A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Life Adventure Center hosts Camp Kesem for a week of adventure for kids in families impacted by cancer

The heart of the Bluegrass is a special place for anyone looking for their own piece of tranquility and escape from a world that can oftentimes feel overwhelming.

Nestled within the natural beauty of central Kentucky, Life Adventure Center is no stranger to being the place that offers this escape in nature to those who need it most. That may be underserved kids, grieving kids, corporate employees or organizations on a retreat or individuals and families looking for outdoor fun. At Life Adventure Center there’s something for everyone.

To kick off the summer, LAC had the privilege of hosting Camp Kesem for its first ever visit to Kentucky for a week filled with outdoor adventures, loose teeth, swimming, bottle rockets, birthdays and opportunities for kids dealing with tough times to create a second family among their newfound peers.

“Camp Kesem is a place for kids who are dealing with a lot at home to feel like they have a second support system, a second family, a way to get away from all of their stressors and the things that scare them,” said Camp Director Sarah Landers.

Specifically, Camp Kesem works with children whose families have been impacted by cancer.

Yet, Kesem wasn’t created with the intention of being a depressing, downtrodden place.

“It’s not here to be something sad for them [the campers], but when we come here, we want to have fun,” Landers elaborated. “We want these kids to feel like they’re having a break from everything that worries them, so this isn’t something to be sad about– this is something to know that you have a family here.”

With these kids dealing with such seemingly insurmountable challenges, one of the main focuses for Kesem is to empower its campers in teaching them that they’re not alone and, of course, to be resilient.

At Life Adventure Center, that’s exactly the kind of help kids get.

“Our mission of serving underserved youth and instilling self-confidence, resiliency, and leadership skills lines up directly with Camp Kesem’s mission of helping kids build resiliency in troubling situations like having a parent with cancer,” said Program Director Byron Marlowe. “This is a program that we are very honored to host and look forward to hosting again in the future.”

During their time here, the campers were given opportunities to climb the rockwall, zipline, swim, explore, and even show off their skills in a talent show.

Yet, the most impactful thing they will take back with them is that they are not alone in their challenges — and more importantly, Marlowe says, they are powerful enough to conquer them.

Life Adventure Center has established a rich history of service to underserved youth since the late 1800’s. It emerged from a merger of the Life Adventure Camp and Versailles’ Cleveland Home orphanage in 1975. In 2013, LAC started management of the Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary in Frankfort.

The hear of their property is in the middle of the largest continuously wooded forest in Woodford County, when there is a large meeting space and picturesque views of the forest. There are bunkhouses offering overnight accommodations for up to 48 guests, perfect for corporate retreats, school outings or other multi-day programs.

Three rustic cabins provide a great retreat for 8-12 people.

And, of course, there’s an equestrian arena and a cross country course with 18-inch fences. There are also mountain bike trails and hiking trails — all are open to the public

For more information on all the opportunities for corporations, individuals and groups, see the website or email kathy@lifeadventurecenter.org

From Life Adventure Center

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