The JMU chapter of Camp Kesem, a national organization that supports children whose lives have been impacted by a family member's battle with cancer, held its first camp in nearby Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 13-19. Children from the local community participated in activities such as archery, swimming, water balloon tosses and more.
The word kesem in Hebrew means “magic.” Sydney Cole, director of marketing and public relations for the JMU chapter, said that’s exactly what Camp Kesem creates. “It was a week of magic, learning and personal change for the better.”
The camp provides an outlet for children to escape the stresses that come along with a family member battling cancer and allows them to encounter and interact with other children their age who are going through the same experiences. Cole said it was also meaningful for the staff. “I know from experience now that taking even a week to give my time and attention to those who are in need not only helps me see the world in a better way, but hopefully provides our campers with the strength and courage they need.”
Camp Kesem is run by a community of student volunteers and has more than 100 chapters at colleges across the U.S. Since 2010, the organization has served over 6,000 children.
The JMU chapter, which formed in Fall 2016, will continue to spread the word about Camp Kesem and raise money for future outings.
Photography by Elise Trissel