As I have said many times, there is no real quiet time here at Camp Good Days. Things have been crazy since my last post, but I thought I should take a few minutes and catch everyone up.
I can’t thank enough all those who came to the Pittsford Town Board Meeting on May 1, 2012 as I was presented with the 2011 Citizen of the Year Award. It was a complete surprise when I received the call from Pittsford Town Supervisor, Bill Carpenter, to let me know that I had been selected for this very special honor and to hear that my childhood friend, Bob Michaels, had nominated me. I headed to the Pittsford Library that evening, expecting a short presentation and a couple of close friends to be there. I was truly overwhelmed by the number of people who took the time out of their evening, for a presentation that was not part of an event or dinner, to come and show their support. It meant so much to me and the chance to see so many friends, some of whom I have not seen in many years, was something I won’t soon forget. My gratitude and thanks go to Supervisor Bill Carpenter, the Pittsford Town Board, and all those who attended that evening.
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, Camp Good Days hosted our 12th Annual Finger Lakes International Wine Auction Dinner at the Rochester Plaza Hotel. The event was a sellout again this year, and event Chairman, Peter Parts, along with Ron Dougherty, David Male, Jayne Van Zile, Val Migliore, and the entire organizing committee did another outstanding job. Matthew Chung, who again served as our Auctioneer and my good friend, Rich Funke, who served as our Master of Ceremonies, both did their part in making the evening special for all the attendees. The people at the Rochester Plaza could not have been more accommodating. Special thanks go out to Scott Greene, Head Football Coach at the University of Rochester and his players who came to our office in Mendon that Friday to help us move all of the wine to the Rochester Plaza; Athletic Director, Anthony Bianchi and all of the student athletes from the Aquinas Institute of Rochester who helped to set everything up on Saturday morning and afternoon; and to the Victor Football players and Booster Club, who spent Saturday evening helping to get all of the wine and auction items to the winning bidders. An event of this magnitude would not be possible without all of their help and support! The highlight of the evening came when Katie Bess, who was a camper here at Camp Good Days and now serves as a volunteer, spoke about her battle with cancer and what being a part of the Camp Good Days’ family has meant to her and the impact we have had on her life. Following Katie’s remarks, more than 95 people stood up to be counted in the Camper Call. It was unbelievable to see person after person after person stand up and pledge their support. We do not yet have all of the final figures, but I am confident that this event was another resounding success and that we have reached our goals.
Last Wednesday afternoon, we had the second of three meetings for the committee that has been assembled by Dr. Byron Kennedy, Deputy Director of the Monroe County Health Department and I, in regards to the plan we are developing to address cancer in Monroe County, where cancer is the leading cause of death. We had another great meeting and it is truly exciting to have some great people at the table who are willing to lend their ideas, support and hard work to put this plan into place. We will be presenting the plan to County Executive, Maggie Brooks this summer and once it is final, we will make that plan available on our CANCER MISSION 2020 website, http://www.cancermission2020.com/. If you have not yet checked out the website or have not checked back recently, please do so. On the site not only can you sign the CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition, lending your support to our efforts, but you can see the CANCER MISSION 2020 Legislation, HR 5283, which has been introduced into Congress by Congressman Tom Reed. And again, I ask you to share this site and the petition with your contacts so that we can continue our progress forward in putting an end to cancer by the end of the decade!
On Friday and Saturday, May 11-12, 2012, we officially kicked off our 33rd summer at Camp Good Days. We hosted a group of young people from the Teen Empowerment and Pathways to Peace programs for a special overnight. We had some beautiful weather and I think the participants had a good two days, as I had the chance to speak to group and also to listen in on some of the workshops they attended. Overall it was a good weekend and the Recreational Facility looks great!
This past Friday, May 18, 2012, we held the first Project T.I.P.S. event for the 2012 season. By all accounts this was a great kick off for the season. Project T.I.P.S. stands for Trust, Information, Programs & Services, and includes community agencies and law enforcement personnel working in selected neighborhoods to rebuild trust amongst residents and share information. From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, groups including one Police Officer, one Fire Fighter, and two volunteers, visit residents within the neighborhood to create conversations about quality of life issues, as well as to obtain information about the crime and violence that has plagued the neighborhood, in an anonymous format for residents. The groups also provide residents with information and contacts they can use regarding services that range from health care issues (cancer, diabetes, heart disease) to reporting information for things such as crime, vandalism, and fire. Project T.I.P.S. continues from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM with a community cookout and get together where residents can come and obtain more information from service providers and law enforcement agencies, as well as have some food and beverages, and have the opportunity to visit with their neighbors that they know and meet some neighbors they may not know. Since its inception in the summer of 2008, Project T.I.P.S. has quickly evolved into a community-wide effort with support and participation from our Partners Against Violence Everywhere (PAVE) Initiative and Project Exile Advisory Board, as well as the Rochester Police Department, Rochester Fire Department, City of Rochester Recreation Department, New York State Police, New York State Parole, Pathways to Peace, Monroe County Probation, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Monroe County Department of Human Services, Humane Society at Lollypop Farm, Rise Up Rochester, and numerous other law enforcement and community agencies.
