It is hard to believe that we are heading into November already! But, with the chill in the air and snow flurries in the forecast it appears that we are definitely entering the winter season and the special time of year when we all can take some time to give thanks for our many blessings and think about those who are less fortunate and how we might be able to make a difference in their lives.
As many of you know, all of the programs and services we provide here at Camp Good Days, for so many children and families whose lives have been touched by cancer, are offered free of charge for the participants. This is because I made a promise 33 years ago when I started Camp Good Days, that no family would be faced with the decision between paying their bills on time and sending their loved one to Camp Good Days. However, the only way we are able to continue fulfilling this promise is because of the assistance of thousands of volunteers and the generous support of so many individuals, businesses and organizations and the success of our many special fundraising events and activities.
One of our largest fundraising activities is the Annual Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest, which has become a long-standing holiday tradition, and was started more than 60 years ago by Joe Benet outside the Toy Department of the Sibley’s store on Main Street in downtown Rochester. Following Joe Benet’s death from cancer, his son, Bill, contacted me to see if the Kazoo Fest tradition could be continued, staffed by volunteers, with proceeds benefiting the programs and services at Camp Good Days. Since 1984, Camp Good Days, with help and support from various retail locations and thousands of volunteers, has continued the Kazoo Fest. The 2011 Kazoo Fest will kick off on Black Friday – November 25, 2011 – in the Greater Rochester area at the mall entrance to JC Penney at Marketplace Mall, Greece Ridge Center Mall, and Eastview Mall, as well as at the Walden Galleria Mall in Buffalo, Carousel Center Mall in Syracuse, and The Shops at Ithaca. Hundreds of volunteers are needed at all locations, to help make this another successful Kazoo Fest! If you or someone you know is interested in helping out with this fun and important fundraising event, please contact your local Camp Good Days’ Office for more details (Rochester: 585-624-5555; Buffalo: 716-206-0709; Syracuse: 315-434-9477; Ithaca: 607-266-9180). The Kazoo Fest Volunteer Form can also be found on our website, www.campgooddays.org.
In addition to the many events that Camp Good Days hosts, we oftentimes have groups that hold events to raise funds to support the children and families we serve. I recently had the pleasure of attending the Hockey Versus Cancer event, which was a fun evening with some great people. This afternoon, some of the organizers of that event, along with their children visited us here at the Camp Good Days’ Headquarters to present us with the proceeds from their event. We are so thankful to all those that helped to plan and coordinate the Hockey Versus Cancer event, and all those who attended. For more information about their program, check out www.hockeyvscancer.com.
There are so many ways that you and your family and friends can be involved with and support Camp Good Days and I encourage you to check out our website frequently, as well as our facebook page and to follow us on Twitter, so you can stay up-to-date with the many different activities, events, and volunteer opportunities that are available.
We also had a meeting of the Camp Good Days COURAGE BOWL Committee this afternoon, to review Courage Bowl VII, which was played on September 17, 2011 and to begin to lay the groundwork for Courage Bowl VIII in September 2012. Although there have been some rumblings about the future of the Courage Bowl and who will be participating, I can assure all of you that there will be a Courage Bowl VIII in 2012! We will be sharing plans and details about the Courage Bowl, as they are made and become available, so stay tuned! And let us never forget that the Courage Bowl was established to be more than just a football game – it is an opportunity for some very special children who are dealing with cancer to have the chance to be a part of college football team or cheerleading squad and to create some outstanding memories from that experience.
Another of our major fundraising events, and the largest in the Greater Rochester area, is the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and Auction Dinner. The Committee for this enormous event will be meeting next Tuesday evening to start to put together all of the details for both the 12th Annual Wine Competition, which will be held March 24-25, 2012 and the 12th Annual Wine Auction Dinner, scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 2012. We have announced a new Art Contest as part of this event. The Wine Cover Art Contest will serve to select the artwork that will be used and displayed on the various promotional and printed materials, including the cover artwork for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition Entry Form and Finger Lakes International Wine Auction Dinner Program Book.
The Wine Cover Art Contest is open to anyone ages 18 and older. Artwork submissions must be original work and must be a painting, drawing, high resolution original photograph, or sketch. All of the details, entry rules and prize information, as well as the Official Entry Form can be found on our website, www.campgooddays.org. All submissions will be reviewed and evaluated and the top 10 finalists will be announced on Friday, December 16, 2011. The top 10 finalists’ submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges and the winning submission will be announced on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.
On a personal note, the St. John Fisher College Cardinals Football Team will host Utica College tomorrow evening at Growney Stadium and we are looking for another big win in conference play, so here’s hoping for a nice evening without rain or snow, and another victory for the Fisher Cardinals!
Wishing all of you a safe and happy weekend and Halloween!