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

After the Miami Hurricanes football team spent part of its practice on Monday in a torrential downpo ...

Nothing like a comic book cover on steroids to get University of Miami and LSU football fans juiced ...

They are two big bodies with experience, but new to the University of Miami. And the Miami Hurricane ...

Freshman quarterback Jarren Williams, who returned to practice Wednesday after missing most of Tuesd ...

Corey Gaynor is working hard to solidify his spot as backup center to UM senior standout Tyler Gauth ...

Miami Law conducts its inaugural Legal Impact Hack for first-year students. ...

Conquer common back to school challenges with an expert's guide for parents and children. ...

Unique camp supports children whose parents have cancer. ...

New study shows that discriminating against workers with tattoos puts hiring managers at a competiti ...

Bill Clinton convenes the second summit of his CGI Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery at UM. ...

The Hurricanes practiced in the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility for the first time ever on Fri ...

Malik Rosier, Travis Homer and Ahmmon Richards are key returning playmakers, but they are just the b ...

The University of Miami soccer team will travel to Boca Raton, Fla., Friday night as the team kicks ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team returns to the Knight Sports Complex on Saturday at 3 ...

University of Miami head men's tennis coach Aljosa Piric revealed Friday the team's schedu ...

TMH Twitter
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.