The past few weeks have just flown by and have been busy! I was recently in Orlando, to see some friends and work out some of the details and plans for our upcoming Florida Fun Fest, during which we will be bringing a group of campers to the Central Florida area, as well as to work on CANCER MISSION 2020 and while I was there, I saw firsthand the fallout from the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. It is my hope that out of Trayvon’s tragic death will come something positive, in the form of a learning experience for citizens across our country.
For the past 13 years, I have been pleased to serve as the Chairman of the Project Exile Advisory Board, which is a group of law enforcement, prosecutorial, community and business leaders, all working together to remove illegal guns and drugs from the streets of our community. One thing I have learned through my involvement with Project Exile, as well as through attending the FBI Citizen’s Academy and the Rochester Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy is that the presence of a gun elevates any human interaction to a potentially life or death situation. No one should be carrying a gun without the proper training and experience, and there needs to be a clear definition of the role of neighborhood watch participants so that they understand that they are there to help and assist law enforcement in serving and protecting their community.
Although the facts and details are still coming to light, this tragic loss of a 17-year-old young man has forever changed the lives of his family, and George Zimmerman’s life is forever altered. If Zimmerman had not had that gun, there is a very good chance that both of them would still be here today.
Hopefully all of the conversations and demonstrations that have come about as a result of this tragedy will become a teaching opportunity and a learning experience and will lead to some real changes, including a federal uniform policy when it comes to handguns, which will help to prevent a situation like this from happening in the future.
I believe it is the right of any law-abiding citizen to legally own a gun, but along with that right and ownership comes an awesome responsibility. Legal gun owners need to understand the gun they are purchasing, have a comprehensive background check, and know how to properly store and lock their guns, when they are not in their possession, so that they do not end up in the hands of those who ought not to have them (i.e. burglaries, car break-ins).
The tragedy of Trayvon’s death was avoidable and unnecessary and the subsequent situation, by the time it is through, will cost the American citizens millions in tax payer dollars. Let us hope that this tragedy will end in something positive and with a beneficial return on our tax payer investment.
In other news, the 12th Annual Finger Lakes International Wine Competition took place last weekend and the event continues to be amazing! We received more than 3200 entries from 788 wineries, including 109 New York State Wineries, from 22 different countries around the world, all 50 states and five Canadian Provinces. All of the entries were evaluated by a world-renowned panel of judges representing distributors, educators, enologists, sommeliers, restaurateurs, winemakers and writers. These diversified experts came from all over the United States and around the world. The judges spent Saturday, March 23rd and Sunday, March 24th evaluating all of the wine entries and spent Monday, March 25th touring the Finger Lakes Region of our state and visiting some of our fantastic Finger Lakes’ wineries.
For a complete listing of our judges, as well as the medal winning wines, check out www.fliwc.com.
Over the past 12 years, the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Auction Dinner has become the largest fundraising event in the Greater Rochester area to support the children and families at Camp Good Days. The medal winning wines, along with some great live and silent auction items will be featured at the 12th Annual Wine Auction Dinner on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the Rochester Plaza Hotel. Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased by contacting us, here at Camp Good Days, 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135 or can be purchased online via www.campgooddays.org.
In regards to CANCER MISSION 2020…THE END OF CANCER BY THE END OF THE DECADE, we have some exciting things taking place. We are looking forward to our first meeting on April 11th with a small, working committee to develop a plan for addressing cancer in Monroe County, where cancer is now the leading cause of death. We have a good group of people committed to being a part of this plan’s development and we look forward to sharing more information about this in the coming weeks.
Our College Campus Advocates are working hard on their respective campuses to help us spread the word about CANCER MISSION 2020 and generate awareness about where we currently stand in our fight against cancer. Our advocates at St. John Fisher College held a CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition Drive this past Monday and Tuesday and did a great job in obtaining petition signatures from their fellow students. The advocates at the University of Rochester are working on a CANCER MISSION 2020 Forum for mid-April and more details about that event will be available soon.
PLEASE…if you have not yet done so, check out www.cancermission2020.com, learn the facts about where we stand in the fight against cancer and if you feel the way that we do, sign the CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition and share the site with your network of contacts. There is strength in numbers and we need everyone’s support!
Summer will be here before we know it and things are coming together for a fun and exciting summer season here at Camp Good Days. Registration Forms for all of our programs are available now and complete program information and online registration can be found on our website, www.campgooddays.org. To obtain a hard copy of the program brochures and registration forms, please contact our Headquarters at 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135.
We are always looking for a few good men and women to serve as volunteers for the many programs. Volunteer Applications for the summer programs are also available now, either online at our website, www.campgooddays.org, or by calling 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135.
All of our programs and services are provided free of charge so please help us give some good days and special times to someone you know who is dealing with cancer…share our program information or become a volunteer!
As we approach the Easter and Passover holiday, it is important to take some time and reflect on our lives and be conscious and thankful for our blessings. I wish all of you a beautiful holiday and don’t forget to check out our website, www.campgooddays.org, for all of the most up-to-date information about our programs, services, volunteer opportunities and upcoming events!