Monday, February 20, 2012

Dance for Love, Basketball & More!

A lot has happened here at Camp Good Days over the past week – it has been very busy but very good!

Last Wednesday afternoon we had our first Tournament of Love Committee Meeting for 2012, to start finalizing the plans for this special golf tournament. I am so pleased that Paul and Kirsten Estabrooks have agreed to serve as the Chairpersons for the event. Paul and Kirsten have been great friends to Camp Good Days and Paul, through his position as Principal at Caledonia-Mumford Middle School has helped to provide volunteers, through the National Junior Honor Society, to help sell kazoos at our Annual Kazoo Fest and to help make boxes and prepare mailings for our Annual Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Paul and the National Junior Honor Society students will be one of the recipients of the 2011 Teddi Awards at the Camp Good Days’ Night of Gratitude coming up on Friday, March 9, 2012.

I am also thrilled to report that Mark Herzlich, whose personal story is a true inspiration, has agreed to serve as the Honorary Chairman for the Tournament of Love. For those of you who are not familiar with Mark’s story, he was an All-American Linebacker at Boston College and going into his senior year was expected to be one of the Top 10 draft picks in the NFL Draft. In 2009, Mark was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. It was doubtful that Mark would be able to run again, let alone return to playing football. After taking some time to go through treatment, Mark returned to Boston College to help coach and cheer on his team, and came back to play at the highest level of college football in the 2010 season. Following last year’s NFL lockout, Mark was invited, by New York Giants Head Coach, Tom Coughlin, to attend Training Camp as a walk-on, undrafted Free Agent. Mark completed Training Camp and was signed as a member of the team, which as most of you know, joining the New York Giants was not too bad, as Mark is now a member of the Super Bowl XLVI Championship Team!

This year’s Tournament of Love, with the Estabrooks on board as Chairpersons and Mark Herzlich bringing his amazing story and inspiration to the event, is sure to be another great success! The Tournament of Love will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, New York. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Nicole Jones, here at Camp Good Days, 585-624-5555 / 800-785-2135, or

This past Friday evening, some of us attended the Opening Ceremonies for the 30th Annual Teddi Dance for Love at St. John Fisher College. It was a thrill for me to see all these young people who came to dance for 24 hours, all the members of the Teddi Committee and the many volunteers who help to handle all of the logistics for an event of this magnitude. Kayla Valentino, Danielle Allington, and the entire Teddi Committee did an outstanding job. We also had the chance to spend some time with one of Rochester’s native sons, Lou Gramm, of Foreigner fame, who served as the Honorary Chairman and, along with his family, took the time out of his busy schedule to attend and support the Teddi Dance for Love. Dr. Lou Buttino was also on hand for this milestone year, traveling to Rochester from North Carolina. Lou was a professor at St. John Fisher College and along with a group of his students, helped to start the Teddi Dance for Love 30 years ago. Lou is also the author of For the Love of Teddi, which is the story he wrote about my daughter, Teddi, and beginning of Camp Good Days and Special Times. It was really nice to be able to spend some time with Lou and catch up.

On the topic of books, a few months ago while going through some old boxes and files, I came across a little book that Teddi had written when she was 10 years old. After reading it and shedding a few tears, I decided that I need to find a way to preserve this precious memory. I called my dear friend, Skip DeBiase, at Phoenix Graphics, and asked him to photograph and scan the book and he recreated a beautiful, commemorative book, which is an exact replica of Teddi’s original. I gave out the book to those who wanted one at the Teddi Dance for Love this past weekend, and I know it truly added so much meaning to the event. It is hard to believe that next Monday, February 27th, it will be 30 years since Teddi’s death. If any of you reading this would like a copy of the book, please contact Laura, here at Camp Good Days, 585-624-5555 / 800-785-2135 or and we would be happy to send one to you.

On Saturday morning, Wendy and I attended the St. John Fisher College Football Banquet at the Burgandy Basin Inn. I was so glad I was able to attend the event, as for the past few years I have been out of town and have missed it. It was good to see all of the players and my fellow coaches and to recognize the seniors. For me, the highlight was being able to recognize Chad Monheim, who I coached personally, and who had a great career as a Kicker with the Fisher Football Team. It was also nice to hear again the many accomplishments of this team, which coming into the 2011 season was unranked with a number of holes to fill. Despite injuries and some other challenges, we finished ranked 9th by one national poll and 11th in another national poll, made it to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Playoffs, and finished as the #1 Division III team in New York State. We definitely had a lot to celebrate!

On Saturday evening, we headed back to St. John Fisher College for the Closing Ceremonies of the Teddi Dance for Love. These ceremonies included a dedication to one of our campers, J’Lon Woody, a very special young man from Geneva. J’Lon lost his battle to cancer this past November. It was really nice to see J’Lon’s Mom and Dad and family at the Dance for Love and all those participating took a short break from the dancing to head outside, in front of the Student Life Center, for a special balloon launch.

I always enjoy being invited to speak at the end of the Teddi Dance for Love, as this gives me the chance to let everyone know just how much this very special event means to the children and families at Camp Good Days, and how much it means to me personally, as Teddi’s Dad.

The 30th Annual Teddi Dance for Love was a tremendous success, generating more than $45,000 to benefit the children and families at Camp Good Days! In his book, Lou Buttino wrote that immortality is to be loved by anonymous people and Kayla, Danielle, and all those who participated in the 30th Annual Teddi Dance for Love this past weekend have helped to keep Teddi’s spirit, memory and legacy alive!

One of the highlights during the Teddi Dance for Love is when we bring a group of campers for the final hours of the event. As always, the campers this year had a great time! Following the Teddi Dance for Love, the campers boarded a bus and came to the Camp Good Days’ Headquarters for a sleepover, complete with movies, popcorn and ice cream sundaes. On Sunday morning, they boarded the bus again and headed to the Camp Good Days’ Buffalo Office, where they met up with campers who had had a sleepover there. Everyone then headed to Canisius College where we were the special guests of Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Terry Zeh, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, Tara Fleming, and the Women’s Basketball Team. The campers had the chance to watch the team play in their game against Fairfield, meet the players and have a pizza party.

All in all, it was a great weekend, full of good days and special times!

The fun continues this evening, as we will be bringing a group of young people who participate in our Homework Huddle Program, and the Rochester City School District Leadership Program, along with some folks from Pathways to Peace, to the Rochester Razor Sharks Basketball game at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The attendees will have the chance to have dinner with Head Coach, Rod Baker, and some of the players and then watch the team take on the Dayton AirStrikers.

In other news, I had the chance to meet last week with Peter Carpino, President of the United Way here in the Greater Rochester area and I am so pleased that we can count on their support of CANCER MISSION 2020 and their help in spreading the word for this important initiative. PLEASE…if you have not yet done so, check out, 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!

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