Through Camp Kesem, MSU Students Help Families Affected by Cancer | News

Camp Kesem describes its goal of ensuring that children touched by parents with cancer are never alone. Kesem provides an environment where these children in need can meet others who are going through the same experiences and counselors who offer comfort and support.

Mississippi State University students have a Camp Kesem chapter and students volunteer at camp and fundraising events.

“Kesem aims to create a community for children who are experiencing similar difficulties,” said Sydney Desiderio, Make Magic coordinator and student at MSU. “Our free summer camp allows kids of all races, religions and backgrounds to let loose and put their worries aside for just a moment.”

Camp Kesem is a national non-profit organization that supports these needy families at no cost to the family. The organization hires students as counselors to provide a fun and exciting way to tailor experiences specifically to the needs of families affected by a parent with cancer.

Each student volunteer has a unique experience of what Kesem means and has done for them. Desiderio said once she heard about Kesem, she was immediately interested in working in the camp because of his background and future career in social work.

Madelyn Slaten, founder of the Camp Kesem Chapter at MSU, shared how Camp Kesem impacted her life.

“I started my journey with Camp Kesem as a camper after my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Slaten said. “My mom found camp through Vanderbilt, and I spent four years (there) and loved it. It had the biggest impact on me in the world and made me who I am today. today.

Slaten grew up going to Camp Kesem, so when she came to MSU and realized there was no chapter on campus, she founded the current active chapter. She has now held the position of manager, called “Peaches”, at Kesem for three years.

Much like Slaten, Sam Stewart expressed only positive feelings about the camp. Stewart, a sophomore in educational psychology, began working with Kesem to get involved on campus. He served as an online counsellor, “Paprika”, and traveled with camp staff. Stewart is now the coordinator of Make Magic and helps plan fundraising events.

“People talk about a home away from home, and that’s what Kesem is to me,” Stewart said. “It’s such a warm environment that every time I go to a meeting we get it wrong. At the end of the day, it’s the people who support me.

Although Kesem serves as a support system for the children, it has also brought many opportunities to the students involved. Sam said he traveled to Chicago with other camp staff and was planning fundraising events, such as a Met Gala that was to take place in April. This event aims to raise $7,000 to help support the organization.

Slaten said Camp Kesem at MSU is actively seeking more student volunteers interested in joining the nonprofit. There are openings for volunteers who can help with fundraising events, parking monitors, servers and table hosts. Kesem is also looking for male volunteers willing to work as counselors at this year’s summer camp.

Stewart explained that students can receive service hours and learn more about Kesem by participating in these events.

For more information, direct message Camp Kesem’s Instagram account @campkesem.msstate or email [email protected]

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