It’s never too early to start thinking about Summer Camp, is it? Really, it’s not even too early to start thinking about shopping for Christmas. 😉 Kidding. (kind of) So, even though it’s been a little chilly here in Fresno, with fog and some hints of rain, it still would be good to think about your summer plans.
I love to plan for summer. I usually don’t do anything, but when I’m able to, it’s nice to look ahead. It gives my kids and myself something to look forward to. Sometimes we go to the beach, get a pass to the waterpark, hang out by the pool, or go camping. Yes, I’ve sent my daughter to the dreaded summer camp. I think kids going to camp gets a bad wrap from time to time. People sometimes portray it as a place where kids go to NOT have fun. I mean we’ve all heard the Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah song, right?
When I was growing up I had gone to a couple of camps. Honestly, I wish I had gone to more. My daughter has gone to camp a couple of times, and she’s really loved it. When my son is old enough, I’m hoping to send him to camp as well. Camps can sometimes have themes. Sometimes they hold special meaning for people. Sometimes it’s just to get away and experience nature. There’s a camp for just about every group out there. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church, Youth Groups, Music Camp, Band Camp….Really, the list goes on and on. What do you think the one thing all of these camps have in common? Fun. Yes, the main goal is for the children to have fun. They make new friends, experience new things, get to eat s’mores at night, sing cheesy campfire songs, sleep in the wilderness, and just have an all around good time. Camp is fun, and it’s meant to be that way.
Recently I was informed about a camp that’s new to Fresno, and I’d love to share it with you. It’s called Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a typical camp, but its attendees have had their fair share of heartache. Camp Kesem is for children ages 6-16, who have been affected by a parent’s cancer. Now you might be thinking, “Oh great, that’s sad. Way to bring me down.” But, I don’t mean for it to be. This is a great thing! What an opportunity for some of the kids of FresYes!
Let me tell you a little about Camp Kesem. It’s run by Fresno State students (yet still receives support from Camp Kesem Nationals). These volunteers have the opportunity to serve others, and learn important leadership skills at the same time. The process of getting Camp Kesem to the Valley started about 2 years ago. Amanda De Lima and Jillian Millares saw a need for the Central Valley. The children of Northern and Southern California were involved with Camp Kesem, but there was no local chapter. So Amanda and Jillian knew how much the children in our area could benefit from this nationwide camp, and they applied for a Fresno chapter. What an amazing task! Two locals looking for ways to help their community! I love it!
Camp Kesem will be located at Camp Sequoia Lake, which is located up in the Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park. It’s a week long camp, held from August 9th-14th. During the week the children will have lots of activities to choose from. There will be crafts, games, sports, swimming, a talent show, dancing, and the inevitable singing of camp songs. Whaaaat?! I want to sing campfire songs! 😉
The goal for this camp is for the campers to feel safe and to be in a community with others who can relate. Sometimes in life you’re thrown into a group in which you don’t want to belong. For example, my daughter’s father died 4 years ago. She was 7 years old. He did not die from cancer, but he was sick, and actually, he did have cancer before she was born. That’s a club no child wants to be part of. Now, this camp is not necessarily for children whose parents have died, but may be sick from cancer, going through treatments, or just being newly diagnosed. The life of that child is much different than the life of the child with healthy parents. Even though these children will be having fun at camp, there will be people around to talk to. They will have cabin chats that allow a child to open up and talk freely about anything they may want to discuss. Also, they don’t have to talk to anyone about anything, because these kiddos may just want to get away for some good ole fashion summer fun. Having said that, they should feel that they are part of a community that cares, in case they do need someone to talk to. The goal is for the campers to heal, cope and most importantly, be kids and have fun.
If you’re interested in updates, check out their Facebook page. If you know a child who could benefit from this week long camping experience, here’s a few more details. They’re hoping to serve 30 kids, and the best part? It’s FREE. For reals. So, go sign up (it might be easiest to search by state), or share this with someone who will.
This year will be the first year for Camp Kesem, so let’s make it a fun one!!