We started the trip at the newly renovated Rochester airport where the children were provided lunches to eat before boarding by the Taste of Rochester and Jim LeBeau. The group boarded a direct Southwest Airlines flight from Rochester to Orlando, and then was able to check in to the hotel at Seralago Inn and Suites. The first thing the children did after getting settled in their hotel rooms was jump in the hotel pool. Dinner for that night was Chick-fil-A.
The next day, the group spent the day at SeaWorld learning about the various animals that were there and going on some fun rides. The campers came back to the hotel and were able to swim some more and have Moe’s by the pool for dinner. That night, we were joined by campers and staff from the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, who would join us on the rest of the trip at the parks.
On Saturday, everyone went to Hollywood studios where the children were able to go on many rides and see the new ToyStory section of the park. That night, the campers ate dinner at the park and were able to stay late to see the Fantasmic Firework and Musical Display.
On Sunday, everyone had their first day at Universal Studios and Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, and then had dinner at the Golden Corral. This was the last night we were able to spend time with the campers and staff from the Tampa Children’s Cancer Center, and so we had a tuck-in ceremony like we do at camp, where everyone says goodnight to each other, to wish the Florida group a safe journey back to Tampa.
Monday was the last day in Florida, and the campers were able to spend another day at Universal Studios and Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure to make sure they were able to go on all the rides that they may have missed the day before. That night they were able to spend some time by the pool and have pizza with some special visitors and great friends of Camp Good Days: Steve and Patty DiGennaro, Linda and John Mongoven, Judy D’Amico, and Mark Sofia.
On Tuesday, we all woke up early, arrived at the Orlando airport and flew back to Rochester. Overall, the trip was a wonderful success and the campers made memories that will last a lifetime. The trip each year is made possible by the Teddi Dance for Love held each year at St. John Fisher College, and through financial gifts from the Sugarman Smiles Fund, the Gary Amendola Fun Fund, and with the help of Tim and Wayne Meisenzahl. Through these very generous people, we are able to continue providing the Florida Fun Fest Trip.
The Teddi Dance for Love was held from 8:00PM on Friday, February 8 to 8:00PM on Saturday, February 9th. This year was the 37th year of the dance, and with us being in our 40th year, the dance has been around for almost all of Camp Good Days’ history. The students, administration, faculty, and staff have been keeping Teddi’s memory alive, and nothing makes me happier than hearing the students shout “Teddi! Teddi,”celebrating someone who they have never met, but feel a close connection to. This year’s Chair and Vice Chair, Allison and Tyler did a phenomenal job planning the event and raising the most money the dance has ever raised, over $100,000! We also chose the winner of the Vanderstyne Totota Car Raffle at the dance, and it was announced that the winner was Andy T. from Ionia, New York!
I was very happy to be joined at the dance by the President of the college, Dr. Rooney, and his wife, Susan, along with 13 WHAM Sports Reporter, Jenna Cottrell, the honorary chair for the dance, who has gone through her own battle with cancer, and Austin Giorgio from the Voice, who sang some songs to get all of the students ready for the dance. This year, the dance was dedicated to Alissa Cole, a former camper and volunteer who passed away from cancer, and I was very humbled that her parents were able to attend the dance and watch their daughter be honored. Also recognized at the dance was Thom Wagner, a former camper and volunteer who unfortunately also passed away from cancer recently. His long-time girlfriend was able to come to the dance and share his story to the students. The balloon launch, one of my favorite parts of the dance, was beautiful out on the football field. We showed the dancers the wonderful video that featured Bat McGrath’s song that he wrote especially for Camp Good Days. Bat was recently diagnosed with cancer. I would urge you to watch the video, and also to keep him and his family in your thoughts. You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biQWpUcRvbY. To everyone who helped in any way with the Teddi Dance for Love, thank you for keeping Teddi’s memory alive, and for showing our campers a wonderful time. As Lou Buttino said, “Immortality is being loved by anonymous people,” and I know that Teddi is living on through the Teddi Dance for Love. This year has started out with a bang, and I am excited to see what the rest of our 40th year has in store. We will have more information coming soon on a 40th year campaign that you can be involved in, and if you know of anyone who has been involved with Camp Good Days in the past, please urge them to reach out to us and give us their up-to-date information so that we can keep them involved!
This year has started out with a bang, and I am very excited to see what the rest of our 40th year has in store. We will have more information coming soon on a 40th year campaign that you can be involved in, and if you know of anyone who has been involved with Camp Good Days in the past, please urge them to reach out to us and give us their up-to-date information so that we can keep them involved in our 40th year!