ND History


Camp Kesem (magic in Hebrew) began in the year 2000 through the initiative of students from Stanford University. These students working in correlation with Hillel, a Jewish group on their campus, determined that there was a great need in their community for children whose parent’s have been affected by cancer.

Planning for Camp Kesem at Notre Dame began in the spring of 2002. Students at Notre Dame were encouraged by the success of the original Camp Kesem and hoped that their effort would produce an amazing camp atmosphere for all of the children that would attend their summer camp in Indiana.

The first week of Camp Kesem at Notre Dame was held the week of August 10th of 2003. Sufficient funds were raised, and 23 children attended the week of camp. In 2004 Camp Kesem expanded to include 36 children and was held at Camp Crosley, a YMCA camp in North Webster, IN. Over 90% of our campers from the inaugural session returned, as well as several new children.

In 2005 Camp Kesem again expanded, this time to 47 campers, and was held at Camp Manitou-Lin, a YMCA camp in Michigan.  We returned to Camp Manitou-Lin the following year and then moved to Camp Allendale in 2007, located near Indianapolis.  Additionally, we held our first CK Teen weekend during the summer of 2006.  It was a great success and we are working hard to ensure that it continues each summer.

We are currently planning Camp Kesem and CK Teen for the summer of 2015. More information can be found in the Camper Info webpage.  Families are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to reserve space for this summer.