On April 15, Livestrong officially announced that it will provide funding for Case Western Reserve University and 11 other campuses to hold Camp Kesem in the summer of 2014. Each college campus across the United States will be awarded $10,000 to plan and implement Camp Kesem.
Camp Kesem is a free weeklong, student-run, sleep-away camp targeted to serve kids ages six to 16 whose parents have (or have had) cancer by providing them with support and attention in a fun but cancer-conscious environment. Since its beginning in Stanford University, Camp Kesem has grown to 41 camps in 24 states that serve more than 2,000 children each year. This year, the camp will be expanding to 12 additional campuses.
“The application process was a very nerve-wracking experience given the logistics of our student population versus other state schools,” said Brandon Vu, Camp Kesem at CWRU founder. About 200 hospitals, cancer centers, university students, and community organizations in eight regions across the country competed in an online voting competition to win funding to hold Camp Kesem from Livestrong.
“When I found out we had won, I was relieved and even proud of the support the CWRU community has shown for the program. I’m certain this level of enthusiasm will carry over to make the camp of the summer of 2014 a successful endeavor,” said Vu.
The 11 other university award recipients are University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Colorado, Yale University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Saint Louis University, Stony Brook University, Penn State University, Rice University, College of William & Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Livestrong states that Camp Kesem is one of the four proven cancer support programs included in the company’s 2013 Community Impact Project.
“We are so appreciative of everyone who took action to bring the Community Impact Project to their communities,” said Doug Ulman, foundation president and CEO. “The Livestrong Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, and by immediately implementing these proven programs that provide critical emotional and physical support to those facing cancer, we are helping more people live life on their own terms. We take great pride in this opportunity to advance our mission.”
In addition to money, the 12 campuses will receive a “toolkit” consisting of facilitator manuals, participant materials, evaluation forms, training and support from the model program’s staff, access to additional tools and resources, and a full report on the historical replication of this program upon completion.
Currently, the Camp Kesem founder team at CWRU is searching for individuals to build their team of student coordinators. The team will also be presenting applications in December 2013 for those wishing to be a camp counselor during the summer of 2014.
“We were competing against schools with much larger student populations, yet we still managed to bring in an extraordinary amount of votes,” said founder Yssra Soliman. “I think this says a lot about the level of dedication and passion that our students hold. If we put our minds to it, truly amazing things can happen on this campus.”