Camp Kesem – a Worthy Cause

Tonight we had the chance to participate in a fundraiser gala for Camp Kesem.

Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. Kesem’s flagship program, Camp Kesem, operates free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. Founded at Stanford University in 2000, Camp Kesem has since expanded to 116 chapters in 42 states across the country.

In 2014, Camp Kesem served nearly 4,000 children affected by a parent’s cancer and empowered more than 2,000 student leaders from across the country. Since 2000, Camp Kesem has shared its “magic” with over 11,300 children and provided unparalleled leadership opportunities for nearly 7,000 student leaders.

An average day at Camp Kesem consists of waking up and using the restroom facilities for hygiene needs, then going to breakfast. Each day is different, but most days have a trip to the swimming pool and a midday rest time. On one specific day, the campers share their stories about their parent’s cancer. There is a “closing circle” activity where songs are sung, and some nights, the campers can socialize.

Tonight’s event was hosted by Temple University, which runs a week-long Camp Kesem in the Pocono Mountains of PA.

The evening featured an emotional speech by one the of the camp counselors, a Temple student, who related how life-changing the week-long camp had been for him, and how he is now motivated to continue to be part of the community. There was also a wonderful talk by one of the parents whose children attended the camp last summer. The children told their dad that Camp Kesem was their best week of the year.

I hope the event was a successful fundraiser for such a good cause.

I’ve attended a few fundraisers over the years, and I like the way that the “auction” was handled.

A list of items that one could choose to support was displayed on the screen, such as sponsor one child for a week at camp for $250 or sponsor arts and crafts for five kids for $50. The auctioneers started at the top of the list with the most expensive item (sponsoring one child for a week) and had people raise their paddle if they wanted to support that item. It was a nice alternative to getting in a bidding war, which I have seen at these fundraising events.

I’m not sure which approach is more successful, but this seemed more efficient, and I hope, more successful financially.

So congratulations to the students at Temple University for all of your work in putting tonight’s event together, and for all the work you do towards making Camp Kesem such a memorable event for the campers, and for each other.

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