Camp Kesem at Iowa

Important Dates

Please use the "Contact Us" button above for questions on dates, times, or event details.

Camp Sessions

June 2-8, 2019

Y Camp

1192 166th Drive

Boone, IA 50036

Friends + Family Days

Fall Friends + Family Day

October 27, 2018

Please contact us for more details!

Spring Friends + Family Day

March 3, 2019

Please contact us for more details!

Make the Magic

April 6, 2019 at 6:30pm

Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City

328 S Clinton St

Iowa City, IA 52240

Tickets available now

Meet the Team

Kyra “Moose” Vercande is a senior studying cell and developmental biology and Spanish. She is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is a Director. Last summer Moose was the operations coordinator and a counselor at camp. Moose’s favorite memory from camp is going on a hike down a rocky creek and being inspired by the beauty of nature there. Moose’s camp name comes from the lovely and majestic animal that she adores. A fun fact about her is that her favorite animal is a giraffe.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Bailey “Toast” Knopf is a junior studying Biology. This is her 3rd year at camp. Her favorite memory from camp is losing the first annual Camp Kesem Iowa staring contest!

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Tyler “Bubba” Wills is a senior from Marion, IA studying Ethics & Public Policy on a pre-law track. His favorite memory from camp is, “watching the campers from getting dropped off on the first day as strangers, to leaving the last day as friends”. Bubba’s camp name comes from his five-year-old brother’s nickname for him. A fun fact about Bubba is he is cheer captain at the University of Iowa.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Julia “Bacon Bits” Romanowski is a sophomore studying biology on a Pre-Vet track. It is her second year at camp, and she can’t wait to experience it again. Julia was a Camp Kesem camper for 13 years at a different chapter, and loved being able to give back to the organization that gave her so much. Her favorite memory from camp was hearing her campers call her “Bacon Bits! WITH BEANS!”

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Zach “Ducky” Theiler is a senior on a Pre-med track. This is his first year at camp, and he is most excited for messy games. A fun fact about him is he loves to play Nintendo Wii.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Nick “Skippy” Pitcher is a junior majoring in biochemistry. A fun fact about him is that he was born in South Africa and came to the United States when he was 11, and just became a dual citizen last year. He’s looking forward to camp because he wants to see all the money they’ve raised as development coordinators come to fruition in the happiness of the campers. His camp name is Skippy because he eats an unhealthy amount of peanut butter everyday, usually Skippy, extra crunchy.

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Abi “Genie” Paravasthuramesh is a sophomore studying Biomedical Sciences. She is super excited to get to know all the campers and is looking forward to a great year working with the rest of the Coord Board leading up to the week of camp!

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Taylor “Lilo” Hayden is a junior studying nursing! She is from Benton County, Iowa and is one of our Make the Magic coordinators. Last summer Lilo was an outreach coordinator and a counselor in green unit. Lilo is excited to see more campers join our Camp Kesem family. “I Kesem for my family.” Lilo’s camp name comes from the sassiness she shares with Lilo and her dog who growls like Stitch. A fun fact about Lilo is that she can wiggle her ears.

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Samantha “Smackin” Mackin: This is Smackin’s first year with Camp Kesem! She’s a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry. In her free time she plays with her puppy and watches a lot of The Office. She’s very excited to be a co-operations coordinator this year so she can help plan an amazing week for our campers!

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Addison “Boo” Armstrong is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His favorite memory from camp is when all the kids would come up to me and scream “BOO!” with thumbs down. “I for all the kids and families who had to grow up so fast and take life quickly, I want all kids and families to be a kid again.” His camp name comes from when he was little and acted like a ghost with a blanket on his head and he ran into a coffee table. His favorite camp song is Peanut Butter Monday!

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Cole “S’moore” Moore: This is S’moore’s second year at Camp Kesem, and he is so excited. He is a junior majoring in Human Health and Physiology, on a Pre-Physical Therapy track.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Maddie “Madhatter” Gulick is a sophomore with an undecided major. She is from Okoboji, Iowa and is one of our outreach coordinators. Madhatter is excited to see all the kids at camp and hear their stories. “I Kesems because my aunt has struggled with cancer for too long and my cousin has gone to Camp Kesem for the past couple of years.” Madhatter’s camp name comes from her parent’s nickname from her. A fun fact about her is that she can raise one eyebrow at a time.

