Gilda's Club Madison, Camp Kesem: Now accepting camper applications for summer 2012
Camp Kesem UW-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin, May 23, 2012 – Camp Kesem UW-Madison is now accepting camper applications for summer 2012. In partnership with Gilda’s Club Madison, LiveStrong, YMCA and other local organizations, Camp Kesem provides free summer camp experiences for children ages 6-16, whose parents have or have had cancer. The UW-Madison chapter is led by energetic student leaders who organize, operate and fully fund the camp. The local Camp Kesem UW-Madison will accommodate 65 campers this summer at YMCA Camp MacLean in Burlington, Wisconsin.
This year, Camp Kesem is launching a new Teen Program! Applications from campers ages 14-16 are being accepted now. The Teen Program allows teens to build self-esteem and gain support from peers facing similar challenges while exploring their own leadership potential. Space remains available for 15 teen campers and applications will be accepted until camp kicks off on August 5, 2012.
“While many support services exist for cancer patients, the children of parents diagnosed with cancer are often overlooked. Without support, these children can face academic, social and emotional roadblocks. Camp Kesem allows these children to ‘just be kids’ again for one week in a very unique environment, where they are surrounded by peers who can truly relate to their fears, emotions and concerns.” said Jane Saccaro, Executive Director, Camp Kesem.
While at the week-long overnight camp, children benefit from a high camper to counselor ratio (2:1), nightly Cabin Chats with peers, who can truly relate to their experiences, and the opportunity to have fun and participate in a wide variety of traditional camp activities. “Camp Kesem has tremendous impact on the children we serve. More than 85 percent of parents who responded told us they see a significant impact in their child’s coping skills, self-esteem, support network and self-confidence,” said Saccaro. “And more than 98 percent of parents who responded told us they intend to send their child back to Camp Kesem again next summer.”
ABOUT CAMP KESEM NATIONAL
Camp Kesem provides free summer camp experiences to children whose parents have or have had cancer. The camps are organized, operated and funded by the efforts of college student leaders throughout the country. Camp Kesem was started in 2000 at Stanford University, and since has spread to 37 college chapters. In 2011, Camp Kesem served nearly 1,500 children, ages 6-16, while providing opportunities for more than 900 college student leaders to channel their passion for giving back, while developing critical leadership skills. For more information, visit http://www.campkesem.org.
ABOUT GILDA’S CLUB MADISON AND CAMP KESEM
In part, Camp Kesem is made possible thanks to growing partnerships with other cancer support communities like Gilda’s Club Madison. The partnership with Gilda’s Club began in early 2010, when the annual Kids’ Carnival was hosted by Gilda’s Club. The staff at Gilda’s opened their facility to Camp Kesem UW, actively promoted the Kids’ Carnival to the families they serve and helped to spread the word by inviting local media. Several Camp Kesem UW student leaders volunteer weekly at Gilda’s Club. “We feel lucky that we are able to give back to an organization that has helped us grow,” said Camp Kesem student Co-Chair, Shelby Rubin. “Gilda’s Club staff understand and support Camp Kesem. They know that families and kids impacted by cancer need to connect and share experiences so they are not alone.”
In addition to referring campers, Gilda’s Club hosts informational sessions about Camp Kesem for interested families, assists in counselor training and, in 2012, is loaning program manager, Carissa Metcalf, LCSW to Camp Kesem for a week. The most valuable part of this relationship, however, is not the number of campers that have discovered the magic of Camp Kesem UW, but the chance for the camp counselors to get to know some of the new campers prior to camp. By sitting down to dinner with families and playing with the children while parents attend support group meetings at Gilda’s Club, the counselors have the chance to connect (or re-connect) with campers and continue the Camp Kesem UW tradition of being a Camp Kesem family all year round.
To learn more about Gilda’s Club Madison, visit gildasclubmadison.org or contact Lannia Stenz, Gilda’s Club Executive Director, at Lannia@gildasclubmadison.org or (608)828-8860.
For more information about Camp Kesem UW-Madison, please visit http://www.campkesem.org/uwmadison or contact Shelby Rubin & Samantha Wierman, Camp Kesem UW-Madison Co-Chairs, at email@example.com or (608)616-0682.