Who can attend Camp Kesem Stanford?
Our chapter serves children who have lost a parent to cancer, have a parent undergoing cancer treatment, or whose parent is a cancer survivor.
What age children attend camp?
Camp Kesem serves children ages 6 to 16.
Can siblings and grandchildren of cancer patients attend Camp Kesem?
There are over 5 million children affected by a parent’s cancer. Camp Kesem must stay true to its mission to support those 5 million children affected solely by a parent’s cancer. For a list of camps for children affected by a sibling cancer, please visit this resource.
Is Camp Kesem a camp for children who have cancer?
No, Camp Kesem is a camp for children who have been affected by a parent’s cancer. For a list of camps for children, and siblings of children with cancer, visit this resource.
Can children attend camp if their parent had an illness or disease that is not cancer?
With over 5 million children touched by a parent's cancer, Camp Kesem is not able to support the broader circle of children whose parent's have had other illnesses. For children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver (due to non-cancer illnesses) visit Camp Erin.
How long is camp?
Camp Kesem Stanford is a week-long summer camp in the month of June.
How much does camp cost?
Our camp (as well as all other year-round programs offered by Kesem) are completely free of charge.
Where does camp take place?
Our camp takes place at YMCA Camp Loma Mar in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. It is conveniently located one-hour from Stanford's campus.
Who runs the camp?
Our camps are staffed by highly trained college student leaders. These students are carefully screened through a competitive interview process, and undergo extensive training prior to camp. In addition, our student leaders work year-round to raise funds, conduct outreach in their communities, and plan the programming necessary to make camp a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Each camp is also staffed with nursing and mental health professionals.
Can children return to Camp Kesem Stanford more than once?
Yes! Kesem campers are part of our family for life. Our campers love the bonds they form with friends who return year after year.
Does Camp Kesem Stanford provide therapy?
No. Our student leaders provide a warm and loving environment where children are free to share their feelings with one another. Our model focuses on providing a strong peer-based support network where children can find strength, hope, compassion and fun.
Will someone be at camp to issue my child’s medication?
Yes, a Camp Nurse will be on site at all times to issue medication, and care for any injuries or sickness.
How do I apply?
Please refer to our application page for more information.
Is Camp Kesem Stanford a faith-based camp?
No, Camp Kesem is a secular camp and is open to student volunteers and campers of all backgrounds.
Can children with disabilities attend camp?
Children with special circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis. Camp Kesem makes reasonable accommodations for campers with disabilities and medical conditions. If such accommodations are not available, or Camp Kesem cannot ensure the child’s or other campers’ safety, then Camp Kesem is unable to accept the camper.
What makes Camp Kesem different from other camps?
We realize that children of cancer patients have additional needs- and we address them by giving them extra attention and support. Camp Kesem has a 3:1 camper to counselor ratio to ensure that campers receive extra attention. These counselors ensure that camp is a safe, supportive, high-energy, and fun place for every camper. Also, our counselors facilitate “cabin chats” each night.
Are children required to talk about their parent's cancer?
Absolutely not. Your child will quickly become part of a loving, supportive community of other children - all of whom understand each other and respect each other. For most of our campers, being a part of this community - with other kids who are just like them - is empowering, comforting, encouraging and inspirational. Children are given optional opportunities to share or not share anything that is on their mind in nightly "Cabin Chats" which are held with their own cabin (and facilitated by our trained student leaders). They are also invited to participate with all campers in an Empowerment Ceremony - intended to honor all camper parents and their individual family's journey.
Besides the college student counselors, are there other adults at camp?
The Camp Director, Camp Nurse, and Camp Mental Health Professional, and much of the program staff are college-graduates over 21 years old. Additionally, all of the camp counselors are older than 18 years old and undergo a thorough application and screening process to become counselors.
How do I become a Camp Kesem counselor?
Please refer to our counselor page for more information.
I want to volunteer, can I attend camp?
While we love our volunteers, camp is only for campers, counselors and professional staff. If you would like to get involved in other ways, please click here.