A Week in Paradise
For just one week, you can escape to camp that seems like any other camp, except each camper has their own story of how cancer has affected their lives. This past summer, Deer Park Senior, Chrissy Boehmer, went to Indiana University for a week to attend Camp Kesem.
“Basically it’s a camp for kids whose parents have cancer or have died from cancer, and it’s a way for them to get away from their problems at home,” Boehmer said.
Boehmer had been a camper for eight years, but was a counselor in training this past summer. She was introduced to the camp through a friend of her mother’s who is around Boehmer’s age. Through camp, they got extremely close.
Most of the things you do at this camp are what you’d expect at any camp, yet there is one night that makes Camp Kesem unique.
“The Empowerment Ceremony is where anyone can share their story about their parents having cancer,” Boehmer said.
Anyone can sign up to attend the camp, but it is a first come, first serve basis. There are even other Camp Kesems at other colleges where one can become a camp counselor and volunteer for. One thing that Boehmer wishes is that the program be available to more children around the country.
“I just really like meeting people who have gone through the same things as me, so we can connect on a deeper level...I’ve learned that there’s a lot of other young people that experience a lot, and even though you go through hard times, you can still have fun,” Boehmer said.
Boehmer is planning on attending next year, as a regular counselor.
“It may be scary going away to camp where you don’t know anyone, but it is honestly one of the best experiences in my life...going there is my favorite week of the year,” Boehmer said.