All of Life : Camp Kesem

March 29, 2017  |  Andie Szyman

Name * Thomas and Natasha Hayden
What is your vocation?
Co-Directors for Camp Kesem at NAU
How would you describe your work?
We lead a team of college student leaders dedicated towards putting on a free weeklong summer camp for children touched by a parent’s cancer. When a parent is diagnosed with cancer, sometimes the children in the family are forced to grow up a little too quickly and often feel unheard or like they are alone. We seek to provide children with a transformative week where they can just be kids and escape the stresses of cancer.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?
Camp Kesem’s national staff really values their college student volunteers. Aside from our national staff, Camp Kesem is run completely by college student volunteers highlighting that although we are young, our student leaders possess the power to create change and make some beautiful out of brokenness. (1 Timothy 4:12)
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
Cancer is terrible and can truly tear a family apart, financially, emotionally, and mentally. We are able to see how cancer can affect not only the parent but also their spouses and children on a day to day basis. The children are not outwardly sick, but are going through a very rough time while their parent deals with this life-threatening disease.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?
Working with Camp Kesem as student leaders and as counselors allows us to give up a week of our summer and pour into some children that could use some hope. Throughout the week, you would notice that we rejoice when the kids rejoice but also mourn when they mourn. We become a family and love each other as such. (Galatians 6:2)