Camp Kesem, a national organization that provides a life-long peer support network to help children, ages 6 to 16, through and beyond their parent’s cancer, is pleased to have held their first annual season of camp in the Central Valley.
Anchored in a network of free programs that are led by passionate college student volunteers across the country, Camp Kesem is organized locally in the Central Valley by dedicated students from Fresno State. This summer, Camp Kesem at Fresno State hosted 26 campers from August 9-14th at Camp Wawona.
With 1.7 million cancer cases a year in the United States, there are more than 3 million children impacted by a parent’s cancer and Camp Kesem recognizes and embraces this often-overlooked population. Because they don’t appear sick, their needs are often over looked and they suffer quietly, leading to academic, social, emotional, and developmental problems. Camp Kesem helps these children through and beyond their parent’s cancer by providing a care-free and fun environment in which they can interact and bond with peers who face similar struggles at home.
Children that attended Camp Kesem at Fresno State participated in a host of fun activities including zip lining, river trips, arts & crafts, adventurous scavenger hunts, and talent shows. The campers enjoyed all of the activities, as one camper who goes by the camp name ‘Triple T’ said, “The best part of this week is too many to name, but if I could name 3, I would choose arrowing, I would choose ziplining, and right now I just played a super awesome game of capture the flag.” The campers also get a chance to share and open up to their peers and counselors during nightly “Cabin Chats” and the empowerment ceremony.
Our camper, ‘Fawn’, really sums up the importance and meaning of this whole week. She says, “Camp Kesem is family to me.” In the end, that is our goal, to help create a community and support system where all of the campers and counselors can be there for each other in times of need and to encourage eachother.
Camp Kesem at Fresno State is organized by dedicated students at Fresno State who work year-long to plan and fundraise for an impactful week of camp. Student volunteers and counselors experience leadership development and undergo twenty hours of extensive training prior to camp. Camp Kesem is provided free of charge to all participating families and is therefore supported by private donations and community support.
Navmit Dhesi, a student leader at Camp Kesem at Fresno State, “We worked all year to put on this camp for the kids, but we got so much more out of the experience than we had expected. The kids’ bravery and ability to love and be open has definitely inspired all of us. We can’t wait to put on another week of camp next year, so that we can spend more time with these great kids.”
For more information about the camp, how to register, or to donate, please visit