Tonight I’ve been working on my application to return as a counselor for Camp Kesem. It brought up a wave of emotions that I was admittedly expecting, but not entirely prepared for. Right now I really just want to be with my campers again. Anyway, I thought I’d share a piece of my application with you.

This is to the question, “Why do you want to work with children who have been affected by a parent’s cancer?”

When I filled this application out for the first time last year, I probably said something about my experience with UNC Dance Marathon, getting to know those patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital, and how cancer has touched my family’s life—all of which are still true and mean a lot to me. Now, having been a Kesem counselor, my answer has evolved. My entire life perspective has changed. The week during camp was my most transformative, and the week after was my most introspective. Now, I realize how meaningful it can be to connect with and be there for someone who truly needs it. Sometimes people just need you to listen. They don’t need you to pity them; they don’t need you to bend over backwards trying to help. Just listen. My experience with Kesem and the Kesem campers has shown me the magic of authentic and caring relationships. We might only see each other for a week at a time, but those memories and lessons learned endure through all of my thoughts and actions. The campers are more than my friends; they’re my mentors. Despite the unfairly difficult hand life has dealt them, they take the time to bond with each other and support each other. They are never too busy to help each other out or to lend an ear or shoulder. When they have all the right in the world to be selfish or focus on their own troubles, they are the kindest, most thoughtful, people I’ve ever known. They are why I want to work at Camp Kesem again, and why I feel it is so important for college students like me to experience the magic.

I think it speaks for itself what Kesem means to me. And that’s enough for now. The other part of this post, the video, is part of a class project that we did for Camp Kesem, and I thought I’d share that as well.

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