Thursday, August 2, 2018

Campers Visit to the Buffalo Bills Training Camp

As summer is moving along, we are getting close to my favorite time of year, football season, and the campers and I had a taste of it on Friday, July 27 when we were guests of the Buffalo Bills at their Training Camp at St. John Fisher College.

We were given the use of the Community Service Youth Tent where each camper and volunteer were given goodie bags with a tee-shirt and a bills program book, and were treated to pizza and snacks.  Not only did the children get a chance to use the interactive activities that were there, they were also able to watch the Bills practice, and after practice, a number of players took the time to come by and meet the kids, sign autographs, and take pictures.  The highlight for me was getting the chance to meet and say “thank you” to Bills’ player Jordan Poyer, who has helped support Camp Good Days in the Buffalo region.  I was also able to meet the Bills’ punter, Colton Schmidt, which was a special moment for me, since it reminded me of being a Special Teams Coach for St. John Fisher, a position I semi-retired from last year after 29 years. 

We have been coming to the Bills Training Camp with our campers ever since the Bills moved their camp to St. John Fisher.  It is truly a wonderful opportunity for the campers to get to meet the players; who they wouldn’t normally have the chance to meet.  Watching their faces light up is the best part of the day.

As I write this, we are in the midst of our busiest time at camp with our international program underway, which brings in children with cancer and sickle cell anemia from all over the world.  We have campers from Spain, Ethiopia, Germany, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and two groups from the Bahamas from Nassau and Freeport. We also have children from the Tampa Florida Children’s Cancer Center.  It is always amazing to watch the children have a wonderful time and make friends despite the language barriers that might exist. Adults from the UN Security Council could learn something from the campers.

Seeing the children down at camp reminds me of the importance of our work.  And while I am needed here like an extra mosquito, I love to sit on my deck and watch the interactions between the campers, volunteers, and our staff, and it makes me feel like a proud grandpa to know that I helped to make it all possible.

I wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy rest of your summer.