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Counselor Blogs – Making sure kids don’t get lost in a parent’s sickness

This entry is part of a series in which each of our counselors reflects upon his or her unique experiences with Camp Kesem. Today’s entry is by Allie “Nugget” Herndon, who served as a counselor at camp this year and is currently serving on our executive board as an admin and programming coordinator. 

I have always wanted to be a camp counselor. I remember at the few camps that I went to as a child; I always thought the counselors were so cool! Last fall, when I was deciding what to do this summer, I narrowed it down to two choices: study abroad or camp counseling. I received an email about Camp Kesem and thought that this was my opportunity to do both! After a returned from South Africa, I could not wait to go to camp. I looked forward to it from the minute I recovered from my jet lag.

The thing that drew me to Camp Kesem was my own experiences with cancer. I have been lucky enough that no one in my immediate family has been directly affected, but I have watched many people I care about suffer. One in particular that resonates with me is my mother’s best friend who fought breast cancer while raising her young son. She is a single parent and was always looking for ways to keep her son a kid while she was sick. She signed him up for all kinds of day camps and activities to make sure he wasn’t lost in her sickness. As we all know, cancer treatments are expensive so money was tight and her options were limited. Camp Kesem was my opportunity to help kids and parents like the ones that I care about so much.

I have seen first hand the healing powers of Camp Kesem. The campers finally have every peer understand exactly what they are going through. They are able to talk openly about what is going on at home in a supportive environment. Camp Kesem is amazing for providing this supportive environment, but it allows kids to just be kids. At camp the only requirement of the campers is to be a kid and have fun! I love camp for alleviating some the stress felt by the campers and their families.

So much camp love,