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.
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;).
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 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.
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.
YEA CAMP KESEM!