Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Important Dates

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

Camp Sessions

Summer 2020 Details TBA

Friends + Family Days

Fall Friends + Family Day

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Please contact us for more information!

Spring Friends + Family Day

Details TBA

Make the Magic

2020 Event Details TBA

Tickets Available Soon

Meet the Team

Ryan “Simba” Williams is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Narrative Studies who hopes to pursue a career in Television and Film development so that she can create television shows with more authentic stories and characters. She loves going out to brunch or dinner and going on artsy adventures around Los Angeles. This is Simba’s fourth year in Camp Kesem and she is looking forward to co-directing with Stitch this coming year. She cannot wait to see what we can accomplish this year.

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Hayley “Stitch” Kong is a senior majoring in Health and Human Sciences and minoring in Psychology. She loves working with kids and aspires to attend medical and become a surgical oncologist. During her downtime she can be found reading a book, working in the lab, or enjoying a cup of coffee. This is her fourth year with Camp Kesem and she is so thrilled to start her second year co-directing Camp Kesem USC!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Hatim “Hat” Eldawi is an exuberant senior majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Comedy in Performance. He loves making people laugh and hopes to one day be the host of the Late Night Show in LA! Hat has performed stand-up in Westside Theatre and Hollywood Improv and is a huge fan of sketch comedy. This is Hat’s second year in Camp Kesem and he is honestly counting down the days till next camp. He believes that Camp Kesem is his home. He is excited to work with Woodstock as AMP Directors!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Brennen “Woodstock” Lopez is a crazy kid and has been mistaken for a large blue unit camper before! He loves sports and making everybody laugh. He is a Business Administration major and is beginning to pursue a minor in Sports Media Studies. This is his second year in the Kesem family and is super excited to help USC Kesem be the best of the best!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Julia “Hiccup” Morelli is a junior from Park City, Utah, majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in health care studies. This is her second year with Kesem and she couldn’t be more excited to serve on the development team with Pikachu! She loves spending time with her family and friends, going on beautiful hikes, camping in the mountains, skiing every winter, watching movies, and traveling all over the world. She absolutely can not wait to go back to camp and see her orange campers!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Tommy “Bolt” Bartecki is a freshman majoring in Computer Science/Business Administration from just outside of Chicago. Bolt has been a swimmer his whole life and can often be found relaxing at the pool or beach (which he insists Chicago still has). This is his first year in Kesem, and he is extremely excited to attend camp for the first time this upcoming summer! Kesem hits close to home for Bolt as he lost his mom to cancer in December 2017, and he hopes to be as helpful and supportive to all the campers as his friends and family were to him during that time. Bolt is thrilled to be working alongside Hiccup as Development Co-Coordinator this year!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Megan “Po” Bacall is a senior majoring in Health and Human Sciences and minoring in Occupational Science. She is pre-PA and hopes to one day become a physician assistant specializing in pediatrics! You can most commonly find Po in the kitchen cooking or baking, waiting in line at Starbucks or at a Dodgers game! This will be her second year at camp and she is ecstatic to serve as a MTM coordinator along with her good friend, Giggles. She cannot wait to be back at camp!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Sarah “Giggles” Jimenez is a senior studying Health and Human Sciences with a minor in Health Care Studies! She hopes to go into the medical field one day and work in pediatrics. She loves to play soccer in her free time, go to the beach, and she is also a part time plumber (especially at camp)! Giggles is super excited to begin her second year with Kesem as Make the Magic Coordinator and cannot wait to start planning for camp!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Olivia “Chanos” Paige is a senior studying Public Relations and Marketing who loves Camp more than anything! She joins Camp Kesem for her second year, this year as an Operations Coordinator, after spending her whole life going to a summer camp near her hometown in Connecticut. She believes that Camp Kesem is a truly magical place and has loved meeting all the amazing campers and counselors, especially in Gold Unit! She’s a big foodie and her camp name comes from her favorite Mexican food place near USC.

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

John “Appleseed” Laverman is currently a junior at USC majoring in Film Production. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, he is adjusting gracefully to the severe lack of cacti in downtown Los Angeles. John can be found riding his longboard around campus, catching a movie, or working on his latest short film. This will be his 3rd year as a counselor and twelfth year attending Camp Kesem! He holds he position of Operations Co-Coordinator. Yeet as the kids say!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Serena “Snoopy” Allen is a second year at USC studying Public Policy with a double minor in Psychology and Arabic. She entered camp at the age of six through Camp Kesem UCLA after her mom was rediagnosed. Her mom is now in remission and she is going on my fifteenth year as a part of Kesem. In the future, She hopes to go on to be an International Human Rights Lawyer or college professor.

