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Camp Kesem’s Best Jordan Kotler

Name: Jordan Kotler

Major: Community Health

Year: Senior

Hometown: Bethesda, MD

Instagram: @campkesemumd/@jordankotler

Favorite Sport: Figure skating for sure

Favorite dessert: Birthday cake ice cream!!


Q: What is Camp Kesem? How would you describe it 3 words?

Camp Kesem is a national nonprofit founded at Stanford University in 2000! Our goal is to provide support to children affected by a parent’s cancer through and beyond their illness. Our primary program right now is a free, week-long summer camp for kids to provide a community and space for them surrounded by other kids who get what they’re going through and to give them a reprieve from cancer. If I had to describe it in three words: family, acceptance, magic.


Q: How long have you been part of Camp Kesem?

I joined Camp Kesem in Fall 2017! I applied and was chosen as a counselor for UMD’s first ever week of Camp Kesem, and worked with girls ages 13-17. I’m now UMD’s AMP (Alumni, Marketing, & PR Coordinator), and get to spend my time talking about and promoting the most incredible organization in the world.

Q: Why did you choose to take part in Camp Kesem and does it relate to your major?

I heard about Camp Kesem from a few friends and was immediately drawn in. I’m applying to get my Masters in Social Work, so Kesem seemed like a perfect fit. I’ve had friends and family members affected by cancer and have seen how debilitating it is to a family. Two of my best friends’ parents had cancer and survived, and it’s a resource I wish they had as kids when their parents were sick. I didn’t realize how much it would teach me, from being able to show kids how to open up to each other to how to build a community to simply loving people for who they are and where they’re at. Kesem is the driving force in my future career; I want to work in a hospital with families affected by severe or chronic illness and disease because I’ve seen how terrifying cancer can be. No one should have to go through that alone.


Q: What is your biggest goal for Camp Kesem and how do you see yourself participating in Kesem after graduating?

After graduation, I hope to be able to donate to Kesem, and serve on Advisory Board! Once I’m a licensed Social Worker, I hope to work as a Mental Health Professional (MHP) at Camp Kesem and hopefully UMD’s Camp Kesem!

Q: What have you learned from Camp Kesem? What advice would you give to interested college students in Kesem?

Kesem has taught me compassion, patience, how to model emotions and be a role model for kids, how to be silly and laugh and dance at 6 am, how to roast the perfect marshmallow, and how to sit with pain and sadness and anger. I joined Kesem to help kids affected by a parent’s cancer, and never realized how much it would change who I am. It gives me so much purpose in my life and inspires me every single day to be my best (camp) self. Kesem encourages me to live louder, be sillier, and love harder.

Q: What are some words of advice?

GET INVOLVED!! There are so many varying levels of involvement, and above all else, Kesem is a family and support network. Follow us on instagram @campkesemumd, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CampKesemUMD/, or contact maryland@campkesem.org to get information about our upcoming events.

Audrey graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Information Sciences. She was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. She loves to travel around the world and always has her camera ready to capture everything so follow her on Instagram @audreynwid. Her life motto is 'Don't be afraid to defy the auds, pun intended.' Her furry partner in crime is a Shiba Inu named Hibiki who is quite the model and loves to go hiking. Check him out on Instagram @hibibblekiki
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