Thursday, September 27, 2012

September Update

I know it has been quite some time since my last post, but things have just been crazy around here, as we finish the transition from the Recreational Facility to the office, and have had a number of events and activities going on.


On Saturday, September 15, 2012, COURAGE BOWL VIII was played.  The COURAGE BOWL is the annual football game between the St. John Fisher College Cardinals and the University of Rochester Yellowjackets, to benefit the children and families at Camp Good Days.  This year’s game took on extra meaning, as it was the final game in the series between the Cardinals and the Yellowjackets. 


We went into this game wanting to give the Honorary Coaches, which included Danny Bookhart, III; Ryan Kruzicke; and Zack Murphy for the Cardinals; and Denton Jajkowski; Lucas Lowe; and Nicholas Krentz for the Yellowjackets; and the Honorary Cheerleaders, which included Katie Foster and Mareesa Boyatzies for the Cardinals; and Morgan DeMatteo and Kendell Caton for the Yellowjackets; a special experience and the opportunity to create some memories that they will carry with them for a long time.  We also wanted to give the players from both teams the chance to spend some time with these amazing campers.  We hoped for a beautiful fall day and a game which would showcase the exceptional Division III football played here, as we can oftentimes be overlooked with the Buffalo Bills to the west and Syracuse to the east.  We wanted a competitive game on the field, without injuries, that would keep the spectators interested.  We wanted a respectable crowd in the stands and a halftime show different from previous years.


Looking back, we could not have scripted it any better if we tried!  On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, the Courage Bowl Community Luncheon was hosted by St. John Fisher College President, Dr. Donald Bain.  In addition to formally announcing the Honorary Coaches and Honorary Cheerleaders, it was officially proclaimed to be COURAGE BOWL WEEK in the County of Monroe, the City of Rochester, and the Town of Pittsford.  We were thrilled that The College at Brockport President, Dr. John Halstead, and Athletic Director, Erick Hart, were able to join us for the luncheon, as we are looking forward to having The College at Brockport Golden Eagles as the opponent for the St. John Fisher College Cardinals in the Courage Bowl games, when they join the Empire 8 Conference. 


On Thursday, September 13, 2012 and Friday, September 14, 2012, the Honorary Coaches and Honorary Cheerleaders all had the chance to attend practice with their respective teams and the players and cheerleaders from both schools went above and beyond in making our campers feel welcome and a part of the team! 


On Saturday, September 15, 2012, thousands of fans filled Growney Stadium on the St. John Fisher College campus.  It was a perfect night for football and the game was very exciting, coming down to the final minutes of play and ending in a Cardinals victory, 20-16, over the Yellowjackets.  Adding to the excitement of the evening, Jennifer Dinolfo sang God Bless America and the acappella groups, Measure 13 from St. John Fisher College and Vocal Point from the University of Rochester, performed the National Anthem together.  At halftime, we presented the Third Annual Courage Award to Rochester Police Department Officers, Adam Alliet and Paul Dondorfer, who along with three medical students and a doctor from the University of Rochester Medical Center helped to rescue a father and his two small children from the Erie Canal in August.  Following the Courage Award presentation, the Gates Chili High School Marching Band put on a fantastic halftime show. 


For those who were unable to make it to the game, the COURAGE BOWL was carried live on WYSL 1040AM / 92.1 FM and on SportsRadio 950 ESPN, and was broadcast live across New York State by Time Warner Cable Sports.  If you missed the game, or want to see it again, it is now available OnDemand for Time Warner cable customers. 


We want to thank all of our partners and sponsors – St. John Fisher College, the University of Rochester, the County of Monroe, TOPS Markets, The Flanders Group, Karpus Investment Management, Passero Associates, Phoenix Graphics, Time Warner Cable Sports, Clear Channel Radio, and Vanderstyne Toyota, who helped to make COURAGE BOWL VIII a great success, as well as all of our Courage Bowl Souvenir Program Book advertisers and all the fans who came out in support of the children and families at Camp Good Days!


We are all looking forward to beginning a new chapter in the COURAGE BOWL playbook next year and we are excited about the continued growth of this very special event. 


Following the COURAGE BOWL, we jumped right back into things and last Friday, September 21, 2012, we held a Press Conference during which we announced that the final Project T.I.P.S. event for this year will take place this Friday, September 28, 2012 in the Webster Avenue neighborhood. 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.  Locations are selected by Rochester Police Chief, James Sheppard, along with his command staff, with collaboration from the Rochester Fire Department and other partner agencies.


Project T.I.P.S. will again include door-to-door, anonymous community surveys, conducted  by groups of one Police Officer, one Fire Fighter, and two volunteers, who will 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 will 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. 


Residents are invited to attend a community cookout and get together, in the Webster Avenue neighborhood, (Thomas Ryan Community Center / School #33, 500 Webster Avenue, 14609), where they 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. 