Jones Park was an ideal location, we had a great turnout of community residents and most importantly, the children from the area had the chance to get something to eat, ride the horses, see the different demos and displays, and have a safe and fun afternoon. I think I speak on behalf of all the participating agencies when I say we are looking forward to the upcoming Project T.I.P.S. events planned for this summer.
On Friday evening, Wendy and I headed to Sahlen’s Stadium to take her Dad to the Rochester Rhinos’ game, during which they tied the Dayton Dutch Lions. We are so thankful to have been given the opportunity, again this season, to have the Camp Good Days’ Quarters for Cancer promotion at each of the soccer games held at Sahlen’s Stadium. Quarters for Cancer includes staff and volunteers collecting donations as attendees come into the stadium and we have an informational table set up just inside Gate D. We are still looking for volunteers to help at the games and if you are interested, please contact Laura Osborn at 585-624-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to send you the game schedule and get you signed up!
On Saturday morning, Wendy and I were up bright and early and headed to Camp, as we also had our first session of the Women’s Oncology Program, the Women’s Arts & Crafts Program, taking place this past Friday – Sunday. It was so nice that all of the women who registered for the program were actually able to attend. I had the chance to observe the various activities and speak with some of the participants who were all having a good time. I also had the chance to meet with some visitors from the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, who flew up to New York to visit Camp Good Days. I met these folks last month during the Annual Florida Fun Fest and we are all excited to be working together on plans to have some of the children they serve attend our programs here at Camp Good Days and they have also lent their support and are assisting us in the efforts for CANCER MISSION 2020.
On Sunday I took care of some personal things at home and come Monday morning, Wendy and I were back on the road to Camp. We met with some visitors from the Harlem Boys & Girls Club and discussed some ways in which we might be able to collaborate, by having some of their participants who would qualify, attend some of our camping programs, as well as arranging for a special trip for some of our campers to visit the New York City area. We also went with them to view some land they have had donated, located outside of Bath, New York and gave them some ideas and suggestions as to how they best might develop that land.
We made it back to Rochester in time to head to Frontier Field for the Rochester Red Wings game. It was the Rochester / Monroe County Youth Board’s Bullying Prevention Night at the game. Wendy is the President of the Board for the Rochester / Monroe County Youth Board and she had to attend and I wanted to lend my support.
This morning I had breakfast with an old friend and longtime Camp Good Days’ supporter, Jim Capellupo. I spent a couple hours in the office and then went to NEWS10NBC to tape an interview about CANCER MISSION 2020 with Ray Levato for the Rochester In Focus show. Later this afternoon we met with Jay and Jay Jay Vanderstyne from Vanderstyne Toyota to finalize details and logistics for the 2012 Camp Good Days’ Car Raffle. We are beyond grateful that because of the generosity of the Vanderstynes and Toyota Motors we will be able to conduct a raffle again this year. Tickets will be available very soon so check out our website, www.campgooddays.org for more details!
This evening we have a Training Session for returning volunteers in the Rochester area and we are looking forward to seeing everyone and sharing our plans and goals for the summer camping programs. There is also an Open Cup series game for the Rochester Rhinos so the Quarters for Cancer table will be set up at Sahlen’s Stadium.
Tomorrow morning we have our weekly Staff Meeting and a meeting of our Tournament of Love Committee and then I personally am looking forward to heading to the Rochester Riverside Convention Center for the Rochester Press Radio Club’s Day of Champions Dinner, where I will be receiving the Major Donald Holleder Award. I say I am receiving this award, but truly I am accepting it on behalf of the thousands of people who have been involved with Camp Good Days, supported our many efforts, and helped to keep Teddi’s memory and legacy alive, because it is all of them who have helped to make all that we have accomplished possible – as I say often – I am just the pretty face!
As you can see, it’s very busy. I am exhausted already and it’s only Tuesday! Wishing all of you a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!