Youth Resident Camp

Our online registration portal has been updated for 2020!

Camp Sessions Start June 7!


Traditional Camp

9 Weekly Sessions • Ages 7 to 13

This program is designed for youth ages seven to thirteen and all activities are developmentally appropriate. Traditional Camp is the heart of our program, for here are made the special friendships and fond memories, which last a lifetime. It is recommended for both new and veteran campers. Traditional Camp will be offered during all summer sessions.

Week A June 7 to 13 Open
Week B June 14 to 20 Open
Week C June 21 to 27 Open
Week D June 28 to July 4 Open
Week E July 5 to 11 Open
Week F July 12 to 18 Open
Week G July 19 to 25 Open
Week H July 26 to August 1 Open
Week I August 2 to 8 Open

Specialty Camps

Diabetes Camp

June 28 to July 4 • Ages 8 to 14

Children with with manageable Type I or II Diabetes, subject to medical staff approval are welcome to apply for this residential camping program. This session will provide enhanced health care, diabetes education, assistance with dietary guidelines, in addition to all the Camp’s fun traditional outdoors activities!

Mini Camp

2 Session • Ages 5 to 10

This “introduction to camp” offers (2) half-week of resident camp for younger campers, ages 5-10, who may not desire a full week. All activities will be developmentally appropriate, but "Mini-Campers" will participate in a full range of programs. Mini Camp C will from from Wednesday late morning/afternoon to Saturday Morning. Arrival between 11:30 & 12:15pm on Wednesday and departure at 10:30am on Saturday. Mini Camp I will run from Sunday afternoon to Wednesday evening. Arrival at 3:00pm Sunday, and departure at 6:30pm Wednesday. Each year's Mini Camp has been a great success, and enrollment is very limited, so sign up soon!

Week Date Availability
Mini Camp C June 24 to 27 Open
Mini Camp I August 2 to 5 Open

Teen Camp

9 Weekly Sessions • Ages 14 to 16

Each week’s 14-16 year-old campers who are registered for Teen Camp will participate in and help to conduct their own more autonomous and exciting programs such as trip-camping, “extreme team,” climbing, sailboat racing, and many other great activities. Teen campers will be able to exercise their independence and responsibility by helping to create their own less-routine programs. They will also complete a Camp project and assist with special events.

Week A June 7 to 13 Open
Week B June 14 to 20 Open
Week C June 21 to 27 Open
Week D June 28 to July 4 Open
Week E July 5 to 11 Open
Week F July 12 to 18 Open
Week G July 19 to 25 Open
Week H July 26 to August 1 Open
Week I August 2 to 8 Open

Leader-In-Training Program

8 Two Week Sessions • Age 15 to 16

For campers who have successfully completed our Teen program.

Campers who are fifteen years old (by the start of camp), and who register for a two-week Leader in Training (LIT) session, will have a great time taking trips and participating in more mature projects, while also learning the responsibilities required of leadership. This experience is great for older teens who want both excitement and responsibility, and who are ready to handle more independence.

During their first week, they will participate in training, and during the second one they will assist in general cabin areas to help with the camp program. LITs will be able to help structure their own program, and activities include several off-camp trips. Successful LITs often return as staff members in future seasons. LITs may register for more than one session, and can attend any two consecutive weeks. Offered each week of summer youth camp. Weekend stay is not required, optional "in between" sessions available for an additional fee.

LIT A June 7 to 13 & 14 to 20 Open
LIT B June 14 to 20 & 21 to 27 Open
LIT C June 21 to 27 & 28 to July 4 Open
LIT D June 28 to July 4 & July 5 to 11 Open
LIT E July 5 to 11 & 12 to 18 Open
LIT F July 12 to 18 & 19 to 25 Open
LIT G July 19 to 25 & 26 to August 1 Open
LIT H July 26 to August 1 & August 2 to 8 Open

Camp Kesem at Cornell University / YMCA Camp Onyahsa

1 Session August 16- August 21

Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. By offering innovative, fun-­filled programs that foster a lasting community, we aim to ensure that every child impacted by a parent’s cancer is never alone.

For more information: click here to email Camp Kesem.

For Parents and Caregivers

What is Camp Kesem?

Camp Kesem is the flagship program of Kesem. It is a free overnight summer camp (typically 5 nights long) for youth impacted by a parent’s cancer. To see a video about camp, please click here.

How much does camp cost?

Our summer camps (as well as all other year-round programs offered by Kesem) are completely free of charge.

Who can attend?

Camp Kesem serves youth ages 6-18 who have lost a parent to cancer, have a parent undergoing cancer treatment, or whose parent is a cancer survivor – an estimated population of over 5 million children in the United States.

When the term parent is used at Kesem, it includes any parent or guardian who has primary or legal responsibility for a child. This includes biological, adoptive, and foster parents. It can also include grandparents and other relatives in clear parenting roles.

Can children attend camp if their parent had an illness or disease that is not cancer? What about if their sibling or other relative has cancer?

With over 5 million children impacted by a parent’s cancer, Camp Kesem is not able to support the broader circle of children whose parents have had other illnesses, or children who are affected by a non-parent or guardian’s cancer. For children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver (due to non-cancer illnesses) visit our Parent Resources page for additional organizations that can offer support. If you have questions and want to determine if your child is eligible for our program, please contact For a list of camps for children and siblings of children with cancer, visit this resource.

Is this a day camp or a sleepaway camp?

Camp Kesem is a sleepaway camp (meaning that campers stay overnight at camp – also known as a residential camp).

Where do the camps take place?

Each Camp Kesem college chapter holds their camp in an off-site camp facility for the week of camp. These campsites are not tenting campsites, but are well-equipped campsites with cabins, activities, cafeterias, etc. Campsites that we rent are held to high standards, and are often YMCA, Girl Scout, or other professional camping venues. Campsites are typically located within 2-3 hours of the college chapter.  Please visit each camp’s website for details on their specific site.