Bringing Project T.I.P.S. into a neighborhood such as that of Webster Avenue and providing residents with information about the many services and programs available to them, as well as creating for them a forum in which they can share concerns, issues or suggestions, is a positive and productive effort.  Each of the previous Project T.I.P.S. events has proven to be very successful and provides residents and community members the opportunity to share issues they are facing, in a safe and anonymous format, while also giving them tools and information they can use in the future.  Given the recent crime and violence that has plagued our community over these past few months, we feel that bringing Project T.I.P.S. into the Webster Avenue neighborhood could not come at a better time.  We all share the responsibility and obligation, as residents of this community, to stand up against the violence by sharing information and reporting suspicious and illegal activity, and help to take back our neighborhoods in a positive and safe way.


After Project T.I.P.S. on Friday, many of us will head down to the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility for a full weekend.  The Women’s Oncology Wellness Program will take place from Friday evening through Sunday morning and approximately 60 women who are all dealing with cancer will have the opportunity to spend a beautiful fall weekend on the shores of Keuka Lake, taking part in a variety of activities such as Fishing, Yoga, Massage, Manicures, Mary Kay Makeovers, Arbonne Skin Care, Jewelry Making, Jafra, Woodworking, Reiki, and more. 


In addition to the Women’s Wellness Program, we will be hosting the Tour de Teddi, a bike ride around scenic Keuka Lake on Saturday.  Sponsored by Marina Auto Group, BonaDent Dental Laboratories, and Park Avenue Bike Shop, Tour de Teddi will start and finish at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility.  Tour de Teddi offers three different cycling courses: a 45-mile ride around Keuka Lake; a 27-mile ride to Hammondsport and back; and a 14-mile ride along Keuka Lake.   The 45-mile ride begins at 10:00 AM, followed by the start of the 27-mile ride and 14-mile ride at 11:00 AM.  Close to 200 participants are registered to take part in Tour de Teddi and we are excited about bringing back this fun event.


As you all know, CANCER MISSION 2020…THE END OF CANCER BY THE END OF THE DECADE is an effort that is very important to me and one that I am and will continue to dedicate my time and commitment to.  This past Monday morning, after many months of hard work, I was so pleased to join Dr. Byron Kennedy, Deputy Director of the Monroe County Department of Public Health, to present the Action Plan to Reduce the Burden of Cancer in our Community, on behalf of our committee, to Monroe County Executive, Maggie Brooks, and approximately 100 government, medical, service agency, business, and community representatives. 


In late 2011, it was brought to my attention that cancer is now the leading cause of death in Monroe County, which led me to meet a number of times with Dr. Kennedy.  We then met with County Executive Brooks on Thursday, December 29, 2011 and it was suggested that she host a meeting to share this information.


That meeting took place on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at Monroe Community Hospital where approximately 35 people joined us, including Rochester Mayor, Tom Richards; Monroe County Clerk, Cheryl Dinolfo; and representatives from Congressman Tom Reed’s Office; Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle’s Office; Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s Office; Congresswoman Kathy Hochul’s Office; Wilmot Cancer Center; University of Rochester Medical Center; Rochester General Hospital; Thompson Health; Anthony Jordan Health Center; Rochester Primary Care Network; Greater Rochester Health Foundation; Monroe County Board of Health / Penfield Place; American Cancer Society; and Gilda’s Club Rochester. 


In follow-up to this initial meeting, and based upon the synergy and enthusiasm displayed, County Executive Brooks asked us to form and lead a small committee to develop a plan to serve as a first step for how our community could respond to the news that cancer is now the leading cause of death in Monroe County.  More than 40 individuals, representing a wide cross section of private, not-for-profit, medical, and governmental agencies and organizations have supported and / or contributed to the establishment and progress of CANCER MISSION 2020 and the development of this plan.


The Action Plan for Reducing the Burden of Cancer in the County of Monroe focuses on four key areas:

·         Education and Awareness -  educating residents about how to reduce cancer risks

·         Prevention- working towards tobacco free policies

·         Screening- increasing colorectal cancer screening rates

·         Support Services- ensuring that all cancer patients have access to support services


This plan is presented as a starting point for our community, to share information about where we currently are, as well as to provide some initial recommendations for moving forward in addressing this.  It is the hope that fellow community members will embrace this plan through action, by finding ways in which they can help to address this serious and life threatening issue. This plan can also serve as a model for other communities across New York State and the country, as they receive the news that cancer is the leading cause of death in their community and seek ways in which to respond to that news.  Cancer is already the leading cause of death in the United States for those 85 and younger and many believe that if something significant is not done soon, by 2016, cancer will be the leading cause of death in the United States, regardless of age.


To learn more about the plan and ways that you can get involved with the implementation, check out 


I hope that I have caught everyone up on all that has been going on here at Camp Good Days and there will be much more to come as we begin our new fiscal year this coming Monday, October 1, 2012, and with that our 34th year of serving children and families who are dealing with cancer. 


I wish you all a safe and happy weekend and based on the Camp Good Days’ calendar, a Happy New Year!