About us

What is Camp Kesem?

Camp Kesem is a national non-profit that recognizes and embraces children affected by a parent or guardian’s cancer. Camp Kesem provides children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs. It empowers college students to make a difference and build invaluable leadership skills by developing and managing every aspect of their Camp Kesem chapter.

Camp Kesem at University of Richmond was founded in 2009, hosting 25 campers during our first camp session. We have grown each year since and hosted 66 campers in August 2014. Students at the University of Richmond work throughout the year to fundraise money to host camp, plan all camp activities, recruit and train counselors, and recruit campers to attend. We then serve as the camp counselors during the week of camp. Throughout the year, we host reunions for our campers as well and stay in contact with families.

What does “Kesem” mean?

Kesem is the Hebrew word for “magic”. However, CK is a fully secular organization. Since its inception, Camp Kesem has been open to student leaders and campers of any religion, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background and hosts children with disabilities.

Kesem (n.): magic; the ability to change a life; an agent of growth; the unique power that transforms kids into Camp Kesem Campers.

Who can attend Camp Kesem UR?

Any child aged 6-17 who has a parent or primary caregiver who has or currently has cancer can apply to attend camp. We serve children from all backgrounds regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic standing, or religion. We also host children with disabilities. Our campers live primarily in the Greater Richmond and central Virginia area, but families from other areas are welcome to apply!

When is Camp Kesem UR?

The dates for the summer of 2015 are being solidified at the moment. Check back soon for an update!

Where is Camp Kesem UR?

Our camp is hosted at Westview on the James, an ACA-accredited site in Goochland, VA. For more information about this cmapground, visit their website: www.westviewonthejames.org

What do campers do at Camp Kesem UR?

Our 2014 camp schedules centered on four program areas: arts and crafts, sports, adventure and nature, and talent. Following rotations through these program areas in the mornings, we pass our afternoons swimming in the pool, using the water trampoline and zip-line at Westview’s lake, participating in a scavenger hunt and other unique activities. In the evenings, we host all-camp activities, including a talent show and a carnival.

Do teens do anything special?

Camp Kesem UR includes the teens (ages 14-17) in some of the same activities as the younger campers, but also do many of their own unique activities. The teens also go on an overnight camping trip and partake in some other teen-specific activities such as the high/low ropes course. Teens also participate in a community service project. Campers aged 17 participate in our CIT (counselor-in-training) program where they get to learn about the skills needed to be a counselor and take on smaller leadership roles with the younger campers.

Who runs Camp Kesem UR?

Camp Kesem UR is run primarily by University of Richmond students (and recent graduates). A Program Director from Camp Kesem National oversees our chapter and assists students throughout the year. In addition to students and a PD, the camp staff includes a camp nurse, mental health professional, and Camp Advisor from Camp Kesem National. Westview staff also assist with camp activities, as necessary.

Please direct other questions to our email address: Richmond@CampKesem.Org