Camp Kesem

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Camp Kesem is an active community throughout the United States, driven by college students, supporting children through and beyond their parent's cancer with free year-round services. Camp Kesem's main program is a week-long sleepaway summer camp for kids whose parents have or have had cancer. Camp Kesem's programs are completely free to the children and put on by college students at each local chapter, who fundraise and plan year-round, with support and training from a national staff.[1] Since 2000, when it was founded at Stanford University, Camp Kesem has expanded to over 100 chapters in 42 states.


The first Camp Kesem project was founded at Stanford University in 2000 as a project of Hillel at Stanford, a nonprofit serving Jewish students at the University. The project was developed by founder Iris Rave Wedeking, and a group of student leaders who sought to create a summer camp experience for children in need for little to no cost for the families.

After assessing the needs of the community, the students found that children who have, or have had, a parent with cancer comprised an under-served population who could benefit from a summer camp experience with peers who faced similar challenges.

The Camp Kesem project at Stanford hosted its first summer session in June 2001, free of charge to 37 campers. Since then, the project has continued and has grown each year to engage more student volunteers and serve more children across the country.

Based on the success of Camp Kesem at Stanford, Iris Rave founded Camp Kesem National in August 2002 to share the project's model with college campuses across the nation.

National Staff[edit]

  • Jane Saccaro, Chief Executive Officer

Alumni, Brand & Marketing:

  • Jess Ryan, Director of Alumni Relations
  • Kim Porter, Manager of Brand & Web
  • Carrie Clemens, Engagement Coordinator


  • Maureen Haller, Chief Development Officer
  • Colleen Klages, Development Director of Events
  • Cristin O'Leary Jones, Development Director
  • Elle Ullum, Development Director of Corporate Relations
  • Kristin Elfering, Events Coordinator
  • Rebecca Enriquez, Development Coordinator
  • Bree Turner, Development Associate

Finance & Administration:

  • Abby O'Leary, Senior Director of Finance & Administration
  • Erin Morgan, Accountant
  • Kelsey Wrightwood, Systems Administrator
  • Richard Robey, Staff Assistant


  • Alicia Kabir, Chief Operations Officer
  • Alexandra Baldwin, Senior Manager of Camp Operations
  • Liz Firestone, Senior Manager of Programs
  • Tracey Landstorm, Senior Manager of Operations
  • Ciara Lepanto, Training Manager
  • Marge Lobeck, Manager of Programs
  • Jenna Means, Manager of University Relations
  • Laura Redmond, Manager of Programs
  • Cody Ferrantino, Operations Coordinator
  • Kendall McKee, Senior Regional Program Director
  • Abi Yates, Senior Regional Program Director
  • Dionna Arimes, Regional Program Director
  • Lauren Borrill, Regional Program Director
  • Keandra Bryson, Regional Program Director
  • Lily Daigle, Regional Program Director
  • Brittani Hammer, Regional Program Director
  • Meiko McDaniel, Regional Program Director
  • Kirsten Olivarez, Regional Program Director
  • Annalisa Provenzano, Regional Program Director
  • Jean-Luc Rivera, Regional Program Director
  • Chelsea Saurer, Regional Program Director
  • Zach Snelling, Regional Program Director
  • Mackenzie Sullivan, Regional Program Director

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Bob Bartell
  • Neha Biggs
  • John K. Bradburn Jr.
  • Emily M. Brakebill
  • Thom Brown
  • Ben Cornwell
  • David Cronin
  • Becky Crowe
  • Keith Dierkx
  • Ron Glickman
  • Jerry Katz
  • Darren Macioce
  • Betsy Morton
  • Mark Luck Olson
  • Robert Plotkowski
  • Carlyn Solomon
  • Jay Stillwell
  • Sudarsan Thattai
  • Iris Rave Wedeking

Collegiate Chapters[edit]

  • University of Alabama
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Arkansas
  • Augustana College
  • Ball State University
  • UC Berkeley
  • Brown University
  • BYU
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Central PA
  • Chestnut Hill
  • University of Cincinnati
  • The Claremont Colleges
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • DePaul University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Florida State University
  • The University of Florida
  • University of South Florida
  • Fresno State
  • George Washington University
  • The University of Georgia
  • Harvard University
  • University of Illinois
  • Indiana University
  • University of Iowa
  • James Madison University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Kentucky
  • Marquette University
  • Miami
  • Michigan State University
  • The University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • Mizzou
  • MIT
  • University of Nebraska
  • New Mexico State University
  • UNC - Chapel Hill
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • Notre Dame
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Princeton
  • Rice
  • University of Richmond
  • Rowan University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Santa Clara University
  • The University of South Alabama
  • Southern Utah University
  • Stanford
  • Stony Brook University
  • Syracuse University
  • Teton Valley
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Texas - Austin
  • University of Texas - Dallas
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UCLA
  • UC San Diego
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • University of Southern California
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Vermont
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • The University of Virginia
  • University of Washington
  • West Virginia University
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • William & Mary
  • Yale University


In 2014, Camp Kesem served nearly 4,000 children affected by a parent's cancer and empowered more than 2,000 student leaders from across the country. Since 2000, Camp Kesem has shared its "magic" with over 11,300 children and provided unparalleled leadership opportunities for nearly 7,000 student leaders.

  • 98 percent of parents surveyed believe that Camp Kesem has had a positive impact on their family .
  • After camp, parents report a marked increase in their child's self-esteem, confidence and network of support.
  • 99 percent of parents surveyed would recommend Camp Kesem to another family affected by cancer.

A Day at Camp Kesem[edit]


  1. ^ "Home - Camp Kesem". Camp Kesem. Retrieved 2018-07-07.