Camp Kesem was created for children between the ages of 6-16 affected by a parent’s cancer. It is the only national organization that supports the unique needs of more than 3 million kids that can relate to this experience. Because they don’t appear sick, their needs are often not addressed–they suffer quietly, which can have long-lasting effects. This free overnight camp allows kids to gain strength and confidence, make friends with similar experiences, and just have fun! We work to create a peer network for these kids that has a life-long impact.
Though our main focus is on the children, Camp Kesem also changes college students in a major way. The organization is completely organized and run by a group of full-time undergraduate students. Camp allows them to gain leadership skills, enthusiasm to help others, and experience working in a non-profit organization.
Camp Kesem Rice
In the Spring of 2013, a group of Rice students helped promote Camp Kesem on campus to obtain online votes for a Livestrong Foundation grant to help us start a chapter of Camp Kesem in Houston. We were chosen for a $10,000 matching grant by Camp Kesem and the Livestrong Foundation because of the great need for Camp Kesem in the greater Houston area as well as the demonstrated passion Rice students showed for the cause. We feel that Camp Kesem is a fantastic resource that will be especially beneficial to the Greater Houston and Texas community. Houston is the the fourth-most-populated city in the US with the world’s largest medical center, so we feel that this is an essential service that will definitely benefit the community. In summer of 2014, we had our first camp at Uskichitto Retreat Center in Leblanc, Louisiana, and it was an amazing experience. Check our Facebook page for pictures of the amazing times that the campers had!
At camp, counselors are volunteer college students from Rice University who have undergone an extensive screening and training process, including CPR certification. There will also be a professional support staff composing of a Camp Advisor, Camp Nurse, and Camp Mental Health Professional. In addition to their qualifications and trainings, they are also the most fun-loving counselors a camper could ask for!
For more information, check out Camp Kesem’s official FAQ page!