FAQs

FAQS

Any Questions? Read below:

WHO WE ARE

What is Camp Kesem?
Camp Kesem is a network of college student run summer camps and social circles for kids with a parent who has (or has had) cancer.  The one-week sleep away camps are a chance for kids ages 6-16 to have a fun- and activity-filled week and just be kids.  Everything we do at Camp Kesem focuses on our goal of giving campers the most fun week possible, while providing the extra support and attention that they need. Campers participate in a range of activities including arts and crafts, swimming, nature hikes, field sports, and various other night time activites. Learn more about our program by clicking here.

Is there more than one Camp Kesem?
Camp Kesem has 53 chapters around the United States. Each chapter is run by college students at a university with a Camp Kesem chapter.

What does Kesem mean?
Kesem means “magic” in Hebrew. The founders of Camp Kesem chose this word because their goal was to bring magic to families coping with cancer. (The Camp however, is secular and open to student volunteers and campers of all backgrounds.)

 10561727_557399394365044_1502786809181200075_n

WHO CAN ATTEND CAMP KESEM

Who can attend Camp Kesem?
Any child, age 6-16, whose parent is currently battling cancer, in remission from cancer, or has passed away from cancer.

Can siblings and grandchildren of cancer patients attend Camp Kesem?
There are over 3 million children affected by a parent’s cancer. Camp Kesem must stay true to its mission to support those 3 million children affected solely by a parent’s cancer. For a list of camps for children affected by a sibling cancer, please visit this resource.

Is Camp Kesem a camp for children who have cancer?
No, Camp Kesem is a camp for children who have been affected by a parent’s cancer. For a list of camps for children, and siblings of children with cancer, visit this resource.

Can children attend camp if their parent had an illness or disease that is not cancer?
Camp Kesem must stay true to its mission to support the over 3 million children affected by a parent’s cancer. For children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver, visit Comfort Zone.

Can children with disabilities attend camp?
Children with special circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis. Camp Kesem makes reasonable accommodations for campers with disabilities and medical conditions. If such accommodations are not available, or Camp Kesem cannot ensure the child’s or other campers’ safety, then Camp Kesem is unable to accept the camper.

 10599672_556527801118870_7843124842167758506_n

MORE ABOUT CAMP KESEM

How long are the camps?
Our camps range from 4-7 days depending on the chapter.

Is it an overnight camp?
Yes!

Can special accommodations be made for children that do not want to spend the night at camp?
No, Camp Kesem is only available as an overnight program.

Do families pay to send their children to Camp Kesem?
No. Due to the financial burden placed on families coping with cancer, Camp Kesem camp programs are offered entirely free of charge. If you wish to make a donation, you can click here!

How is Camp Kesem funded?
Camp Kesem is totally free to families and is funded by staff and student volunteers fundraising all year long.

Is there a place to purchase Camp Kesem gear?
Yes! We have t-shirts, bags, hats, and more available on our website.

  10403322_557404891031161_522564315626348509_n

AT CAMP:

Does Camp Kesem provide therapy for campers? What does the Camp Mental Health Professional do?
There is a Camp Mental Health Professional on staff at every camp to coach counselors and help counselors work with campers in especially challenging situations or emergencies. The Camp Mental Health Professional is involved in counselor training, and is mainly at camp to serve as an advisor to counselors. The Camp Mental Health Professional does NOT practice one-on-one therapy with campers.

Can campers bring a cell phone to camp?
No, campers cannot bring a cell phone to camp.  We do not want campers using a phone at camp to call friends and/or family.  We find that calling home can not only be distracting but can actually cause homesickness.

What do campers do at Camp Kesem?
Please visit the blog section of our website to see our activities from Camp 2014!

What makes Camp Kesem different from other camps?
We realize that children of cancer patients have additional needs- and we address them by giving them extra attention and support.  Camp Kesem has a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio to ensure that campers receive extra attention.  These counselors ensure that camp is a safe, supportive, high-energy, and fun place for every camper.  Also, our counselors facilitate “cabin chats” each night.

Will someone be at camp to issue my child’s medication?
Yes, a Camp Nurse will be on site at all times to issue medication, and care for any injuries or sickness.

What is a “Cabin Chat”?
“Cabin Chats” give everyone in the cabin the chance to speak in a comfortable atmosphere about anything on their mind- from thoughts on their day at camp to their experiences at home- their favorite color to their favorite vacation.  Everyone is encouraged to participate.

Besides the college student counselors, are there other adults at camp?
The Camp Advisor, Camp Nurse, and Camp Mental Health Professional, and much of the program staff are college-graduates over 21 years old.  Additionally, all of the camp counselors are older than 18 years old and undergo a thorough application and screening process to become counselors.  Camp Advisors are college graduates who are specially trained and selected by Camp Kesem’s National staff.  To be selected to be a Camp Advisor, one must have significant Camp Kesem experience and have excelled while a leader of a Camp Kesem program.  Also, most campsites that Camp Kesem operates at have professional camp staff to support the Camp Kesem leadership team.

 Counselors

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

How do I become a Camp Kesem counselor?
Our counselors are Stony Brook University undergraduate students who work hard all year long planning and fundraising to make a week of magic happen. Being a counselor is a well-deserved reward for a year’s worth of hard work. If you attend Stony Brook University, and would like to get involved, please visit our Get Involved page.

How do I start a Camp Kesem chapter at my university?
Visit the national webpage for more details on starting a chapter – see their Get Involved page.

Where do the camps take place?
Each Camp Kesem college chapter chooses where they wish to hold their camp program. Chapters rent an off-site camp facility for the week of camp.  Campsites that we rent are ACA accredited, and are often YMCA, Girl Scout, or other professional camping venues. Please continue to check back on our main page for an announcement for Camp 2015!

What impact does the camp have on the children served?
Based on post-camp surveys parents report a marked increase in their child’s confidence, network of support, self-esteem and coping tools. Please see Camp Kesem National’s Rave Reviews page to read direct quotes from our campers, parents and student leaders.