Counselor Blogs- Lime

Howdy! My name is Emil Stavinoha, but around Camp Kesem I’m better known as “Lime.” I’m a former student of Texas A&M University after graduating with my degree in Electrical Engineering. Previous blogs have mentioned “veteran” counselors, and I’m one of those having done Camp Kesem for the past two summers. Veteran sounds much better than some of the other adjectives I’ve been called, such as one that starts with “O” and rhymes with “gold.” J

I got started with Camp Kesem two years ago after learning about the organization at the MSC open house. It was an organization in which I felt like it was something I was meant to do because cancer was something with which I had long been familiar. Like the children who come to camp every summer I also grew up with a parent fighting cancer. After a long and valiant fight, my mom lost her battle with melanoma shortly after my 13th birthday. My experiences then and the nearly 11 years since gave me a strong purpose and motivation to help out the Kesem campers and do everything I can to give them one super awesome week of summer fun.

It’s been amazing to prepare and experience Kesem twice and to go through all the events and activities with my fellow counselors leading up to and through camp. The friendships and teambuilding play a big part in us being able to put on the best camp we can, and have tons of fun along the way.

This past summer I was a counselor for Teen Camp. We just started our teen camp this pass year, and since I was a blue unit counselor last year, I had many of the same campers again which really made for a wonderful week. In addition to the fun stuff all the other campers got to do; teen camp also got to experience awesome activities like archery, rifle shooting, nature adventures and hiking, and helping out with the younger campers. I was a big fan of getting my Robin Hood on with the bow and arrows, as well as shooting the rifle while wearing a Batman cape.

Our campers were amazing during our cabin chats with light hearted and fun conversations as well as getting into deeper talks about why they are all at camp and their experiences at home.  One of the greatest demonstrations of just how incredible and strong these kids and teens was during the empowerment ceremony. After myself and a few other counselors shared our stories to get things started, the campers got their chance to share and the way they support each other and show so much hope, character, and maturity during unimaginable adversity is something unique about Camp Kesem that just can’t be matched anywhere else. Our campers are my heroes. Being able to connect with them through shared experience is really special for me.

Camp Kesem has been a tremendous blessing for me giving me an opportunity to use my experiences to help out kids and support the cancer community with my spectacular fellow counselors that I am happy to call my friends. No one fights cancer alone; the whole family fights. Camp Kesem helps to make that family a little bit bigger, and a little bit stronger.

Thank You!

Emil “Lime” Stavinoha

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