A week of fun for kids affected by cancer

Spots are still available at Camp Kesem University of Richmond and Camp Kesem VCU, overnight camps for kids who have or had a parent with cancer.

Update #1 — March 20, 2014; 7:20 AM

Virginia Commonwealth University’s inaugural Camp Kesem will take place August 11th through 15th at Camp Horizons in Harrisonburg. There are currently 30 spots available, and campers are encouraged to apply before April 30th. Once the application is submitted, potential campers will find out if they’ve been accepted within two weeks. Should they end up on the wait list, Camp Kesem will work with other affiliated camps in Virginia to find those kids a spot. For more information, visit campkesem.org/vcu.

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Original — February 20, 2014

Real talk: cancer sucks. It sucks a lot–for everyone involved.

With 1.7 million cases of cancer in the United States every year, that leaves approximately three million kids affected by a parent’s cancer. In addition to experiencing complex emotions as they watch their parents undergo treatment, these kids can also find it challenging to find friends who really understand where they’re coming from.

That’s where Camp Kesem comes in.

Camp Kesem is a college student-run, free1 overnight camp for kids ages 6 to 16 who have or had a parent with cancer. During their weeklong stay, campers get to try out sports, drama, music, arts & crafts, team building, scavenger hunts, talent shows–all the typical summer camp traditions. In addition, each night before bed, the kids take part in a Cabin Chat, a time when they can open up and talk to their counselors and roommates.

The Camp Kesem model was founded in 2000 at Stanford University. Since then it has become a national organization with over 50 camps across the country. The University of Richmond Camp Kesem program is organized and run by student volunteers under the guidance of an advisory board of local professionals and Camp Kesem National. These students serve as counselors the week of camp, but they also work year-long to plan, fundraise, and undergo training so they know how to best care for their campers.

Camp Kesem University of Richmond will be held at Westview on the James from Saturday, August 16th to Thursday, August 21st. There are currently about 40 spots left.

For more information on Camp Kesem University of Richmond–and for details on how to register a camper and/or make a donation–visit campkesem.org/richmond.

Photo by: vastateparksstaff

  1. Free! F-R-E-E, free! 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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