Get Involved Organization 1: Camp Kesem
January 29, 2009
In my time at ASU, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet several passionate members of the university’s chapter of non-profit organization Camp Kesem. Students in college chapters of Camp Kesem fundraise throughout the year in order to put on a free, week-long camp in late summer for children personally affected by cancer, such as those whose parents have died of cancer or are currently undergoing treatment. The camp has the potential to close the gap for children who may feel alone or helpless, as it allows them to make connections with others their age who can truly understand what they’re going through (for many, this will be the first time they’ve met a peer who can empathize with their situation). On a more superficial but equally important level, it gives children who may have been forced to grow up very fast a week to simply be kids – to have fun and make friends.
Chapter members may later serve as counselors at the camp itself.
I interviewed Charlene Fan, a member of the ASU chapter of Camp Kesem, about why this organization matters and, of course, how to get involved.
How does the club work?
CF: For ASU’s chapter, there are bi-weekly meetings. To be considered a committee member (essentially an “active member”), you must:
1) attend 3 committee meetings per semester
2) attend at least one letter-writing party per semester (where we write letters to potential donors)
3) join and actively participate in a sub-committee (such as Fundraising or Camper Care)
What if you want to take it a step further and be a counselor?
CF: To be a counselor, there is an application and interview process. You don’t have to be considered a committee member to be accepted as a counselor, but I would strongly recommend it as participating actively throughout the year allows the current coordinators to get to know you and see your dedication in action.
If you don’t have time to be in the club, can you make a donation? How?
CF: Definitely, donations of any amount are appreciated at any time. You can send a check to a local chapter or donate online.
Why do you think Camp Kesem is valuable? Why would you tell someone to do it?
CF: For me, it’s about knowing that you are directly touching the lives of other people. There are many cancer support groups out there, but Camp Kesem is the only one I am familiar with that specifically targets the needs of the children in these families. You always know exactly what you’re doing it for, and you frequently get feedback from the families involved.
Mailing Address (used for donations)
Arizona State University Camp Kesem
P.O. Box 386
Tempe, AZ 85280-0386