madison’s National Program Director; I work with 11 schools in the Midwest, ranging from Wisconsin down to Missouri and out to Michigan.

I got involved with Camp Kesem as a freshman at Michigan State University; after the first meeting, I was completely hooked and shortly after became fundraising coordinator. August 2009 was my very first week of Camp Kesem, and was so incredibly life changing.  I bonded with children who were really more adult than most college students I knew, who had experienced such hardships, and overcame them with the type of bravery I had never seen before in anyone.  From there I became the administration and camp programming coordinator, and then spent 2 years as a co-chair, and now I am working for Camp Kesem National, so I guess you could say Kesem literally became my life 6 years ago.

1457644_10200917400764962_266171988_nI am in a very unique position, in that I get to see and take part in making camp happen for 11 different groups of Camp Kesem children, and that is an amazing thing.  Every week I work with dedicated student leaders, who work tirelessly to create, plan, and execute a much-needed week for both campers and parents, and who have transformed into being best friends and role models to their campers.  I get to visit 11 completely different camps, but at each one a few things remain the same: Non-stop smiles on the faces of campers, compassionate college students who have put forth so much time and effort into camp, and last but not least- I see Camp Kesem magic.  Camp Kesem takes such an ugly thing- cancer, and brings those affected by it together to create something beautiful.  Together, we provide a safe place for campers, and give them the opportunity to just be kids– something that many have never fully experienced.  I see stories of sorrow and hardships transformed into stories of bravery- that is the closest thing to magic I have ever seen.

If I have not already met you on my camp visit last year, I am looking forward to meeting you all for the best summer of camp yet!