We have chosen Camp Kesem at University of Pennsylvania (the newest chapter) as the recipient of Mel’s Magic grant for the month of July. Envisioned, developed and organized by the students at UPenn, their first session will be held at Camp Saginaw in Oxford, PA from August 19th -24th. If you know a child between the ages of 6-13 who would benefit from this experience, please visit their website to learn how he or she can become a camper. Read on to learn more about the camps and find links to other locations across the country…
Since 2000, Camp Kesem – a college-student-run summer camp for kids whose parents have (or have had) cancer – has provided plenty of laughs and lots of emotional but non-therapeutic support. This week of sleep-away fun and friendships forged in a safe, compassionate and cancer-aware environment had its beginnings in 2000, when four Stanford University student leaders chose to change the lives of children in their northern California community.
Working with Hillel at Stanford, staff member Iris Rave helped the four student leaders set up Camp Kesem. The group chose the word Kesem, which means “magic” in Hebrew, because its goal was to bring “magic” to families coping with cancer. Since its inception, Camp Kesem has been open to student leaders and campers of any religion, race or ethnicity. Thanks to the hard work of many student leaders, Camp Kesem at Stanford hosted 37 campers at its first one-week camp in 2000.
Word quickly spread and the Stanford student leaders encouraged their friends at colleges across the country to replicate Camp Kesem in their communities. Based on the success of the Camp Kesem project at Stanford, Iris Rave also founded Camp Kesem National in August 2002 to help college students from coast to coast start similar programs. By the end of 2011, Camp Kessem had 23 chapters across the country. 3,872 college counselors created magical experiences for 6,381 children whose families have been impacted by cancer.
See this video to learn more about the amazing Camp Kesem student leaders from over 23 colleges who continue to “Make the Magic” across the country.