Here we are just a couple of days from the beginning of September – how did we get here so fast? I know that for me and all of us at Camp Good Days, we are still in shock about the untimely deaths of Ron Federico, Elizabeth Messick, Conner, Karl’s father, and Mark’s father. But, all in all, as I drove home last Thursday evening, after spending three days at the Recreational Facility, I thought that it has been a really good summer. I always measure the success of the summer by the reaction of our campers on the day it is time for them to head home. If we can send them home in the same condition they arrived in, and if they are not in a hurry to board the buses or vans to go home, then I am confident that we have done a good job!
As I think back over this summer, it is truly amazing how much has happened in so short a time. We had the NAVY Northeast Band visit the Camp Good Days’ Headquarters in Mendon, where the campers got to listen to the band and dance and play in the interactive demos and exhibits and I had the chance to meet Rear Admiral Quinn. Some of the campers got to attend the final practice, prior to the ESL International Air Show, of the Blue Angels at the Greater Rochester International Airport. Our campers from the Doing A World Of Good Program were the special guests of Trackmasters, Inc., spending a thrilling day at Watkins Glen International meeting the drivers and getting rides around the track in some fabulous cars. Campers had the chance to attend the Buffalo Bills Training Camp at St. John Fisher College, where they were the special VIP guests in the Buffalo Bills Community Relations Tent. We had the opportunity to take campers to the Western New York Flash game when they played Abby Wambach’s team, MagicJack, and to the Rochester Rhinos game.
A large number of visitors joined us for the Annual Summer Open House and although it rained, the skies cleared for the most important parts of the day – the Ring of Honor Induction Ceremony, and the Fireworks, which Young Explosives did an amazing job with again this year.
We also had a number of special guest visitors who took time out of their busy schedules to come to the Recreational Facility and be a part of all that makes Camp Good Days so special. We had performances from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra ensembles and the Finger Lakes Chamber Orchestra; we had our friends from the Aquatic Center teach the campers how to scuba, and we had the lovely ladies who come and help the campers bake cookies. The Rochester Rhinos soccer team came out and conducted a clinic with the campers and then spent some time just enjoying Camp Good Days, particularly the slip & slide. Other special guests included United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, Bill Hochul and Assistant US Attorney, Bret Puscheck; United States Marshal, Charles Salina; FBI Agent, David Zariczny; Monroe County Executive, Maggie Brooks; Monroe County District Attorney, Mike Green; Rochester Police Chief, James Sheppard; Keuka College’s new President, Jorge Diaz-Herrera; Rochester City School District Interim Superintendent, Bolgen Vargas, and many, many more.
The past week was our last official week of summer here and we began the week with the Corey-Coffey Golf Classic on Monday, held at Penfield Country Club. It was a tremendous event and the response was so overwhelming we had to have a morning and afternoon flight of golfers. There were 300 plus attendees at the dinner, held under the tent outside, and the day was a wonderful tribute in honor and memory of Lyle Corey and Bill Coffey, both of whom were such good friends and wonderful supporters of the children and families we serve. It was so nice to have Lyle’s wife, Joanne, and her children in attendance, and we want to give special thanks to Wayne LeChase, Bill Goodrich and the entire LeChase family; our great friends, Terry Clifford, Steve Hausmann and Newman at WBEE 92.5; and to Nicole Jones, the entire organizing committee and the staff members at Camp Good Days who all helped to make this a great event.
Last Monday we also kicked off our final week of programs for children at the Recreational Facility, hosting children who have or have lost a parent or sibling to cancer. It was an exciting week for these campers as on Tuesday the University of Rochester Football Team came to visit and on Wednesday, the St. John Fisher College Football Team came to visit. Players and Coaches from both teams had a great time and I always enjoy taking everyone on a tour and answering their questions about Camp Good Days and the many programs and services we provide. Both teams make this annual visit to Camp Good Days, in preparation for the Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL, which is the annual football game between the St. John Fisher College Cardinals and the University of Rochester Yellowjackets, to benefit Camp Good Days. This year’s Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL will be played on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Downtown Rochester. General Admission tickets are on sale now for a donation of $5.00 per student / youth and $7.00 per adult. Tickets can be obtained at the Sahlen’s Stadium Box Office, through www.ticketmaster.com, or by contacting us at Camp Good Days, 585-624-5555 or www.campgooddays.org.
If you want to see just a glimpse of the fun that was had during the team visits, check out www.YouTube.com/CampGoodDays79 for a video of the St. John Fisher College players joining the campers for a camp song!
In the early hours of Thursday morning, I was awoken at 3:00 AM by hail hitting the roof of our cabin and the crack of lightening, which hit and split the tree between the cabin I stay in and one of our boys’ cabins. The tree came down on the roof and we had to have that removed quickly on Thursday, but fortunately no campers were staying in that cabin at the time and everyone made it through the storm safe and sound, albeit a bit tired. It was a clear reminder of how powerful Mother Nature truly is!
Last Thursday, we held our third CANCER MISSION 2020 Congressional District Cancer Summit, with New York’s 29th Congressional District Representative, Tom Reed, and I was so pleased we could host this Cancer Summit at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility, which is located in the middle of the 29th Congressional District. Our Keynote Speaker was Candace Johnson, PhD, Deputy Director, Chair, Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Wallace Chair in Translational Research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and we were also fortunate enough to have special Guest Speaker, Lydia C. Pan, Director of Worldwide Policy at Pfizer, Inc. In addition to the Cancer Summit held last Thursday, we also held the 25th Congressional District Cancer Summit with Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle on Monday, August 15, 2011 at Upstate Medical University’s Weiskotten Hall, with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Stephen Edge, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Executive Committee., and the 28th Congressional District Cancer Summit with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter took place on Thursday, August 18, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Leslie Kohman, Distinguished Service Professor, Medical Director of Surgery, and Medical Director, Upstate Cancer Center at Upstate University Hospital.
