Camp Kesem was founded at Stanford University in 2000 by a group of students who wanted to help families coping with cancer. They chose to name the camp “Kesem,” which means “magic” in Hebrew, because they wanted to make camp a magical experience for everyone involved. Since its inception, Camp Kesem has expanded to 55 campuses across the country, serving hundreds of families who are impacted by cancer. Children who have parents with cancer often mature fast and cannot relate to kids around them. At Camp Kesem, we create a safe, loving environment in which our campers can have fun and feel comfortable sharing their feelings to people who can relate or empathize with them.
Camp Kesem was founded at MIT in 2006. We served 99 campers with 67 counselors, a marked increase from the initial camp in 2007 that had 31 total counselors and campers. This high counselor to camper ratio ensures that our campers get the attention they deserve. Our goal this past year was to increase our presence within the Boston community and serve even more families in the New England area who have been affected by cancer, and as such, we have finalized our plans to expand Camp Kesem MIT to include not just one week, but two weeks of camp. We hope to invite between 130-160 campers and 70-80 counselors to our 2014 camps and further spread the magic of Camp Kesem.
One of the features of Camp Kesem is that it is completely free for all of our campers, and as such, we aim to raise $100,000 this year. This prevents money from being an issue for our families, who are often faced with high medical bills due to cancer treatment. We raise funds through counselor personal fundraising, group events such as our Date Auction, restaurant nights, and annual Make the Magic gala. We also reach out to MIT departments/organizations and businesses in the Cambridge and Boston areas. Camp Kesem would not be possible without the generous help and support of all those involved.