DITTMER, Mo. — In Dittmer, Missouri, there is a method to the madness.
A chance to remember that you're allowed to forget for a while.
The activity on the schedule is the Messy Olympics.
"The whole camp comes together and they have this obstacle course, sometimes there's a slip and slide. And they'll put paint, Hersey's syrup or flour on it and you get really messy," explained 11-year-old Celine Barnett.
It's just another day at Camp Kesem.
"Kesem means magic in Hebrew," said Camp Director Shannon Pace. "And we try to provide magic for these kids that are going through a really rough time."
Kids who come here get to swim and go fishing but behind the dozens of happy smiles are a thousand emotions.
"It's a camp where people can feel safe to share their feelings," 14-year-old Oliver McDougell said.
McDougell started coming here when his mom was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma.
"It kind of crushes you," he said. "No kid should ever see their parent in pain like that."
Celine Barnett knows the feeling.
"It was terrifying. It was like a nightmare I couldn't get out of," she said.
Celine's dad died of prostate cancer and her mom is a breast cancer survivor.
In fact, every camper here shares a bond. Camp Kesem is a free summer camp put on by St. Louis University for kids affected by their parents' cancer.
Pace is not just the camp director, she's also a recent nursing school graduate. She believes that healing yourself is connected to healing others.
Her heart opened after it was broken. She lost her dad to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"He was my biggest supporter and definitely my hero," Pace said. "He definitely pushed me to be at my best and do my best always."
Don't get the wrong idea. This camp is much more about fun than feelings. But for those campers that feel alone, it's nice to be alone together.
"A lot of times I think it's just helpful to get it off your chest because you could have it building up inside of you and you have to let it out," McDougell said.
It only lasts one week but the impact stays with these kids a lot longer.
"It gave me strength knowing that all these people were here to help," added Barnett.
Camp Kesem, turning bad days into the best day of summer.