News

Student-run camp faces financial woes

Matt Straney teaches archery at Camp Kesem. He participated in running the camp for four years. To the kids at camp he is known as "Aquaman." Courtesy Lauren M. Coughlin

For more than a decade, Camp Kesem has been bringing magic to children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. This year, however, the camp may be in financial trouble.

Camp Kesem, which means magic in Hebrew, is a free sleepover-camp run by college students with more than 40 chapters nationwide. It welcomes all children between the ages of 6 and 16, and no child is turned away.

“It’s an amazing organization and allows kids to be with other kids who are dealing with the same struggles at home, whether they choose to talk about it at camp or not,” said Abigail Zocco, the co-chair of UM’s Camp Kesem chapter.

Daily camp activities include swimming, arts and crafts, singing, races and various competitions. At night, counselors and campers participate in Cabin Chats.

“Most of the younger campers simply talk about camp and things they had fun doing, while our teen campers often share their stories of their family’s battle with cancer,” Zocco said.

This year, fundraising has been slower than usual even as the camp is expecting around 60 children this summer.

“I think the economy is a contributing factor,” Camp Kesem’s UM chapter co-chair Brielle Buckler said. “People who usually donate are not donating as much.”

The current goal is to raise $20,000. However, the organization has “got a ways to go to reach that,” Zocco said.

Their current strategy is to continue to hold fundraisers at places like TCBY and My Yogurt Bliss, as well as through various sporting events. Also, they plan to apply for several grants and petition local businesses for donations. Counselors are also personally responsible for raising a certain amount of money.

“We take donations from anywhere we can get them,” Zocco said.

For Buckler, the camp has made a personal impact on her life.

“It was the best week I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “My dad had cancer, and seeing the kids helps me cope and relate to them. It truly changed my life. You can’t believe the feeling you get after the kids don’t want to leave the camp. It’s amazing.”

Zocco has also been impacted by the kids at Camp Kesem.

“I’ve learned a lot from my campers,” she said. “Hearing their stories and the varying types of situations their families have gone through has allowed me to see the amazing strength that lies within so many kids who have found themselves in these situations.”

If you would like to apply to be a Camp Kesem counselor, email Brielle Buckler at b.buckler@umiami.edu.

January 29, 2012

Reporters

Ariele Gallardo


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

As Miami fans await the newest College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night — the Hurricanes c ...

Jaquan Johnson doesn’t necessarily look intimidating. But he plays like a monster. Johnson, UM’s 5-1 ...

It will determine which state rival makes the American Athletic Conference championship game when th ...

Miami coach Mark Richt nearly went through his weekly teleconference Sunday without anyone asking hi ...

I opened my eyes this morning and for the first time in a long time, maybe all season, didn’t say, “ ...

The 41st annual conference on the Caribbean and Central America came to the University of Miami Scho ...

The Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation gift will establish the Business Plan Competition Endowed Fund. ...

C. David Naylor, a UM Presidential Scholar and public health policy expert, provided insight into he ...

A cohort of five religious leaders from Miami, including a rabbi and imam from the University of Mia ...

Hollywood actress and star of the hit BET series Being Mary Jane gets real about gender, race and co ...

For the second straight week, the Miami Hurricanes were ranked No. 2 in both the Associated Press po ...

A pair of Miami Hurricanes were among those recognized with weekly honors from the Atlantic Coast Co ...

The Miami women's basketball team will host the first of its two elementary school days Tuesday ...

The University of Miami volleyball team closed out the weekend with a convincing 3-0 win at Virginia ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team welcomed three new members to the program with the si ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.