Thanks for Voting in
the Kesem
Chapter Expansion Campaign

Meet our Newest Chapters

  • Auburn University

    Get to Know the Students at Auburn University

    We want more than names! Tell us about yourselves! Majors? Hometowns? Fun facts?

    Claire and Madison here and we’re excited about the opportunity to bring Camp Kesem to Auburn! Claire studies Public Relations, and is a big Dave Matthews Band fan; she has seen the band live 18 times! Madison studies Human Development and Family Studies (Child Life concentration) and loves to travel, with past mission trips to Canada and Nicaragua.

    Completing an application to start a new Camp Kesem Chapter takes a TON of work. Why is this important to you?

    After learning about Camp Kesem, we knew that we had to bring this magic to Auburn! Both of us have had a parent diagnosed with cancer or a chronic disease. As a co-survivor, it is crucial to find your own support system, so you can support your loved one during their fight; that’s exactly what Camp Kesem offers.

    So what's the best thing about going to your school?

    The campus and community are supportive and encouraging. In a sense, we’re one big family and get together to support great causes, including Camp Kesem.

    By the way, how many undergrads go to your school? (And what's the one word you would use to describe the Culture/Spirit of your school?)

    Approximately 25,000 undergraduate students attend Auburn, with a culture centered around family.

    The word "Kesem" means a lot to the thousands of campers, parents and student leaders who have come to know our mission. What does it mean to you?

    To us, the word “Kesem” means unconditional love and compassion, and a new family of best friends, mentors, and supporters. Camp Kesem is a way of letting kids just be kids while providing them with a close-knit support system made up of others who know exactly what it’s like to have a parent affected by cancer or a chronic illness.

    There's a lot of great students (including you!) who are hoping to start a new Camp Kesem chapter. We wish we could accept each and every one of you! So here's your chance to tell the public why you should start a new chapter!:

    Auburn University is about 110 miles southwest of Atlanta, 110 miles east of Birmingham, and 150 miles from the closest Camp Kesem chapter in the state of Alabama (University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa). There are many families, particularly families in these rural regions of Alabama, that we must serve and support. Auburn students are equipped and eager to make a difference, and we are honored to be considered to bring CK to the region we love!

    Chapter Location and Applicant Names

    Auburn, Alabama Claire Rose and Madison Newton

  • Denison University

    Get to Know the Students at Denison University

    We want more than names! Tell us about yourselves! Majors? Hometowns? Fun facts?

    Rachel is a Biology major and Chemistry minor from Midland, Michigan. She loves to hike, sing, and bake. She’s seen three shooting stars and a meteor shower, and the Northern Lights are next on her bucket list. Andrew is a Chemistry major and Economics minor from Eaton, Ohio. He loves photography, cooking, and snowboarding, and he’s hoping to visit every national park during his lifetime!

    Completing an application to start a new Camp Kesem Chapter takes a TON of work. Why is this important to you?

    When Professor Sue Davis passed away from cancer early in 2018, the loss touched all of us at Denison. Empathizing with her family increased our awareness of the devastating effect that a parent’s cancer has on children, and made us aware of the amazing work done through Camp Kesem. When we brought up the idea of starting a chapter to our campus, we were overwhelmed by the amount of support and enthusiasm shown by our faculty, students, and local community. Camp Kesem will be a way for us to strengthen our ties to the Licking County community and bring hope, joy, and happiness to children in our area.

    So what's the best thing about going to your school?

    Because we are a smaller university, we have a really tight-knit campus community. Our students and faculty have deep and meaningful relationships with one another, and there are always new ways to get involved and discover new passions with interesting people who share your interests and values. It’s not uncommon to go from lab to a varsity sports practice and round out the evening with an acapella rehearsal, and that diversity and energy is what makes Denison such a fun place to be!

    By the way, how many undergrads go to your school? (And what's the one word you would use to describe the Culture/Spirit of your school?)

    2,300. Community!

    The word "Kesem" means a lot to the thousands of campers, parents and student leaders who have come to know our mission. What does it mean to you?

    To us, “Kesem” means being in a place of refuge, fun, hope, laughter, and family. Kesem means being surrounded by others who not only want to know your story, but those who also want to become part of it. It means lasting friendships, joyful memories, muddy socks, belly laughs, and popsicle-stained T-shirts. Kesem means lasting, meaningful relationships with one another and our community, and it means hope for those relationships to run deeper and stronger in the years to come.

