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University of Texas – Austin

Important Dates

Please use the "Contact Us" button above for questions on dates, times, or event details.

Camp Sessions

2019 Dates: TBD




Friends + Family Days

Fall Friends + Family Day

2019 Dates: TBD




Spring Friends + Family Day

Date, Time, and Location TBD


Make the Magic

2019 Dates: TBD




Meet the Team

Brodi “Sharkbait” Amos is a biology major who knows how to play 8 different instruments! In his free time, he loves playing in jazz bands and singing/songwriting.
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
My favorite part of camp is definitely empowerment! It’s what makes CK so special and unique from any other camp out there. Seeing the love and support that these kids show for one another during empowerment is the most awe-inspiring thing I’ve ever witnessed


Dionna “Dino” Arimes is a neuroscience major who has a birthmark on her left arm that is shaped like Africa or a chicken nugget,Besides Kesem, she loves sleeping, eating, watching Game of Thrones, and playing with dogs. What is your favorite part of Kesem? “The fact that even though we were all brought together by such a horrible disease, we have been able to turn it into something truly beautiful. I love that Kesem is more than just a week-long summer camp for our campers and counselors.”


James “Chopsticks” Choi is a biomedical engineering major, who lived in two other countries before moving to the U.S.! In his free time, love sleeping, eating, and browsing the Dog spotting group on Facebook. What is your favorite part of Kesem?
”The people. The people in Kesem, from the counselors to the campers to the parents, are the most heartwarming and incredible group of people I’ve yet to meet. They are incredibly caring and never hesitate to put themselves in front of others.”
Taylor “Taco” Myers is a biochemistry major who used to dress up in a giant wolf costume for a living!! In her free time, she loves watching anything related to the Bachelor franchise.
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
”Witnessing the strength, compassion, and humor of our kiddos! They have taught me how to be a better person and I strive to be more like them everyday.”


Hunter “Gumbo” Carline is a management information systems major who helps his family catch crawfish out of the three family crawfish ponds for boils – very #Louisiana of him. In his free time, he plays music (guitar, drums and bass), goes to concerts, watches sports (go Horns!), and cooks!!
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
“My favorite thing about Kesem is that it’s a family – we’re there for each other no matter what, through thick and thin!
Tala “Poptart” Abu-Shami is a biology major who has lived in four different states and has moved 11 times!! In her free time, she loves petting all the cute puppers kayaking.
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
“Everyone involved in Kesem, both campers and counselors, are so genuine and down-to-earth. We all have different stories and varying reasons to Kesem, but we all share one goal–to give those kiddos an unforgettable week– and I think that’s incredible.”


Natalie “Rufus” McGinnis is a biochemistry major, who, at the age of 8, broke her big toe by tripping over it. In her free time, she loves to take her dog to the dog park.
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
”My favorite thing about Kesem is that I always feel like I am with family when I am with Kesem people. I get to be my goofy, weird, silly self while singing odd camp songs with a bunch of other people who are doing just the same thing.”
Hannah “Flip Flop” Evans is a youth and communities major who embarked on a 52 Hike challenge where she hiked once every week for a year! She has finished 34 hikes and has 18 more to go. She loves hiking, finding new swimming holes and petting all the dogs!!
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
“My favorite part about Kesem is that it gives our campers a place to worry less and smile more. Kesem is more than a camp–it’s a community.”


Kiri “Backpack” Chung is a mechanical engineering major who can fold an origami paper crane with her feet . In her free time, she loves camping and hiking with her dog! What is your favorite part of Kesem?“ Kesem brings out the best in everyone involved, and the experience changes your life for the better. Kesem creates something wonderful from something awful, and it gives you hope. Kesem is more than a camp or a community: it’s a family, there for you when you need it most.”
Kimmy “Ace” Wong is a business honors and master in professional accounting major. She loves watching Fixer Upper, bullet journaling, working out, looking at cute pictures of golden doodles.
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
“It’s hard to just pick one thing, but my absolute favorite thing about Kesem are the people, especially the kiddos. Kesemers are just incredible, and they are the most compassionate, strong-minded, and kind-hearted individuals that you’ll ever meet.”