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Iowa
Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Aaron “A-A-Ron” Baker is a sophomore studying English and History. He is from Bettendorf, Iowa and is the Teen Leadership Program Coordinator. A-A-Ron’s favorite part of camp is meeting new friends and making fun memories. A-A-Ron’s camp name comes from the Key and Peele sketch, The Substitute Teacher. A fun fact about him is that he used to be a Camp Kesem camper. “I Kesem to help other kids who have had a parent with cancer.”

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Tayler “Tank” Tjaden is a sophomore studying business. This will be his first year at camp, and he is excited to meet all of the amazing kids. A fun fact about him is that the “T” in his last name is silent!

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Blake “Kelso” McClung: This will be Kelso’s second year with Camp Kesem UIowa. He is very excited for another great year and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this chapter!

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Sarah “Berri” Harding: This is Berri’s second year at Camp Kesem. She is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry. Berri’s favorite memory from camp was seeing the love and support everyone shared after the empowerment ceremony. There are no words to describe the unity everyone felt and how amazing it was to see the smiles exchanged especially during one of the best cinnamon roll group hugs ever!

Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa
Camp Kesem at Iowa

Our Supporters

In addition to the year-round support, services, and training we receive from Kesem National,
we are grateful to those who provide support to our local Camp Kesem chapter including:

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Our Advisory Board who provides ongoing guidance to our chapter’s leadership team.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Our corporate and foundation donors who provide critical resources to help fund the services we deliver locally.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

The many retail and service providers who offer in-kind support for our summer camp as well as many or our year-round services.

Camp Kesem at Iowa

Countless individuals – including our families and friends who honor our commitment to Camp Kesem with their financial support and unwavering encouragement.

Community Partners

Walk with Sally

Kling Family Foundation

The original funding to launch Camp Kesem at Iowa University was generously provided by the Evans, Basile and Probst Families.

Nationwide Community

How Kesem National Supports This Chapter

Kesem’s national staff of over 30 professionals is involved in all aspects of establishing and supporting each of our 100+ chapters nationwide as well as the training and oversight of all college student leaders. Our leadership program has been developed over the last 17 years and, while both rigorous and demanding, is focused on providing the highest level of support, service and safety for the children who participate in our programs.

The Kesem Program Director for this chapter (see below) is involved in all aspects of camp and our additional services. While your local student leaders are your primary contact for questions, you are also welcome and encouraged to contact their Program Director with other specific questions.

Walk with Sally

Meet This Chapter's Program Director

Kofi Bonsu, Regional Program Director – kofi.bonsu@kesem.org
Kofi Bonsu, Regional Program Director – kofi.bonsu@kesem.org

Kofi joined the Kesem National team in April 2019 as a Regional Program Director. He first became involved with Camp Kesem while attending the University of California, Irvine in 2015. Driven and excited by an opportunity to serve others who have also been affected by a parent's cancer, he served as an Operations Coordinator before becoming a Chapter Co-Director the following year. After graduating in 2017, he was blessed with an opportunity to continue serving the chapter as a CIT Counselor. Previously, he has also worked in higher education counseling, non-profit educational media, as well as with fostered, minority, underserved and underrepresented, youth populations. He hopes to do his part to help Kesem Magic spread so that no child ever has to go through cancer alone! Kofi is originally from San Diego, California and will be relocating to Chicago, Illinois.

Through and Beyond Support Services

Kesem Through and Beyond Support

Our free year-round services provide children impacted by a parent's cancer a continuum of touchpoints throughout the year.

Camp Kesem

Kesem's flagship program operates over 100 free summer camps in 40 states for children ages 6 to 18 who have been impacted by a parent's cancer.

Kesem
Warm Welcome

Kesem's care package program that immediately includes all families into our greater community in a personal, supportive manner.

Kesem
Friends + Family Day

Regular gatherings for existing and interested camper families, alumni, supporters and Kesem student leaders for a day of community building.

Kesem Connections

Provides Kesem families with regular updates including important deadlines and events.

Kesem By Your Side

Provides customized support for children through the many challenges associated with a parent or guardian's cancer journey.

Kesem
Special Deliveries

Provides all children with personalized greetings–delivered by either traditional or electronic mail.

Kesem
Online Resources

Provides online access to topical resources–including publications, books, organizations and resources.

Camp Kesem at Iowa