Camp Kesem is a free, week-long overnight summer camp for children ages 6-16 who have or have had a parent with cancer. Camp Kesem is organized by the Florida State University student volunteers under the guidance of its Advisory Committee of local professionals with related expertise. Florida State students serve as counselors and work year-long to plan and fundraise for the week, as well as undergo over twenty hours of extensive training prior to camp.
Campers participate in a host of fun activities including sports, drama, arts & crafts, adventure, scavenger hunts, and talent shows. In addition, each night before bed, the campers have “Cabin Chat,” a time for the campers to talk and open up to their peers and counselors.
“It gives both my child and myself a week to spread our wings separate from each other. He’s exactly where he wants to be, surrounded by kids in similar situations and the warmth and support of the counselors,” says a parent of camper, age 12.
Children who have a parent who has or had cancer often lack sufficient external support because they are neither physically ill nor visibly distinct from others. The complexity of emotions they experience can easily go without attention. It is often challenging for these children to find peers with whom they can relate, resulting in feelings of isolation and fear and putting the children at risk for depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders.
Kesem advisor for Camp Kesem-Stanford, Dr. Michael Amylon, pediatric oncologist at Stanford Hospital emphasizes the importance of an experience like Kesem. “These kids have their world knocked right out from under them, and often they have no where to turn to get help and support. CampKesem provides a magical place of respite and play, and a group of other kids in the same situation who understand what it’s all about and can offer unique and important peer understanding and friendship.”
Camp Kesem was founded three years ago at the Florida State University. It has since grown 100% between our first and second summer. We were recognized by the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper as a finalist for volunteer of the year award and are constantly looking for more campers to attend our camp. The Florida State’s camp will welcome 40 kids to this year’s session and will be held in early August.
850-778-1125 | FSU.Outreach@campkesem.org
Online camper applications open on January 1st. Please e-mail us with questions.