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Camp Kesem

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What is Camp Kesem?

Camp Kesem MIT, is a free summer camp for the chlidren of cancer patients. Founded in 2006, Camp Kesem MIT is set to offer its fifth session in late August 2011 at the beautiful Camp Merrowvista in Center Tuftonboro, NH. Run entirely by MIT students, Camp Kesem MIT aims to provide laughs and emotional support for children in the Northern New England area who parents have or have had cancer. By providing these children with a magical, safe, loving camp experience shared with others who are facing the same issues, children can develop tools to express their emotions in safe and productive ways. The acquisition of a local peer-support network can help to combat a sense of isolation and rebuild self-esteem. This week of sleep-away fun forges friendships in a safe, compassionate and cancer-aware environment.

Since its founding, Camp Kesem MIT has worked to find new tools for inspiring and empowering students to become better leaders and develop a passion for long term social impact - like bringing magic into the lives of children everywhere.

What happens at Camp?

At Camp Kesem, our main emphasis is on having fun. We divide our campers into units based on age, and each day is filled to the brim with fun activities in our Arts & Crafts, Drama, Sports and Nature rotations. Additionally we often go swimming in the beautiful lake, go on nature hikes, and complete high and low-ropes courses. Time and attention is also focused on providing opporunities for the campers to explore and express their feelings through a nighly program called 'Cabin Chat' where counselors lead informal discussions ranging from the highlights of the day to the effects of cancer on our lives and our 'Empowerment' ceremony where we gather as a community to share our stories.

Who staffs Camp Kesem?

Camp Kesem MIT is organized by MIT student volunteers and is a project of Camp Kesem National, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Students receive guidance from local professionals serving on the Advisory Committee and from Camp Kesem National’s staff.

Students serve on one of six working committees: Administration & Camp Programming, Camper Care, Fundraising, Public Relations, Teen Program and Student Support. There are two coordinators in charge of each committee, and they head projects throughout the year.


MIT students also serve as volunteer counselors and undergo extensive training prior to camp. The 2:1 camper to counselor ratio at Camp Kesem provides these children with the undivided attention they may not receive at a typical summer camp. The camp staff includes a nurse, a child psychologist or therapist, ASL interpreters and a doctor on-call. Camp Merrowvista staff members also help with general camp maintenance as well as food preparation.

How can I get involved?

Want to learn more about Camp Kesem? Look for our booth at the Orientation and CPW Activities Midways. We also hold info sessions in the fall semester for those who are interested in applying to be a counselor. You can also check out our website and facebook page, or follow us on twitter (#ckmit). Of course you can always email us at [email protected] if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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