Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Isabel's Summer Adventure!

About a month before school ended, Isabel said that one of her friends was going to a summer camp and she wanted to go.  I asked her to find out where her friend was going so we could look it up on line.  Ok, so when we looked I nearly had a cardiac arrest.  That camp wanted almost a thousand dollars for a week and a half of fun filled camping.  I explained to Isabel that our budget was much less than that.  She asked how much was the budget.  Instead of answering, I asked her to find a few different camps online to compare and to check if there were any scholarship programs to help discount the cost.  She started looking and after about 20 minutes she came rushing back to tell me she found her camp.

Camp Kesem
Isabel found a camp that is specifically for children who have a parent with cancer (or who has had cancer).  I was so stunned to learn that such a place existed, I began to cry right away.  I knew I had to get Isabel into that camp.  The camp is organized by ASU students studying early childhood education and the cost is free for those accepted after a lengthy application process.  So I applied.  It was challenging, like telling the story of my illness and how it has impacted Isabel.  Then we had to wait, it took almost two weeks.

The E-Mail
After the first week, Isabel and I were worried that it was taking too long for our application.  Isabel even did some research on other camps so we could develop a back up plan.  Then it came.  That first e-mail said that our application was received and deemed complete.  It let us know that selections would be finalized in a day or so and an e-mail would be sent.  The next day, we got it.  "Congratulations, your child is accepted to Camp Kesem."  Ok, I cried again.  Isabel got weepy too.  And Esteban.  Only strong Sebastian was able to resist heavy emotion.  "Yea, she's going to be out of my hair for a whole week."  That's the brotherly "tough love" I mentioned before;).

Getting Ready
So we received a great package via e-mail to help us get ready.  Included were two questionnaires, one for camper and one for parents of camper.  Questions like "What do you like best about your friends?" for Isabel and for me questions about her personality and how she copes with different situations.  Just amazing. I am so impressed with the program so far.  We got a packing list as well, so we are collecting things for her trip.

The Details
The camp will take place July 9-14 and it is located just north of Phoenix (about a 45 min. drive).  There is a  great 2-1 camper to counselor ratio.  I am just so excited for Isabel.   This camp is like a gift for all of us.  I could not be more grateful.

Below are a few photos and the mission from the camp website.   The camp has been in place for six years and it turns out that Camp Kesem is a national program available in many states.  Check the website if you want to learn more or are interested in volunteering or donating for this great program.

welcome camp kesemwelcome

Our Mission is twofold:

1) To provide kids whose parents have or have had cancer with a summer camp experience that gives them a chance to be kids.
2) To allow college students to channel their passion for making a difference, while developing critical leadership skills for long term social impact.
Our one-week sleep away camp is a chance for children ages 6-13 and teens 14-16 to have a fun-filled week, meet other children facing similar challenges, and just be kids.


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