Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

It has been a few days since my last post and it’s scary to think that as I write this Thanksgiving is less than a week away!

We have definitely been blessed with some good weather for this time of year and I know my old body certainly appreciates it at football practice every day, although last night was chilly and the first snow of the season is on the ground! Fortunately, the St. John Fisher College Cardinals received one of only six at-large bids for the NCAA Division III Playoffs and we are excited to play the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in the first round of playoffs this Saturday, November 19th at 12:00 Noon in Baltimore.

As many of you know, part of my job as an Assistant Football Coach at St. John Fisher College is to work with the kickers, punters, holders and snappers. So, with that in mind, Laura shared with me something from her friend, Brendan, who is the Special Teams Coordinator – Tight Ends at Northwestern State University of Louisiana – we liked it so much, that I shared it with the players at practice and I am sharing it with all of you…it’s a good little piece of advice…

In life, like football, sometimes you just have to punt. A job, a goal, a girl, a relationship, a friend, a dream, etc; sometimes it just isn't working and it comes time to punt...but life would be much easier if, like football, there was a scoreboard that told you the exact situation so it would be obvious whether or not it was time to punt...and while I am at it I would like 3 timeouts each half of life too!

I also serve as the Huddle Coach for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle at Fisher and we meet on Wednesday evenings, right after practice. Each semester I try to choose a book that we can read and discuss together, that demonstrates the role that faith plays in life and athletics. I could not have picked a better book this time – Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours - we finished the book on Wednesday night and everyone truly enjoyed it.

On Wednesday evening I also had the opportunity, as I do each fall, to attend the Teddi Committee’s Dance for Love Meeting at Fisher. The only tough part is that their meetings start at 9:30 PM…only on a college campus do meetings begin that late! It was great to see so many kids on the committee and their excitement and enthusiasm. This coming February 17 & 18, 2012 will be the 30th Annual Dance for Love at St. John Fisher College. The Dance for Love is a 24-hour dance marathon, held on campus from 8:00 PM – 8:00 PM. As Camp Good Days has just begun our 33rd year, the Dance for Love has been a part of our culture and family for nearly all of our history. The support from the students, alumni, faculty, staff and administration has been and continues to be amazing. I am so excited that Dr. Lou Buttino, Professor – Film Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, who helped to start the Dance for Love when he was a professor at Fisher and is also the author of For the Love of Teddi: The Story Behind Camp Good Days and Special Times, will be returning to Rochester for the Dance for Love. We are also thrilled that Lou Gramm, of Foreigner fame, will serve as the Honorary Chairman. Lou is a very special person and someone who supported the Dance for Love early on and has always been supportive of the children and families at Camp Good Days. I am sure many more exciting details will be revealed in the weeks and months to come and for more information about the Dance for Love, check out

Earlier this week I had the chance to meet an old friend for breakfast. I first met Mary-Beth Cooper when she was working at St. John Fisher College many years ago. Mary-Beth is now the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It was great to catch up with her and we are exploring ways in which the student athletes at RIT can help to share the message and help generate additional awareness for CANCER MISSION 2020.

In regards to CANCER MISSION 2020, our one-year anniversary of launching this important initiative is just two weeks away and we are busy working with the Congressional Offices on drafting legislation as a result of the recommendations that came out of the Congressional District Cancer Summits, as well as finalizing a CANCER MISSION 2020 Report. To keep up-to-date on our progress, and to join us as we work to put an end to cancer by the end of the decade, please check out, sign the petition and share it with your network.

In other news, the dormitory building being constructed at the Recreational Facility is coming along great! It has been amazing to see this all come together so quickly and they are making great progress. I know it is going to mean a lot, to a lot of people, when we have the official ribbon cutting next spring.

We are also very busy putting the final details into place for the Annual Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest, which begins next Friday, November 25, 2011. We will have Kazoo Fest tables set up 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. The Kazoo Fest goes through Friday, December 23, 2011 and the tables are open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and will be open Monday through Friday the week of December 19th. Please stop by and visit our Kazoo Fest locations – we have some great gifts and stocking stuffers; you can sign the CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition; as well as pick up some information about our programs, services, and volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are still needed at all locations, to help make this another successful Kazoo Fest! Volunteers can choose their preferred location, date and time to help out. Kazoo Fest volunteer shifts are only three or four hours so if you are looking to give back this Holiday Season, we are always looking for some good volunteers. You can get some of your shopping done before or after your shift and at the same time, you will know that you are helping us to provide some good days and special times for some very special children and families in our community! 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,

Today I am looking forward to meeting Doug Randall for lunch. Doug was recently elected to Monroe County Court Judge and I have had the chance to work with him through Project Exile and Project T.I.P.S. Doug has served as a representative for the Project Exile Advisory Board from the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, which has been a key partner in Project Exile since its implementation 13 years ago. Doug has also been a part of the many Project T.I.P.S. (Trust, Information, Programs & Services) events that we have held. Although we will miss him as part of the Project Exile Advisory Board, I am confident that his wealth of experience and his commitment to the community will ensure that he is a welcome addition to County Court.