Bridget “Pickles” Williams is a biology major who studied abroad in Italy this past summer. She loves random dance parties with her roommates, and hanging out with some cute doggies at Zilker.
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
“My favorite thing about Kesem is the encouragement, support, and praise you receive for being completely yourself. It truly shows when you see the smiles that surround you when you’re at camp or you see a camper at a reunion for the first time in awhile.
Nikita “Minnie” Ghosh is a public health major who has danced for most of her life and is currently on a competitive Bollywood fusion dance team! In her free time, she enjoys exploring Austin and finding new restaurants to try out with my friends! Her favorites are Trudy’s and Snooze AM Eatery (oooh).
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
”I love the strength and support Kesem continuously provides for the kids, their families and counselors all year long. ”


Christopher “Clifford” Sebesta is a public relations major who grew up as neighbors to the founders of the band The Oh Hellos. In his free time, he loves playing any backyard sport with a group of friends.
What is your favorite camp memory?
“My first night hike with the older units. That same night we did empowerment, had our dance party, lit lanterns and sent them floating into the night sky, and ended the night watching a meteor shower as we did the night hike and activities.”


Arya “Bam-Bam” Behroon is a corporate communication major. In his free time, he loves petting all the dogs!
What is your favorite part of Kesem?
“All of the love and friendship that we all have for each other. Camp Kesem is truly a special organization that helps children that are often looked over. Whether it’s a counselor to counselor, counselor to camper, or camper to camper connection, the true acceptance and compassion are all at over-filling levels.”

Our Supporters

In addition to the year-round support, services, and training we receive from Kesem National,
we are grateful to those who provide support to our local Camp Kesem chapter including:

Our Advisory Board who provides ongoing guidance to our chapter’s leadership team.

Our corporate and foundation donors who provide critical resources to help fund the services we deliver locally.

The many retail and service providers who offer in-kind support for our summer camp as well as many or our year-round services.

Countless individuals – including our families and friends who honor our commitment to Camp Kesem with their financial support and unwavering encouragement.

The original funding to launch Camp Kesem at University of Texas - Austin was generously provided by the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project.

Nationwide Community

How Kesem National Supports This Chapter

Kesem’s national staff of over 30 professionals is involved in all aspects of establishing and supporting each of our 100+ chapters nationwide as well as the training and oversight of all college student leaders. Our leadership program has been developed over the last 17 years and, while both rigorous and demanding, is focused on providing the highest level of support, service and safety for the children who participate in our programs.

The Kesem Program Director for this chapter (see below) is involved in all aspects of camp and our additional services. While your local student leaders are your primary contact for questions, you are also welcome and encouraged to contact their Program Director with other specific questions.

Meet This Chapter's Program Director

Kirsten Olivarez, Regional Program Director – kirsten.olivarez@kesem.org

Kirsten first got involved with Camp Kesem during her undergraduate career at Northern Arizona University as a Marketing/PR Coordinator for two years. After she graduated, she went to Arizona State University for her Masters in Social Work and worked within the behavioral health/criminal justice system. Her passion to work with families impacted by cancer never faded and she was thrilled to return to the Camp Kesem team as a Regional Program Director in 2018.

Through and Beyond Support Services

Kesem Through and Beyond Support

Our free year-round services provide children impacted by a parent's cancer a continuum of touchpoints throughout the year.

Kesem Connections

Provides Kesem families with regular updates including important deadlines and events.

Camp Kesem

Kesem's flagship program operates over 100 free summer camps in 40 states for children ages 6 to 18 who have been impacted by a parent's cancer.

Kesem By Your Side

Provides customized support for children through the many challenges associated with a parent or guardian's cancer journey.

Warm Welcome

Kesem's care package program that immediately includes all families into our greater community in a personal, supportive manner.

Special Deliveries

Provides all children with personalized greetings–delivered by either traditional or electronic mail.

Friends + Family Day

Regular gatherings for existing and interested camper families, alumni, supporters and Kesem student leaders for a day of community building.

Online Resources

Provides online access to topical resources–including publications, books, organizations and resources.