October 24, 2013
Counselor Blogs – Katniss
Howdy! My name is Molly Brockenbush, although I go by “Katniss” at camp. I am a junior English major from Arlington, Texas. I have been involved with a couple other organizations during my college career at Texas A&M, but I heard about Camp Kesem from my cousin (“Squirrel”) who got involved her freshman year. She encouraged me to go to a few meetings and see what Camp Kesem was all about. I am truly grateful I took her advice, because Camp Kesem has been one of the best choices I’ve made during my years at school.
I felt called to become involved with Camp Kesem because I love working with children and have always wanted to be a camp counselor. It was also for a good cause, which sets Camp Kesem apart from other student organizations that focus more on socializing or preparing for one’s career. I can only imagine how stressful it can be for a family with a parent battling cancer, not only emotionally, but also financially. The children who have to deal with a parent with cancer are incredibly strong, as I have witnessed at camp this year. There may not be a lot of money in the budget to provide the kids with summer camps and other activities since these medical bills can be ridiculously expensive. I loved getting to meet the parents and families of our campers on the first and last days because they showed how much Camp Kesem means to them and how much they appreciate what we do. Camp Kesem is truly unique because it gives college students the opportunity to commit their time and energy to serving others and becoming better leaders in the process.
I was ecstatic when I got the email saying that I had been selected to be a Camp Kesem counselor for summer 2013! I completed all the training courses and prepped for months in advance for camp. We bonded as counselors, from shopping for camp supplies together, to planning our skits and activities for the week of camp. All the counselors got up bright and early to drive to the campsite the first day of camp to prepare for the campers arrival. I was finally going to meet my Red Unit girls! They were all so adorable, and I had so much fun getting to know them individually throughout the week. While I was having a great time, I also had this unsettling feeling. I almost felt as if I didn’t belong, because I have never experienced a loved one struggling with cancer. But throughout the week, I realized I could help these kids, even if I could not relate to what they were going through. As counselors, we can offer kind, reassuring words, and we can provide a hand to hold, a tissue, a smile, a joke, a silly camp song. I guess that’s part of the magic of Camp Kesem: the ability to bond with people from different backgrounds and help each other during a tough time.
I have made several close friends through Camp Kesem, because the people that are involved are incredibly generous, kind, joyful and fun to be around. I would recommend joining Camp Kesem to any Texas A&M student because it truly is a rewarding and eye-opening experience. From cabin chats, late-night dance parties, “blobbing” at the lake, Messy Olympics, and Empowerment: Camp Kesem is a magical and life-changing experience. I feel blessed to be involved in this incredible organization.
Molly “Katniss” Brockenbush