|Camp Kesem is a FREE college student run summer camp that serves the special needs of children with a parent who has (or has had) cancer. Our one-week sleep away camps provide the unique opportunity for kids ages 6-16 to develop friendships with peers facing similar challenges, in a safe place, away from the stress and fear cancer has brought into their lives. At Camp Kesem, everything we do is focused on our goal of giving campers a fun-filled week while providing the extra support
and attention that they need.Camp Kesem is a growing national 501(c)3 non-profit organization created by the efforts of volunteer college student leaders who work throughout the year to fund, manage, and run every aspect of their camp.With over ten years of success and growth, Camp Kesem is now on 41 college campuses in 23 states across the US. Camp Kesem UC Davis is the only chapter serving families in the great Sacramento and Davis region.Our mission is two-fold:
- To provide kids whose parents have or have had cancer with a summer camp experience that gives them a chance to be kids
- To allow college students to channel their passion for making a difference, while developing critical leadership skills for long term social impact
There are over 1.7 million cancer cases a year in the United States that affect individuals and their families. While the support is there for adults, the special emotional needs of the children of adult cancer patients are often overlooked. Simply put: Kids are often left to deal with these personal tragedies on their own; and if parents themselves are struggling with illness, their sons and daughters frequently miss the simple joys of childhood. Children suffer from isolation, fear, and depression, which negatively impact their academic and social success for years to come.
Stories From The Local Community
Camp Kesem UC Davis is a magical experience that has touched the lives of many children in the Davis region. The Hebrew word kesem, means magic, which perfectly describes what our organization is all about. Maddie Merwin knew from the age of two what it means when someone in the family is ill. Maddie’s older brother had a severe disability and for ten years, Maddie saw her brother struggle to thrive and learn, saw her family battle for his treatments and saw her own courage grow. When her brother was bullied at school, Maddie was there for him, standing up to bullies twice her size. When Maddie’s mom was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, Maddie wanted to be brave again, but this time, Maddie needed someone to be there for her. At the first Cabin Chat at Camp Kesem, Maddie let her counselors and fellow campers stand with her and give her the support she needed to talk and laugh and cry in the face of another illness in her family. The Hebrew word kesem means magic, and that’s what Camp Kesem is for Maddie – a magic place where she doesn’t have to be brave, she can just be a kid.
Camp Kesem provides an essential need in the greater Sacramento and Davis region. At Camp Kesem we create a support system where children have the opportunity to make friends with peers facing similar challenges. Children gain a feeling of independence, build confidence and after a fun-filled week they become part of the magical spirit of camp that leaves campers waiting impatiently for next year’s camp. Children leave camp with a support network that gives them strength to deal with their parent’s illness or untimely death from cancer – truly a gift that lasts far beyond their week at camp. Camp Kesem is free for our families, as many tell us they would not have been able to afford camp due to the additional financial burden of cancer treatment.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A SPONSOR FOR CAMP KESEM UC DAVIS?
Contact our Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org!