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Welcome to the Camp Kesem – Yale University homepage!


Camp Kesem Story

Camp Kesem Yale is an organization run by Yale Undergraduate Students. Camp Kesem is a free, week-long, student-run summer camp for children who have or have had a parent with cancer. It provides an opportunity for campers to build self-esteem and gain support from peers facing similar challenges.  Originally founded by students at Stanford University in 2000, the Yale chapter was founded in 2013 by two wonderful Yale students named Amanda Murray and Danna Moustafa.

Children who have or had a parent with cancer are neither physically ill nor visibly distinct from other children. As a result, their situation at home is often unknown to peers and teachers and their emotional needs often go unnoticed.

In addition, it is challenging for these children to find peers with whom they can relate, and they are often left feeling completely alone when coping with the fear, anger, guilt, and sadness associated with having a parent who has cancer or has died from cancer.

Aside from providing campers with a magical and care-free week of traditional summer camp fun, children are empowered with the tools to express their emotions through camp activities, such as arts and crafts, drama, and cabin chat. These tools, and the friendships gained provide support for these children well beyond the week of camp.

Camp Kesem Magic Comes to Yale

This is Camp Kesem Yale University’s second year and we are all very excited for camp this summer! The camp will take place August 18-23, 2015 at Camp Laurelwood in Madison, CT.

Our camp activities will include sports, arts and crafts, and drama to give campers a fun-filled week. Campers also participate in “cabin chats” with fellow campers and counselors, giving children the chance to share their experiences coping with a parent’s cancer with each other. There are plenty of laughs and lots of emotional support, although no formal therapy is offered/permitted. The tremendous fun and peer-support campers experience is what makes Camp Kesem a transformative, magical week for campers and counselors alike.

Our Purpose

– To build a supportive community for  families in the Connecticut community coping with cancer by creating the week of Camp Kesem and by hosting camp reunions.

– To empower students to participate in community service by providing leadership positions, organizational roles, and opportunities to work directly or indirectly with children who have/had a parent with cancer.