    There's a lot of great students (including you!) who are hoping to start a new Camp Kesem chapter. We wish we could accept each and every one of you! So here's your chance to tell the public why you should start a new chapter!:

    There really is nowhere else like Denison for a Camp Kesem chapter! Having fewer students creates an atmosphere where students take very active roles in learning, service, and leadership, and that culture of excellence and engagement defines everything we do as students. We are energized and prepared to become a part of carrying out the mission of Camp Kesem. Denison’s strong connections with the Granville and Licking County communities through collaboration with The Works Center, educational internships, service learning opportunities, and more gives us the knowledge and resources to provide the best possible experience for local children. The existing network of support for events like Pelotonia and Relay for Life will provide us with the ideal framework for garnering local support for our efforts. We have the students, resources, community, and passion that will make for an exceptional Camp Kesem experience for local children in need. All we need is your vote to make it a reality!!

    Chapter Location and Applicant Names

    Granville, Ohio Rachel Reardon and Andrew Ferguson

  • Miami University

    Get to Know the Students at Miami University

    We want more than names! Tell us about yourselves! Majors? Hometowns? Fun facts?

    I am currently pursuing a psychology major with a minor in criminology. I am a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity at Miami and I've lived in Mason, Ohio all my life. I love anything and everything involving art, creativity or kids.

    Completing an application to start a new Camp Kesem Chapter takes a TON of work. Why is this important to you?

    Seeing what it was like for my mother when my grandma was diagnosed with cancer was devastating and took a toll on all of us. Being able to help anyone, especially kids, in this situation is incredible, regardless of the time commitment.

    So what's the best thing about going to your school?

    The best part is definitely the sense of community. You will never find yourself in a situation where you feel like you don't belong.

    By the way, how many undergrads go to your school? (And what's the one word you would use to describe the Culture/Spirit of your school?)

    Miami's culture is revolved around inclusiveness and all 17,327 undergraduates represent it.

    The word "Kesem" means a lot to the thousands of campers, parents and student leaders who have come to know our mission. What does it mean to you?

    Kesem means togetherness. It represents a community of people trying to cope with similar hardships through positivity and reassurance they are not alone. It defines the beginning of the healing process for families and an escape for the kids who need more support.

    There's a lot of great students (including you!) who are hoping to start a new Camp Kesem chapter. We wish we could accept each and every one of you! So here's your chance to tell the public why you should start a new chapter!:

    Miami University is well known for diversity, especially when it comes to international students who's first languages are not English. This will allow for us to accommodate children from all backgrounds because we won't have to worry about potential language barriers. Everyone can have a camp counselor to talk to! Secondly, having another camp in Ohio would be helpful for families who are unable to travel as far for support :)

    Chapter Location and Applicant Names

    Oxford, Ohio Devin Bussell

  • Mississippi State University

    Get to Know the Students at Mississippi State University

    We want more than names! Tell us about yourselves! Majors? Hometowns? Fun facts?

    Justin: My major is Interdisciplinary Studies. I am from Paducah, Kentucky. I am a non-traditional student. I served in the army prior to coming to school at MSU and am married with small children. I love hiking, camping, and fishing as well as baseball and working on cars. Madelyn: I’m a freshman psychology major from Savannah, Tennessee. I have been a camper at Kesem for four years, and I also have the word “Kesem” tattooed on my arm! I love to do anything outdoorsy, except for going in the ocean because I’m TERRIFIED of all fish!

    Completing an application to start a new Camp Kesem Chapter takes a TON of work. Why is this important to you?

    Justin: My family and I have dealt with cancer so many times and it is devastating to watch someone that you care about suffer through the treatment. When I was five my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer and survived, but it was very difficult. Since then, I have lost an aunt to cancer, my mother and two grandfathers were diagnosed and are in remission, and an uncle and great uncle are currently undergoing treatment. Madelyn: Kesem has given so much to my family and I for eight years. I want to be able to give back to Kesem and be able to create the same opportunity for other children going through a parent’s cancer. I personally believe that children going through this are some of the strongest kids, and they just need an opportunity to not have to be so strong and just be a kid.

    So what's the best thing about going to your school?

    Justin: The family atmosphere and cohesiveness between the campus and community. Madelyn: Having people around who are willing to help with any situation and at any time.

    By the way, how many undergrads go to your school? (And what's the one word you would use to describe the Culture/Spirit of your school?)

    22,201 undergrads Justin: Family. Madelyn: Accepting.