This coming Monday, I am meeting with Sandra Doorley, who was just elected as Monroe County District Attorney. Sandra is the first female District Attorney in Monroe County history and she has also been an active partner with Project Exile, Project T.I.P.S., and a strong supporter of CANCER MISSION 2020. Sandra has big shoes to fill as District Attorney, but I am confident that she will continue the good work of her predecessor, Mike Green, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with Sandra and the men and women of the District Attorney’s Office, in our efforts to make our a community a safer one in which to live, work and raise a family.

There are many ways that you can stay up-to-date with all that is going on here at Camp Good Days. Check out our websites, and; follow us on Twitter; become our fan on Facebook; and tune in to “Good Days and Special Times” our Radio Show which I co-host with NEWS10NBC Anchor, Rich Funke. The show airs the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM on WYSL NewsPower 1040AM and 92.1 FM. You can also get the podcast of the show at

As we approach this special time of year, I would like to thank all of you for all that you have done, in big ways and small ways, to help Camp Good Days accomplish all that we have for the children and families we serve. I wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and a season filled with good health, peace, happiness and much love!

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2011

It is a new week and it’s going to be another busy one here at Camp Good Days. We had a lunch meeting this afternoon, with representatives from Congressman Tom Reed’s Office, Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle’s Office, Congressman Richard Hanna’s Office and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul’s Office, as a follow-up to the CANCER MISSION 2020 Congressional District Cancer Summits held this past August.

The goal of this meeting was to review the valuable input that came out of the Cancer Summits and determine which recommendations we would move forward with, in terms of making those recommendations legislative items that will be introduced into Congress, hopefully by the end of this calendar year. It was a very productive meeting and we have a lot to get done by the end of the year, but we are confident in our ability to continue moving forward with this important initiative.

PLEASE check out CANCER MISSION 2020,, sign the petition and join us in this important initiative. And please, share the site with your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, co-workers, 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!

I am sure that by now most of you have heard the news that the University of Rochester Yellowjackets have announced that they will play in Courage Bowl VIII in 2012, but will then no longer play the St. John Fisher College Cardinals. I will be meeting with the Athletic Director of the University of Rochester tomorrow afternoon, so that we can begin to put the plans into place for Courage Bowl VIII, which will be played on Saturday, September 15, 2012. We are also busy looking for another local team to play in this special game. I have had some great conversations with the Athletic Director at SUNY Brockport, and we hope to be able to have the Brockport Golden Eagles play the Fisher Cardinals in future Courage Bowl games.

This Thursday we have our monthly Project Exile Advisory Board Meeting at the Federal Building and everyone involved continues working to keep illegal guns off of the streets of our community and out of the hands of those who have lost their right to possess them.

Also on Thursday, Lisa Donato, Regional Director of our Buffalo Office will be recognized and honored as one of the Buffalo Business Journal’s 2011 40 Under Forty Award recipients. CONGRATULATIONS to Lisa for all that she does to help us provide some good days and special times for the many children and families we serve!

In other news, Laura was out of town last week so my schedule was a bit lighter than usual and I had the opportunity to head out to the Recreational Facility and see the progress that is being made on the new Dormitory Building. The building looks fantastic and is going to be beautiful. This new building will not only provide us with some much-needed, additional accommodations, particularly since we tore down the old motel building, but it is going to be very special, as it is being built in memory and honor of Lyle Corey. Lyle, as many of you know, was a very special friend to the children at Camp Good Days and a steadfast supporter of all that we do, especially the Kids Adjusting Through Support (KATS) Program. We want to thank LeChase Construction, where Lyle worked, for all of their help and support in making this project possible, as well as all of the individuals and companies that are donating so much of their time, talents and materials.

I recently received a letter from the American Camp Association (ACA) with the official scores from the re-accreditation we had this past summer. We have been so pleased to be an ACA Accredited Camp, as this is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for the camping industry. Every three years we have to go through a re-accreditation process and our accreditation demonstrates and confirms that we are following the accepted standards of practices and policies to ensure the continued safety and security of our many, many campers, volunteers and staff. I am thrilled to report that we passed the re-accreditation with flying colors – receiving the highest possible scores.

Some final thoughts for this week…

The Fisher Cardinals took a tough loss this past weekend to Salisbury and we will play our final regular season game this coming Saturday at Hartwick College. Fingers are crossed for a victory to cap off the regular season and the opportunity to move on to some post-season play!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8, 2011 is ELECTION DAY. Don’t forget to vote! It only takes a few minutes of your time and your vote is important.

I also encourage everyone to take a few moments this week, especially this Friday, November 11, 2011 to honor and remember all of our veterans who have served and all those men and women who continue to serve our country, putting their lives on the line everyday to ensure our continued safety and freedom.