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Camp Kesem is a free, week-long overnight summer camp experience designed for children ages 6 to 18 who are impacted by a parent’s cancer.

Happy campers at Camp Kesem

About Camp Kesem

At camp, we focus on creating fun experiences that help these children escape - even if for a short time - the challenges of coping with a parent’s cancer diagnosis.

Campers find adventure and creativity, build trust in themselves, and create new friendships. Many children say that Camp Kesem is the best week of the year, and we agree!

Apply for your child’s spot today.

About Camp Counselors and Staff

Providing a safe, fun, and empowering experience for your child is our top priority. That’s why we recruit college student leaders that care deeply about our mission to our Kesem chapters and invest significantly in leadership training and support to prepare them to be counselors at our camps across the country. 

We also bring on nurses, mental health professionals, and other experienced staff to support our counselors and campers at camp.

Read more about their qualifications and responsibilities

A Typical Day at Camp

Every day at Camp Kesem is an opportunity for campers to try something new, make great friends, and have fun!

While every Camp Kesem is different, here are some highlights from a typical day.

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Morning

Your camper wakes up early to have one of their three nutritional meals of the day. Later, your child will go with their peers in the same age group to different camp rotations. This may include traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts, sports, and swimming. Morning activities end with “Cabin Time,” a chance for your child to relax with their bunkmates, nap, do crafts, or write letters home.

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afternoon

During lunch, your child likely joins in for a fun activity like “Web of Kindness” – where any camper can share a story about someone else being kind that day. Your child will again go with their group to do an activity. They’ll also choose a free rotation to have extra time in a favorite program or try something new. They’ll end with another “Cabin Time” to rest and recharge.

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Kesem community
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evening

Your child catches up with friends and sings camp songs at dinner before joining an activity like a talent show or s’mores. Before bedtime, campers gather in their cabin for “Cabin Chat.” Cabin Chats give everyone the chance to speak in a comfortable atmosphere about anything on their mind - from thoughts on their day to experiences at home. Your child goes to sleep to get ready for another fun-filled day!

Camp Kesem campfires
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empowerment

There’s one time during the week that we set specific time aside for the entire camp to get together to acknowledge why we are here. This is a time for your child to share their stories about fears, accomplishments, hopes, and dreams. Anyone can talk if they choose to, but not everybody has to. It is a truly magical experience for everyone involved.

Kesem luminary bags for empowerment

Ready to Apply?

Complete Our Application
Kesem means the world to me and I look forward to the one week of the year I can be myself. I feel like Kesem is my 2nd home, a family, community, and truly magical."
—kesem camper
Making friendship bracelets at Camp Kesem

Are you a donor and want to see your donation in action?

We love having guests at our special “Visitors Days” across the country. Email us at support@kesem.org if you would like to visit a camp.

Camp Kesem campers served

CAMPERS SERVED OVER THE YEARS*

*Note that we've omitted 2020 and 2021 as Kesem at Home was operated in place of Camp Kesem due to the Covid-19 pandemic.