WPP 027: Haley Brown on Camp Kesem for kids affected by a parent's cancer

The purpose of Kesem is that we’re creating a space for kids to be kids and have this opportunity that they don’t have throughout the rest of the year, because they’re not necessarily connected to anyone else that’s going through what they’re going through. With that in mind though, part of what’s special about camp is that it’s really truly a summer camp in the essence of all of those outdoors experiences, all those really fun activities. But there’s one of the days in the week where we really acknowledge why we’re there. And that’s called the empowerment ceremony.
— Haley Brown

I had a great discussion with Haley Brown for this episode. Haley is the outreach coordinator of the Seattle University chapter of Camp Kesem, and she lost her dad when she was 12. Camp Kesem is an organization with chapters at college campuses all across the US, and these chapters run free summer camps for kids and teens with a parent affected by cancer. This includes kids with a parent who died of cancer, a parent who survived cancer, or a parent currently being treated.

We talked about:

  • What Camp Kesem is, and who it’s for;

  • Activities at camp, including “typical summer camp activities” such as boating, swimming, and crafts;

  • The counselor-in-training program for older teens;

  • How college students can get involved in organizing or being a counselor at camp;

  • Programs other than summer camp that Camp Kesem chapters run throughout the year;

  • How to find a Camp Kesem chapter near you;

  • Haley’s experience and reflections on losing her dad to cancer at age 12; and

  • What it means to her to volunteer with kids affected by a parent’s cancer.

If you have a kid ages 6-18 and your family has been affected by cancer, I’d encourage you to check it out.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Haley Brown.

Links & resources for this episode

Camp Kesem
Seattle University chapter of Camp Kesem

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