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Brandon “Charmander” Wolfe is a doctoral student studying cancer immunotherapy. He spends his time away from research watching WALL-E, practicing his earthbending, and traveling the world in search of all 807 Pokémon, all the while subsisting on oatmeal & coffee ice cream. He loves running and ran the 2015 LA Marathon for Camp Kesem! 2018-2019 Kesem is gonna rock our socks off and he can’t wait to put as much CK magic into it as he has been blessed with from years past!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Jonalynn “Roo” Chang is a senior studying Business Administration with minors in Computer Programming and in Web Technologies and Applications. An Oklahoma native, Roo values nothing more than spending time with her family (especially her dog). While she’s not busy photographing her dog, Roo can be found baking different desserts, exploring the outdoors with her friends, or doing aerial yoga. Roo is counting down the days until she can go back to camp to see all the campers again!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California


Elisa “Lava” Rocha
is a senior majoring in Global Health and minoring in Theatre. She is also a master’s student in Clinical Global Medicine. She loves to spend her time reading, baking, traveling, and hanging out at Disney. Her dream is to become a physician working with vulnerable populations in low to middle income countries, specifically women and children. This is Lava’s second year at camp and she is so excited to work as the Outreach coordinator and get to know all the families and campers!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Ryan “Uno” Ballard is a Senior studying Human Biology. He hopes to attend medical school to become an Oncologist. Uno enjoys playing football and baseball with his friends, eating, and playing card games. His favorite card game is … Uno! Uno knows first hand how much cancer can affect one’s life. He lost his father at a young age to prostate cancer, and he Kesems so that he can provide a strong network of support to those also effected by cancer.

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California
Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Brooke “Queso” Upchurch is a senior studying neuroscience. She fell in love with Kesem after joining her freshman year and is so excited to be serving as one of the Volunteer Coordinators now. After graduation, Brooke will pursue her masters degree in Global Medicine at USC before applying to medical school. When she’s not goofing off or studying, she enjoys hiking, reading, and visiting her home state of Texas.

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Novak “Thumper” Petrovic is a senior studying Neuroscience with a minor in Health Care Studies. Originally from Chicago, he made his way to the west coast at USC to escape the arctic winters! He hopes to attend medical school and ultimately become a Psychiatrist. When he’s not studying, you can find Thumper at the beach trying to body surf or eating a substantial amount of sushi. This will be his second year at Camp Kesem, and he couldn’t be more excited to be working with such an amazing team!

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Kalya “Triscuit” Stanten is a senior studying Biochemistry and from San Francisco. Although this is her last year of undergrad and fourth year at camp, she is hoping to have another when she continues to get her Masters in Stem Cell Biology next year, through USC. She has loved her time in Kesem and is excited to support all her fellow counselors as Volunteer this year! She is a dedicated member of the Green unit (12) #GreenGang

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

Andrew “Questlove” Nallathambi is a junior majoring in Cinema and Media Studies and minoring in Media, Economics, & Entrepreneurship. He kesems for his dad and grandma, the incredible campers, and for all kids who have a parent afflicted by disease/cancer. He’s astounded and inspired by the levity, humor, and perseverance each camper exhibits. Apart from camp, he loves the ocean, making short films, and freestyling.

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

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 University of Southern California

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

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

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

Camp Kesem at University of Southern California

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 University of Southern California

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

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

Chelsea Saurer, Regional Program Director – chelsea.saurer@kesem.org
Chelsea Saurer, Regional Program Director – chelsea.saurer@kesem.org

Chelsea joined the Camp Kesem National staff as a Regional Program Director for the Southern California region in 2018. A Sacramento native, she made the jump to SoCal to attend UCLA, where is was involved with Kesem all four years. She graduated with a degree in Sociology and Education, and a passion for working with children. Even though she misses her dog back in Sacramento, she loves living in LA. In her free time, you can find Chelsea eating ice cream, catching up on the latest in pop culture, going to concerts, or exploring the city.

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 University of Southern California

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