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

About Author

Ariele Gallardo


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Here’s a positive sign for the University of Miami football program: receiver Lawrence Cager appears ...

Tidbits from UM spring football Day 4: • Three of what likely will be UM’s top four corners haven’t ...

You’ve probably seen them: the emotive tweets from University of Miami football coach Mark Richt and ...

And another one... The stars just keep committing. A few hours after Miami Southridge’s nationally h ...

Want an early look at the incoming shooting guard who has a chance to become Miami’s best basketball ...

More than 250 participants met at the UM Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center to learn more from industry ...

Redshirt freshman diver David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men’s 10-meter plat ...

UM junior Gina Panarese was surprised on campus Thursday by the Ellen DeGeneres show and asked to pa ...

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul. ...

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Bus ...

Highlights from the 2016-17 Miami men's basketball season ...

Miami fell to No. 34 University of Louisville, 4-1, Sunday at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. ...

Facing its 10th top-30 opponent in 13 matches this season, the No. 37 Miami women's tennis team ...

Junior lefthander Michael Mediavilla was his vintage self, Miami's offense came through again, ...

Miami redshirt freshman David Dinsmore won the NCAA national championship in the men's 10-meter ...

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 on Thursdays during the regular academic year.