General Mailing Address
SPAC Box 318, 4th Floor of Memorial Union
UC Davis Website
National Website

Camp Kesem at UC Davis is a service/support club on campus that organizes and runs a summer camp program for children (6 - 16 years old) in Davis and the Greater Sacramento Area who have or had a parent with cancer.

Camp Kesem counselors volunteer their time to provide children with a fun, all-expenses-paid retreat.


Camp Kesem National, a countrywide non-profit organization, provides UC Davis with the tools they need to establish successful, self-sustaining Camp Kesem programs.

Freshmen Flo and Nila initiated the Camp Kesem program at UC Davis in fall of 2004.

The $10,000 budget of the 2005 camp was secured through the fundraising efforts and leadership genius of Anne Baldwin, a devoted number of Camp Kesem officers, and the kind monetary and in-kind contributions of students' friends and family, Davis community members, and local businesses. Only with the generous support of all listed above could Camp Kesem at UC Davis achieve their goal of providing kids a safe place to meet other kids facing the same issues of life and death at home.

How To Get Involved

Camp Kesem at UC Davis is looking for young campers. If you or someone you know is between the ages of 6 - 16 and has or had a parent with cancer, then please encourage them to fill out a camper application (found in link at top of page). Spots are limited so apply as early as possible.

Gain experience working for a non-profit organization and boost your resume by joining one or more of the following committees:


  • Work with big corporations to organize company donations
  • Gain experience writing grants
  • Organize and lead fundraising events


  • Plan and organize camp activities
  • Organize and manage budgets
  • Work with local businesses, donations in kind, etc.

Camper Care

  • Work with the community to find campers
  • Work with hospitals and social workers

Student Support

  • Recruit fellow students with leadership skills to join club

Make a donation. Please make sure to specify Camp Kesem UC Davis!

Why Kids Need Kesem

"Kids with parents who are cancer patients have their lives turned upside down. The family structure and routine is disrupted in just about every aspect by the demands of the illness and treatment," states Dr. Michael Amylon, Oncologist. The needs of children who have a parent with cancer are often overshadowed by the crisis of the parent's illness. These children are forced to find their own ways to cope with complex emotions that result from their situation. Often, the coping methods these children develop on their own are unhealthy, which leads to emotional and social challenges during childhood and beyond.

These include:

  • Isolation
  • Disempowerment
  • Helplessness
  • Loss of Sense of Control
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Experience of Loss ("loss" of life before cancer in the family)
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Decreased Self-Esteem
  • Lack of Feelings of Normalcy

Camp Kesem provides a supportive environment in which children can express their emotions in safe and healthy ways. Children gain coping tools they can use at home, at school, and wherever they face challenges in life. At Camp Kesem, these children are no longer alone, every child at camp knows what it's like to have a parent with cancer. The peer support and friendships formed at camp provide hope and strength well beyond the week of camp.

"Why Kids Need Kesem" excerpt from Issue 3: Camp Kesem Connection - Summer 05. Copyright © 2005 Camp Kesem National. All Rights Reserved.