    The word "Kesem" means a lot to the thousands of campers, parents and student leaders who have come to know our mission. What does it mean to you?

    Justin: I looked up the meaning after finding out about Camp Kesem, it means magic in Hebrew. I believe that having a camp like this for the children of parents who have been diagnosed with cancer will be a sort of magic to them because it will give them the support and understanding of other kids who are experiencing the same uncertainties about their parents. It will become a second family for them. Madelyn: Kesem to me has been a place of understanding. When you grow up with a parent having cancer, you have a different perspective than others. It’s hard to find people to communicate with who can understand cancer the way you do. Kesem has given me a place where I can freely talk about cancer and everyone around understands. Kesem have given me a second family. A family I can always come back to, even just for a week. Kesem is magic. It has the power to take away pain and give you memories and feelings you can always look back on during the hard times.

    There's a lot of great students (including you!) who are hoping to start a new Camp Kesem chapter. We wish we could accept each and every one of you! So here's your chance to tell the public why you should start a new chapter!:

    Justin: The state of Mississippi does not have a chapter of Camp Kesem and the children of this state need one. Mississippi State University and the community of Starkville will support this chapter and bring these children into the family. From my own experiences, I know this sort of camp and program is needed. Madelyn: Mississippi does not yet have a Camp Kesem. That makes it so much harder for kids in Mississippi to be able to have this support system, because of either the lack of information or the distances they would have to travel. Creating a chapter at Mississippi State would open up so many opportunities for more children to be able to experience the Kesem magic.

    Chapter Location and Applicant Names

    Starkville, Mississippi Justin Crenshaw and Madelyn Slaten

  • Montana State University Bozeman

    Get to Know the Students at Montana State University Bozeman

    We want more than names! Tell us about yourselves! Majors? Hometowns? Fun facts?

    Max is a freshman studying philosophy and pre-law. He is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Emma is a freshman studying cell biology neuroscience and political science. She is From Helena, Montana. They both are passionate about helping kids, and helping people impacted by cancer.

    Completing an application to start a new Camp Kesem Chapter takes a TON of work. Why is this important to you?

    This is important to us because we both have parents affected by cancer, and want to help kids in our situation. Max's mom struggled with cancer, and he attended Kesem in Minneapolis. Emma's mom passed away from cancer, and she knows a camp like this would be great in Montana.

    So what's the best thing about going to your school?

    The students are so passionate and kind, and the professors are always willing to help. Montana State really cares about giving back to the community.

    By the way, how many undergrads go to your school? (And what's the one word you would use to describe the Culture/Spirit of your school?)

    16,000. Driven and adventurous.

    The word "Kesem" means a lot to the thousands of campers, parents and student leaders who have come to know our mission. What does it mean to you?

    Kesem means an unbreakable amazing bond shared by so many, forged through such a terrible thing. Kesem means support from your new Kesem family. Most of all Kesem means infinity. An infinite bond and an infinite support, not just during the camp, but through and beyond both the camp and the parent's cancer.

    There's a lot of great students (including you!) who are hoping to start a new Camp Kesem chapter. We wish we could accept each and every one of you! So here's your chance to tell the public why you should start a new chapter!:

    Montana does not have the support for children who have been affected by a parent's cancer that many other states do. There is no Camp Kesem in the whole state, and very little in terms of cancer support otherwise. We want to reach across the whole state and help each of the 100's of kids who feel alone and disconnected because of their experience. We want every child eligible, to have the magic of Kesem in their life.

    Chapter Location and Applicant Names

    Bozeman, Montana Maxwell Rabidue and Emma Sihler

Expanding to Serve More Children Impacted By a Parent's Cancer

Kesem is expanding in order to serve more of the 5+ million children impacted by a parent’s cancer nationwide and we need your help selecting our new chapters!

  • Get to know all of our finalists!
  • Promote them on social media!
  • Vote for your favorites here every day from January 28 - February 1!
  • Cheer our winning chapters on February 6!
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Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent's cancer. We are the largest national organization dedicated to supporting children impacted by a parent's cancer, at no cost to families, through innovative and fun-filled programs that provide children with peers who understand their unique needs, and create long-lasting impact. Our flagship program, Camp Kesem, provided free summer camping experiences to nearly 9,000 children in 2018. Through the efforts of 5,000+ college student leaders at 116 chapters at top colleges across the country, we hope to serve over 10,000 children in 2019.

A child's friend through and beyond
a parent's cancer.®