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Empowerment Ceremony Wrap Up

Greetings Kesem Families! If you’ve been following our blog, you know that last night was our first ever Empowerment Ceremony where counselors and campers alike shared their experiences with cancer in hopes of lessening the burden of their emotions and realizing that other people around them have the same feelings. This was a serious event, and though our campers are young in age, all took the event as such. This Empowerment Ceremony opened with several Camp Kesem Augustana counselors sharing their stories: one whose parent passed away from cancer, one whose parent is currently in remission, and one who himself has had cancer. After that, the floor was opened for campers to talk if they wished after they were advised that this was a safe space for them to talk. Though this was our first year and we had little to compare our ceremony to, we have to say that, despite the rain that forced us indoors halfway through, it was a huge success. Campers shared their stories, getting emotional at some points, but they opened up quickly and warmed up to the supportive atmosphere of Camp Kesem. After the Empowerment Ceremony, campers were asked to draw and write about what they were thinking in order to reflect. These reflections were then shared in their units and campers and counselors talked through the emotions and situations that come along with a parent having cancer. Many of the campers mentioned that this was a great experience because they realized they were not alone and were able to connect with people they wouldn’t have met outside of Camp Kesem. In order to change the mood before bedtime, several exciting rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors Entourage were played with campers cheering on one another throughout. Though both campers and counselors became emotional throughout the ceremony, the relief afterwards was nearly tangible. Campers opened up in ways we never thought possible and shared their stories after only knowing us for a few days. The bonds campers created last night will be hard to break and we hope campers stay in touch after camp and that they think about reapplying for Camp Kesem next year if they are still eligible. We will keep you posted about when you can apply for next year’s camp once we have the new application in hand at the start of the upcoming school year. Thank you for allowing your children to attend Camp Kesem and we sincerely hope that we’ve impacted their lives as much as they have ours. If you have any questions about the Empowerment Ceremony and the activities that followed, please feel free to bring them up with the counselors at pick up. They will be more than happy to share more details about this experience with you.


Your Programming and Camper Care Coordinators,

CoCo and Sparrow