Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Night of Gratitude!

There are few places in which you can bring together a group of people, of varying age, race, gender, and life experience, and have them all be there for the same reason – to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. I have been so blessed over the past 30 years that Camp Good Days is one of those rare places. We have had thousands and thousands of volunteers and supporters over the years that have all come to Camp Good Days with one common goal – to improve the quality of life for children and their families whose lives have been touched by cancer.

Each year, we honor some of these men and women who have truly gone above and beyond in helping us to fulfill our mission. We have traditionally presented the Teddi Awards and the Ring of Honor inductees at our Annual Holiday Party, but we felt that these special people deserved a special night of their own, where we could take the time to really recognize and honor their endless hours of dedication, time and love to the children and families we serve.

This past Friday evening we held our first Annual Night of Gratitude and by all accounts it was a wonderful success! Some 200 guests including our honorees, their families, friends, and other volunteers and supporters of Camp Good Days gathered together at the Rochester Plaza in downtown Rochester.

During A Night of Gratitude, we recognized those individuals selected as recipients of the Teddi Award, named in memory of my daughter, Teddi, the inspiration behind Camp Good Days, who are all people who throughout the course of 2009 gave above and beyond to the children and families at Camp Good Days.

Some, like Frank Towner, Dave O’Brien, John Brown, Canandaigua National Bank and the Rochester Red Wings, stepped up in the past year to help us celebrate our 30th Anniversary Year; while others such as Stacey & Chris Ruisi, Lynne & Randy Stiefler, Tony Gasparre, Judy & Merrill Greenstein, Scott Vallow, Key Bank in Buffalo, and the managers and employees at JC Penney stores in the Rochester area, helped to ensure that our many special fundraising events were successful, enabling us to raise the funds necessary to continue providing all of our programs free of charge for the participants. The recipients like Tom Kelly, Bell Steffen, Lenny Craft, and Dawn Hezel are all volunteers who are there for us every time we ask, helping us to provide our campers with safe, fun and unique residential camping programs and year-round recreational and support activities.

THANK YOU to all of our Teddi Award recipients for all they did to help Camp Good Days and CONGRATULATIONS on your Teddi Award!

We also recognized those selected for induction into the Camp Good Days’ Ring of Honor. The Ring of Honor was established as part of Camp Good Days’ 25th Anniversary Celebration in 2004 and includes those who are selected for their outstanding dedication, commitment and support of the thousands of children and families served over the years. In addition to their award, inductee’s names will be included in the permanent Ring of Honor display, which is located at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility, in Branchport, NY, for all to see.

The Ring of Honor Inductees are: Lyle Corey, Eric Foster, The Gayden / Pettway Family, David Korones, MD, The Lederman Family, Sande Macaluso, Lorraine & Hormoz Mansouri, Sue Powers,
Carmen Ramos, and TOPS Markets. Words are not enough to express the years of volunteer service and astounding financial support these inductees have given to the children and families at Camp Good Days…some for more than 10 years and some who have been with us since the very beginning in 1979!

In addition to the Ring of Honor Inductees noted above, we inducted Shannon Grieve, our former Camp Director / Volunteer Coordinator, who had been with Camp Good Days for more than eight years. Shannon has recently moved on to a new position with ABVI-Goodwill and hers will be big shoes to fill!

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our Ring of Honor Inductees and THANK YOU for everything you have done and continue to do to help Camp Good Days!

Over the past 30 years, Camp Good Days has served more than 42,000 campers from 22 states and 25 foreign countries! We have received the coveted Four-Star Rating from and we have been inducted into the Safety 1st Hall of Fame by Markel Insurance Companies. The only reason we have been able to do this and that we are able to continue all that we do is because of the support we receive from so many, like all those selected as Teddi Award recipients and inductees into the Ring of Honor.

It has been said that the two greatest gifts we as human beings can give to one another is our time and our love…all of those we recognized and honored at A Night of Gratitude have given so much of both and they are truly so very much appreciated!