Camp Kesem, a camp for kids affected by a parent's cancer, allows kids to replace worry with fun for a week and just be kids. There's nothing quite as special as a week of gibberish songs, crazy games, powerful stories and meaningful relationships. Spending a week at Camp Kesem can really change a person.
1. Some of your biggest heroes are 6 years old
You never thought you could be so inspired by someone in kindergarten, but after seeing the strength and resilience of Kesem campers, you feel so lucky to even be in their presence.
2. You get strange looks on campus when you scream hello to your camp friends
What? Have you met my friends Pitchfork, Bucket and Window?
3. Your non-camp friends get annoyed when you can't stop talking about camp
"And then we put on the Whip Nae Nae and ... maybe you had to be there."
4. You constantly have camp songs stuck in your head
It's fine. You've gotten used to "Jellyfish" being your lullaby every night.
5. There's always that one kid who gets on your nerves - but they have a breakthrough
All I'm asking is for you to please not run away from camp today - do you think you can handle that?
6. You tear up just thinking about the empowerment ceremony
While the stories are heartbreaking, it's happy tears knowing how brave each and every camper is.
7. You wear your Kesem gear while traveling, just in case you run into someone from Kesem at another school
Knowing you're connected to a national network of the coolest kind of people makes you want to meet them all.
8. You dread the day you will have to watch EOTs yet again
Oh, so you're saying I shouldn't leave 5-year-olds unsupervised in the lake? Got it.
9. Your Facebook friends are probably annoyed that you keep asking for donations
Hi. Have you heard of Camp Kesem? Oh, you saw this yesterday? Well, you'll hear about it tomorrow, too. And the next day. And the next day, And ...
10. You're never short on ice-breaker activity ideas
"Nice to meet you, professor. Do you want to gather a group of people and hold hands and try to untangle ourselves?"
11. Knowing you're surrounded by your Kesem family helps you get through any difficult situation
You laugh together, cry together and dance together. Camp Kesem is the best support system in the world.
12. Camp Kesem has made you a better person
Camp Kesem is just one big lesson in compassion, understanding, patience, responsibility and friendship.
13. Trying to explain the magic of camp to others is impossible
It's kind of just like the greatest thing ever because, you know, it just is.
14. You force everyone you know to do Wow Pow Chow with you before bed
OK, Mom, what was the best thing you ate today, though?
15. Explaining your entire summer to someone means 99 percent of it will be about the one week of camp
Yeah, I went to Spain, but on the first day of camp ... .
16. There's no other student group you are more proud to be a part of
You believe nothing could possibly be as fulfilling as helping a child overcome their parent's cancer.
17. You can't listen to that Miranda Lambert "Little Red Wagon" song without thinking about a bunch of kids yelling at each other
"The front seat's broken and the axle's dragging."
18. Before camp, you never thought you would get up in front of everyone at the talent show
But next thing you know, you're on stage with your favorite people doing a ridiculous dance you made up without a care in the world.
19. When someone says Karl, you assume they're talking about a fluffy caterpillar
Oh, your name is Karl? But you're like -- a human?
20. You have almost accidentally signed an email "CK Love" to someone not in Kesem
That would've been a fun one to explain to your boss.
21. Unexpectedly seeing a camper outside of camp is always a blessing
Fate knew it couldn't possibly keep you apart for a whole year.
22. You take up every opportunity to hang out with camp people
Camp: check. Make the Magic: check. Debrief: yep. Volunteering: I'm there. Training: not even mad. Scrubbing the floor of the hockey arena: I can do that, too.
23. You never think you'll ever actually make it to your fundraising goal, but somehow pull it off
How in the world am I supposed to raise $500 when I only have like 27 cents in my bank account?
24. You can't make toast without breaking out into a rap
Toast definitely deserves its own rap, considering that's what you lived off of all week at camp. Just remember this pro tip: If it pops up too soon, push it back down.
25. You know camp friends better than friends you've had for years
You went into camp as strangers, but then you saw each other drenched in sweat and paint and mud with your haven't-showered-in-four-days hair, twisting your body into unnatural positions, all while singing gibberish camp songs, and there's nothing really more connecting than that.
26. You're amazed at how well your crew cleans up at Make the Magic
Wait, so this is what you look like when you've showered?
27. You get upset when you have to take off all your friendship bracelets
What do you mean 30 friendship bracelets on my arms and ankles isn't professional for my internship?
28. Campfire has become your new favorite scent
Nothing really brings you back to camp quite like the memories of sitting by the campfire, sweaty after a long day, taking in the night sky and singing songs.
29. You feel really old when you realize you have no idea what celebrities your campers are talking about
Who? Aaron Carpenter? You mean Aaron Carter? No? You don't know who Aaron Carter is?
30. You try to explain made-up camp games to your friends, but they just don't get it
"Well, basically, you run around with socks filled with flour and hit each other."
31. Your friends have accepted your made up vocabulary
Oh, a le le. A le le tiki tonga.
32. You wish it was socially acceptable to be as goofy as you are at camp every day
I guess starting out a class presentation with a "repeat after me" song isn't a normal thing to do.
33. You've tried to figure out how to become a professional camp counselor for the rest of your life
There has to be a way. We must find the loophole.
34. You find yourself looking at old pictures and notes and reminiscing about camp
Only 360 days until camp next year.
35. There are just too many things that remind you of camp
It's hard to even make it through the day without something to trigger your mind back to camp.
36. You love watching movies about summer camp
"What are you watching?" "Oh, this foreign film from the 1970s. It's completely in Portuguese, but it's about a summer camp."
37. Camp has made you even more motivated to fight against cancer
Cancer sucks and Camp Kesem won't stop until cancer is 100 percent cured, but giving kids a place to forget about worry and just be kids is a good place to start.
38. You can't wait to go back
Above all, you know Camp Kesem is the most special place on earth.