Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Update

I know it has been quite awhile since my last post and I apologize for the delay, but to say that this summer has been busy is putting it mildly.

I promised myself at the beginning of the summer that I would try to spend more time at our Recreational Facility during our programs.  This was the first time in seven years that I have spent a few days of almost each week at camp and I needed that!  I wish that everyone had time to spend at Camp Good Days, as it is truly a magical and spiritual place.  It is how the world should be – everyone is accepted for who they are -  it doesn’t matter if you are skinny or overweight, short or tall, a girl or a boy, if you have hair or not, if you have a prosthesis or not.  Everyone gets three meals a day, plus snacks, and a roof over their head.  And it all happens in a place as far away from the sterile environment of the hospital, on the shores of beautiful Keuka Lake.  Where else can children who have been dealing with cancer, enduring the most potent treatment available, and spending way too much time in the hospital, get the chance to get back some of their childhood that their illness has stolen from them?  And they get to do it with the only ones in the world who can truly understand what they are going through – other children dealing with cancer. 

To give you just a glimpse of what it is like to spend a week at Camp Good Days, imagine waking up and fishing from a boat; jumping in Keuka Lake as part of Polar Bear Swim; taking a trip to Watkins Glen International as the special guests of Trackmasters, Inc. and having the opportunity to not only see some great cars like Ferraris, Lotuses, Porsches, Corvettes, BMWs, and Mustangs up close and personal, but getting to ride with the drivers around the track; and then having an amazing fireworks show by Young Explosives, just for you, on the shores of Keuka Lake to end the day; waking up to the sound of a hot air balloon in the field and having the chance to take a tethered ride 100 feet in the air and see the beauty of the lake and landscape; and then having the Rochester Rhinos professional soccer team visit and join you for lunch and taking part in a soccer clinic conducted by the Rhinos and joining them for basketball games and on the slip and slide.

There is no other place that the campers from Camp Good Days will get that same experience, and we provide all of these programs free of charge for the participants, which is only possible because of the generous support from so many individuals, businesses, and organizations, the success of special fundraising events and activities, and the dedicated summer staff, volunteers and friends who give so much of their time and their love to help make these programs possible.

It is hard to believe that our 34th summer is coming to an end soon, and while the world is certainly a much different place than it was when we started on this adventure, it is nice to know that Camp Good Days is still driven by volunteers who do so much to create the best experience possible for the campers, and willingly take on the awesome responsibility of sending the campers home at the end of their session in the same condition in which they arrived.

Last week, we were fortunate to have a concession stand to man at the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill and we are forever grateful to the more than 100 volunteers who helped us with that.  We also had the opportunity to conduct CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition Drives at the Greater Rochester International Airport, and while all of that was taking place, one of my favorite weeks of the summer, Teddi’s Team, which is for children with cancer, ages 8-12, was taking place at the Recreational Facility.  I am out of breath just sharing all of that so you can imagine what it was like to live it.

I am forever grateful to our dedicated staff of professionals who always put what is best for Camp Good Days and the children and families we serve at the forefront, and who always live our motto of adapting and adjusting.

Until next time…wishing you a healthy, happy and safe remainder of the summer and only good days and special times.