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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

Camp Kesem! by Hamsika C. '13

It's magical.

Exactly three weeks from today, I’ll be done with my freshman year of college. SCARY.
Two midterms, two short stories, four final exams (ahhh, finals…), and several doses of caffeine lie between me and that fateful day, when I shelve my textbooks and notes and give it up for three wonderful summer-y months.

I have a few things lined up for the summer, and one that I’m extremely excited about is Camp Kesem – or Camp ‘Magic’ :) This might sound familiar to those of you who have been reading the blogs for a long, long while; Melis ’08 wrote about it a few years ago, when the MIT branch of Camp Kesem was initially founded.

Essentially, Camp Kesem is a free week-long summer camp for kids of cancer patients; more importantly, it’s a chance for these youngsters to forget about difficult times at home for just a little while and to immerse themselves in pure camp fun.

I’m lucky enough to be one of the CK 2010 counselors :) We’ve already been working really hard to make this year’s camp a great success. Our hope is to send 60 kids to Camp Kesem this summer, some of whom will be teens! This is the first time that CK-MIT has a teen program – it’s going to be awesomeee.

Since camp is free of cost, the other counselors and I have dedicated quite a bit of time and effort towards fundraising. Our fundraising goal is $55,000, and each counselor is responsible for raising at least $400. In general, I’m not that great at fundraising because I’m really awkward about asking people for money. But somehow, I’ve managed to raise about $200 so far; I think there’s something about the general premise of Camp Kesem that people (myself included) find immensely appealing: kids helping kids. I love the way that sounds.

Our fundraising ideas tend to be pretty creative. One that I find particularly hilarious is Stuff My Cups, which may be more effectively described with a picture:


The guys shamelessly donned certain *ahem* female attire (never before worn, just fyi…) during CPW, the Boston Marathon, and a few other events; aside from eliciting a general sense of amusement, they also proceeded to raise thousands. I admit that this tactic is slightly crude, but each and every cent we raised went towards Camp Kesem. And people truly appreciated our eccentricity in light of the cause we were supporting.

Throughout this semester, we’ve had counselor training sessions, and though they take up a good six hours during the weekend, I enjoy them immensely. We play games, make skits, sing songs (in an obnoxiously loud and delightful manner), and practice skills we’ll need at camp. I admire each and every one of my fellow counselors, some of whom have struggled with cancer in their own families. Together, the forty or so of us manage to laugh at everything; there’s such a huge sense of belonging: if I ever need anything, I definitely have an entire group of people willing to help me out.

I know that you seniors only have a few days to commit to a college, but if you choose MIT (and you should =P), do consider being a part of Camp Kesem! If you’d like to know more about CK-MIT, take a look at these links:

CK-MIT Website
MIT Spectrum article on founder (and Rhodes Scholar! WOOT!) Caroline Huang
Interview with Caroline Huang

I’ll keep you updated on how Camp Kesem goes :)

13 responses to “Camp Kesem!”

  1. Rain says:

    love love love! CLAM (CK love and mine!) =)

  2. Nathan says:

    I saw you guys at CPW! Congratulations on doing so well with the fundraiser for a great cause!

  3. Armin says:

    No shame, just watch Barnyard and you’ll see Otis has got udders.

    P.S: Long time, no sign of Paul. Lucid Lynx is coming in a few hours.

  4. Shariar says:

    The Guys are wearing braaa!! raspberry

  5. Louis '14 says:

    I saw you at CPW!!! This seems really cool. I work at a camp with a similar concept over the summer and it’s great to see stuff like this going on all over. How and why did you get involved and get to be a counselor?

  6. Hamsika '13 says:

    @ Nathan – thanks smile

    @ Louis – which organization do you work with? I became a CK counselor by going through a brief app/interview process earlier this year. I don’t know exactly how many counselor applications there were, but apparently, it was really competitive. As for why I wanted to do CK, there were several reasons: one of my friends described it to me last year, and her excitement for CK was hugely contagious. Plus, I’ve never been to camp before – so this gives me a chance to catch up on childhood, haha. And finally, I love kids – and giving them a chance to goof off and have fun when they might otherwise not get to is something I find really meaningful smile

  7. rohit says:

    I’ve luved all of your blogs di!they helped me alot to know mit.I am gonna apply for freshman 2011! thanks for your interesting and informative blogs.
    with lots of luv Rohit!
    waiting for more and more blogs!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I saw the bra on one guy and then went: ahh…the prints people wear on T-shirts these days! I ignored it and kept on reading but something told me to rake a closer look at the picture. Well, what do you know, MIT guys wear bras too! I love MIT. Love. Love. Love.

  9. Armin says:

    Watch out for the boobsqauke, even guys can cause earth start shaking :p

  10. BHARGAB DASH says:

    will anybody plz chat wid me.
    i m from india.
    want admission at mit.
    so plz help me. thanx…

  11. RAJ KAMAL says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    Getting admission in MIT has nothing to do with chat and all.
    You have to get it on your own and that depends on your capabilities.
    Any information you will need is provided by [email protected] and admissions website.

    Don’t put such comments (like chatting and email id’s and all) on MIT Admissions students’ blogs.