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About Us

What is Camp Kesem?

H_jXsko0Xjvkp2sA0hXBwGQE-lRur7kBDEhk-EV17oQCamp Kesem is a college student run summer camp for kids with a parent who has (or has had) cancer.  Our one-week sleep away camps are a chance for kids 6-16 to have a fun-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 they need.

How can I get involved?

For UC Davis students interested in being a camp counselor for the 2014-2015 year, applications are now closed.  We have general meetings every Sunday at 6pm in Wellman 7 if you are interested in checking out what we do or if you would like to join a committee.  Feel free to email our Volunteer Recruitment team at davis.volunteer@campkesem.org to learn more. Like us on Facebook to stay updated. You can also follow our Instagram page @ckucdavis.


Our Mission is Twofold


1)To provide children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs.

2) To empower college students to focus their passion into making a difference, while forming essential leadership skills necessary for lasting social impact.

For us, Camp Kesem is a safe place where children struggling with the pains of having a parent affected by cancer can foster friendships with peers of similar background. We try to create a fun-filled week that they may enjoy worry-free. Both campers and counselors alike learn and grow from the close bonds established at camp.

Every year we hope to touch more lives and share the magic of Kesem with new campers!

Our Camp

aBTQDToTyiL97zICDuGsRyRDyN5JsD6sAzGk2-UWM98 Camp Kesem UC Davis is a free week-long camp for children ages 6-16 whose parents have, had, or have passed away from cancer. Campers participate in a range of activities including arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, athletics, drama, and various nighttime activities. Each night before bedtime the campers participate in “cabin chats” which is an activity where they can share their stories and express their emotions with peers in similar family situations. We have also extended our age group to include teens 17-18 in our new Counselor-in-Training program to encourage them to seek out positive leadership experiences as they head towards college and beyond.

Our History

The first Camp Kesem™ project was founded at Stanford University in 2000 as a project of Hillel at Stanford, a nonprofit serving Jewish students at the University. The project was developed by a group of student leaders who sought to create a magical summer camp experience for children in need. After assessing the needs of the community, the students found that children who have/had a parent with cancer comprised an under-served population who could benefit from a summer camp experience with peers who faced similar challenges.

UC Davis Camp Kesem was founded in 2005, and has held 9 successful camps. We are expanding our camp every year; our goal for 2015 is to have two separate weeks of camp!