Q&A with Camp Kesem at the George Washington University

Kesem is a nationwide community of college student leaders that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. Camp Kesem operates free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. The weeklong camping experience provides a unique and compassionate environment where kids can just be kids, and can connect to a peer support network that has a life-long impact. To learn more about this inspiring work, we interviewed Nathaniel Hayward, on of the Camp Kesem GW Share the Magic Coordinators.

What brought you to GW?

I always knew I wanted to study Political Science, so what better place to do so than in the nation’s capital! I loved how integrated GW was into Washington, D.C. and could tell it would afford me so many opportunities for personal and professional growth.

How did you get involved in Camp Kesem?

Camp Kesem was one of the first student organizations in which I got involved freshman year. I passed by the Kesem table at the “Student Org Fair” and was immediately drawn to its mission. I started attending general body meetings, applied to be a counselor, and before I knew it I was at camp for the first time in August for a life-changing week with the kids.

What inspires you most about the people you have met through Camp Kesem?

The other members in Kesem are some of the most caring and authentic people I’ve ever met. The people I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with through Kesem are undoubtedly passionate, driven, and inspire me to be the best version of myself. Kesem brings together people all across the GW community and unites them under one goal: to change the lives of these incredible kids who deserve a little magic.

What does a typical week at camp look like?

Camp Kesem GW hosts two themed weeks of summer camp. Each day follows a specific schedule, filled with fun rotations and camp classics like swimming and roasting s’mores. Towards the end of the week, we have “Color Wars,” in which every person at camp is divided into a Green or Blue team (our Kesem colors) to compete in challenges throughout the day; however, two of our most infamous activities are the Talent Show and Messy Games, where campers get to unleash their wild, creative sides. Overall, the week is structured to ensure campers have the most unique and enjoyable experience possible.

How can people support Camp Kesem or get involved?

If interested, people can support our chapter, read our monthly newsletter, or attend our upcoming “Share the Magic” Gala on April 30th! Feel free to contact GW@campkesem.org with any questions, comments, or other ways to get involved!

You’re hosting the upcoming “Share the Magic” event on April 30th at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia – can you tell us more about this event, how people can get tickets and what the money raised goes toward?

“Share the Magic” is our annual gala and one of our chapter’s biggest fundraising events. This year, the gala will be hosted on April 30th at the beautiful Army Navy Country Club with approximately 250 guests. The evening will be complete with a cocktail hour, seated dinner, paddle raise, and special appearances by campers and families to provide testimonials as to how Kesem has impacted their lives. Share the Magic is the perfect opportunity to witness firsthand the power of Kesem in an elegant setting surrounded by those who cherish this organization most.