Student Org of the Week: Camp Kesem

What is the name of your organization? Do you go by any nicknames or abbreviations?

Camp Kesem (CK)


What is the purpose/mission of your organization?

Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders that support children through and beyond their parent or guardian’s cancer. A program of Kesem called Camp Kesem operates free weeklong, overnight summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent or guardian’s cancer. Kesem means magic and we try our hardest to make sure every camper has the best experience at camp.


What days/times does your organization typically meet? Do you have any upcoming/recurring events you would like to be made known?

The coordinator board for Camp Kesem at University of Iowa meets every Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm. Then committee meetings follow from 8pm to 9pm. During those meetings we break off into smaller subcommittees such as outreach, volunteer, operations, development, make the magic, alumin-marketing-public relations, and treasury. Subcommittees are made up of other University of Iowa students.

Our Make the Magic event is taking place March 24th, 2018. This is our biggest fundraising event of the year and our first year having a Make the Magic Event. You can buy tickets at this link: With the purchase of a ticket, a meal is provided. More information about where the event will take place is in the link. The Event will include speakers and will help us raise money to send more kids to camp free of charge.


Why did you personally get involved with this organization? What makes you passionate about this organization?

“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 15 years old, and has been battling it ever since 2012. The support Kesem provides to these kids is something I wish I would have gotten to experience then, but I am so happy to be a part of this community now. Cancer affects everyone in the family. I remember the day I found out my mom had cancer just like it was yesterday. It was devastating and still is. Something I never could have imagined was that cancer could bring some positives into people’s lives. Kesem is so much more than a free week long camp for kiddos affected by a parent’s cancer. It is a family, a family I am happy to be a part of.”

—McKayla “MC” Seymour, Outreach Co-Coordinator

“I got involved with Camp Kesem to help make a positive, lasting impact on not just the campers, but also their whole family! My grandpa passed away with cancer and my uncle is currently battling cancer; I feel like I’ve gotten a better understanding of how it felt for my mom. The fact that our campers and counselors form such strong bonds in only a matter of a week is what makes me passionate about Camp Kesem. The week of Camp is the most fun I have all summer. Even as college student we get the week to act silly and have the most fun!”

— Aida “Ace” Alibasic, Co-Director

“I joined Kesem to join a family of selfless college students that are passionate about helping kids that are struggling and often ignored. I love everything about this organization because of how passionate we are towards giving these kids a second family and the Kesem family bond is truly remarkable.”

—Bailey “Toast” Knopf, Make the Magic Co-Coordinator


What social media does your organization utilize?




If a student is interested in joining this organization, how should they go about it/who should they contact?

They can contact us at


Is there anything else you would like to share?

Our goal is to have 40 campers this summer. If anyone knows of a family with a child or children  6-18 years of age who has or has had a parent or guardian with cancer who would be interested in signing up for our free week long over night camp can follow this link: to Kesem Central, where you will click sign up and create an account. Any further questions about registering for camp can be directed to

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