I am a fundraiser for
Camp Kesem University of Georgia
Who could have ever imagined that one camp in the mountains of Georgia could hold so much power? For those that I shared my week with, campers and counselors alike, this camp embraced our hopes, wishes and desires as well as our worries and fears. It was a safe haven; a place to escape from our troubles and to just be kids. This camp had the power to turn boys into knights, girls into princesses and caretakers into kids. This camp was Camp Kesem.
I first heard about Camp Kesem through two of our counselors, Goose and Taco. I was told about all of the wonderfully silly and fantastic times at camp, but I didn’t fully comprehend the effect that Camp Kesem had on its campers and counselors until I was fully immersed in camp life. From “riding the pony”, to being covered in the odd combination of paint, shaving cream, Cheetos and chocolate syrup, to having in-depth talks during cabin chats; Camp Kesem reawakened personal attributes I had otherwise assumed were in hiding, and introduced me to aspects of my personality that I never knew existed.
I truly understood the wonder that is Camp Kesem during the Empowerment Ceremony when the children talked about cancer with remarkable levels of understanding and maturity. I had the honor of watching kids who were strangers three days ago comfort one another like old friends; such as a six year old camper comforting a counselor, and a nine year old girl comforting me. All of a sudden, something within me clicked- a feeling reminiscent of the transformation scene in “Shrek” (I know y’all know what I’m talking about). I was growing mentally and emotionally, and indeed transforming from an unaware college student to a more responsible, compassionate, and loving person solely due to the admirable dispositions of the Camp Kesem campers. The campers had the ability to put all of their personal worries aside, and actively consoled each other without batting an eyelash. After witnessing this, I knew that Camp Kesem wasn’t just a camp, but a family. This family consisted of a sock lover, and a girl who hated the thought of them; brothers who competed with one another, but supported each other no matter what; girls who bonded over their love of British accents and the infamous “cup song”; a boy with a passion for bacon, and another who just really wanted to take a nap; a girl who came out of her shell during a Grammy-winning rendition of “Girl on Fire,” and counselors who will stay forever connected through a piece of green string and a web of compliments. All of these diverse people are eternally bound together because of the love, passion, and magic that is Camp Kesem.
May Camp Kesemalot forever be in our hearts, and may you always be “LIKE A BANANAAAAAA.”