Camp Kesem Stony Brook (CKSB) is a college-student-run, free summer camp for kids ages 6 to 16 that have been affected by a parent or guardian’s cancer diagnosis. Last year Camp Kesem SB won a $10,000 Livestrong grant to start the program. Now CKSB is looking for campers to attend its weeklong sleep-away camp, which will be held August 10 through August 15 at Camp Candlewood in New Fairfield, Connecticut. CKSB’s goal for the Summer 2014 camp is to have the largest group of campers for any new Camp Kesem chapter in history, 50 campers (#searchfor50).
The week of magic in August (kesem means magic in Hebrew) begins at Stony Brook University, where families will say goodbye to campers as they prepare for the bus ride to Connecticut. Everything at CKSB focuses on giving campers the most fun week possible while providing the extra support and attention that they need. Campers participate in a range of activities including arts and crafts, swimming, nature hikes, field sports, and various other nighttime activities. Each night before bedtime campers participate in “cabin chats,” where they can share stories and express their emotions with peers in similar family situations. The chats aren’t necessarily about cancer; campers are free to talk about anything they want to during these informal sessions.
“We place an emphasis on fun, rather than cancer,” said Tobin George, one of the camp co-directors. “We want the camp to be an escape from the harsh reality the kids are forced to face at home.”
Another way the camp counselors are keeping the atmosphere fun is by giving themselves nicknames. George is known as “Teddy” and his fellow co-director, Jamie Leonard, goes by the name “Bear.”
Stony Brook University undergraduates run the entire camp. These student leaders have helped fundraise every penny, planned every activity and engaged in community outreach to find families in need. Twenty-nine SBU students will serve as counselors during the week of camp.
“This effort really is about a community coming together to support families in need,” said Leonard. We can’t wait to meet our 50 campers, but we would also like to thank the community for its continued outpouring of support. We’ve partnered with local business, received multiple grants and have received incredible support from faculty and staff all over campus.”
“Even though our first session of camp wont take place until August of this year, we’re already seeing the impact Camp Kesem Stony Brook is having on the local community,” said George. “We’re the only organization on Long Island catering to the unique needs of these kids. The conversations we have with parents that are currently fighting their battle against cancer often end in tears of joy, so moved that the Stony Brook community has chosen to reach out a helping and hand and open our arms to their children for a week of fun and community building.”
The camp has a rolling registration, so click here to register your child now for Camp Kesem SB this summer.
Click here to make a donation to Camp Kesem SB.