The Congressional District Cancer Summits brought together leaders in government, health care, cancer patient groups and support service agencies, and other fields to discuss and plan how we can be a part of a larger, more collaborative and cooperative movement to cure cancer. Some of the topics discussed at the Cancer Summits included: educating ourselves and those around us about taking advantage of what we know now (screenings, diet and lifestyle changes, etc.); increasing the knowledge of and patient participation in clinical trials, especially in the cases of young adults and adults with cancer; having patients be able to participate in clinical trials without the fear or possibility of having their health insurance canceled as a result; publicly sharing the results of cancer research – we can’t afford to duplicate research efforts; converting the healthcare system from one that is illness-based to one that is wellness-based; calling for a National Cancer Summit, following a number of Congressional District Cancer Summits; and rekindling the belief and the will in the American people that cancer is a disease that will not be tolerated any longer and can be defeated! A report will be issued by Camp Good Days and CANCER MISSION 2020, which will compile and summarize the many topics, suggestions, ideas and recommendations that came out of the Cancer Summits.
PLEASE, if you have not yet checked out CANCER MISSION 2020, www.cancermission2020.com, please go to the site, sign the petition and join us in this important initiative. And please, share the site and the initiative with your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, co-workers, fellow parishioners, etc. It is going to take all of us, together, to finally find the answers and put an end to cancer by the end of the decade!
During the Cancer Summit at Camp Good Days, we also taped our monthly Radio Show, “Good Days & Special Times”, hosted by NEWS10NBC Anchor, Rich Funke and myself, which will air this Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 6:30 PM on WYSL NewsPower 1040AM and 92.1 FM. If you miss this show or any of the shows, just check out www.wysl1040.com for the podcast.
This past weekend, I spent both Friday evening and Saturday afternoon at Sahlen’s Stadium, for the final weekend of professional soccer this summer. The Rochester Rhinos continued their playoff run on Friday night, but unfortunately, despite playing hard, came up short. However, the Western New York Flash won the Women’s Professional Soccer Championship Game on Saturday, defeating Philadelphia in a game that came down to penalty kicks. Our congratulations go out to our good friend and Western New York Flash Goalkeeper Coach, Scott Vallow for a fantastic inaugural coaching season!
I am now back in Rochester and yesterday headed over to Irondequoit Country Club to tape a video clip for my good friend and our community’s good friend, Mike Green, and to have lunch with other friends, I.C. Shah and former Buffalo Bills standout Special Teams Player, Steve Tasker. Last night I was at Midvale Country Club to attend the Friends of Ramon Golf Tournament Dinner, where I had the chance to thank all those who participated for not only helping to keep Ramon Santiago’s memory alive but also supporting Camp Good Days. This tournament was one of a variety of special fundraising activities being coordinated by a group of friends of Ramon’s, and any proceeds will go to support the Arts & Crafts Program at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility.
The rest of this week is filled with meetings, catching up on things in the Mendon Office, and some football practices and photos over at St. John Fisher College. Getting back to the topic of football and the Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL, please, check out our website, www.campgooddays.org for all of the information about this year’s event, as we have some new and exciting things taking place!
We are thrilled to be partnering with Vanderstyne Toyota/Scion on the exciting Courage Bowl Car Raffle! The prize is a 2011 Toyota Corolla-S, valued at approximately $20,000.00, which has been made available through the generosity of Vanderstyne Toyota/Scion, led by Jay Vanderstyne and his son, Jay Jay Vanderstyne, who played in the early Courage Bowl games, as a standout member of the University of Rochester Football Team. The Courage Bowl Car Raffle is also being made possible through the support and generosity of Toyota Motor Sales. The Toyota Corolla is overall about three features…Performance. Style. Safety. One of the best selling cars in the world, it has agile handling, excellent fuel economy and a smooth comfortable ride. The drawing for the Courage Bowl Car Raffle will take place as part of the Halftime Show at Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL VII on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at Sahlen’s Stadium. Courage Bowl Car Raffle tickets are available for $25.00 each, for those ages 18 and older, and may be purchased by contacting Camp Good Days at 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135. More information may also be found at www.campgooddays.org. Each ticket will include a ticket to Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL VII on Saturday, September 17, 2011.
New to the Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL this year, Carry the Ball for Courage, sponsored by 13 WHAM TV, Advantage Federal Credit Union, Karpus Investment Management, and Excellus, will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011 and is similar to the Olympic Torch Relay. Camp Good Days is asking community members to donate some of their time and energy, as well as the support of their friends and family, to carry one of the “official” game balls for approximately one quarter of a mile en route from the Camp Good Days’ Headquarters in Mendon to Sahlen’s Stadium in Downtown Rochester. Routes have been mapped out from Camp Good Days’ Headquarters in Mendon, to St. John Fisher College, to Sahlen’s Stadium; and from Camp Good Days’ Headquarters in Mendon, to the University of Rochester, to Sahlen’s Stadium. Participants may register to Carry the Ball for Courage for a minimum donation of $25.00. Additional donations may be obtained via pledges. Participants may register as an individual or as a team, and may indicate their preferred route and preferred quarter-mile area. Registration forms may be obtained by calling Camp Good Days at 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135 or online at www.campgooddays.org, or www.13whamtv.com.
I am signing off now, as I am getting tired just writing this, but check back for another update next week. In the meantime I wish you all a safe, healthy and happy Labor Day Weekend!