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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Cancer, Health, Recreation & Sports, Sports

Mission: The mission of Camp Good Days and Special Times is to enrich the lives of children, adults and families dealing with cancer, sickle cell or other life challenges. There is NO COST to participants for any program and no geographic limitation.

Results: What was started to provide a residential camping experience for Teddi and 62 other children with cancer from Upstate New York (21 from Rochester; 21 from Buffalo; 21 from Syracuse) in 1979 has grown to become one of the largest organizations of its kind in the country. Many of the programs and services started right here at Camp Good Days have been used as models for cancer treatment centers and organizations throughout the United States and Canada. Since its inception, Camp Good Days has served more than 42,000 campers from 22 states and 25 foreign countries. Camp Good Days maintains accreditation from the American Camp Association;and has been inducted into the Safety 1st Hall of Fame by Markel Insurance Company. This past summer, over 1500 children, including children with cancer from several foreign countries, participated and experienced the magic of Camp Good Days firsthand at our own beautiful Recreational Facility, located on the shores of Keuka Lake

Target demographics: Anyone in need of Courage.

Geographic areas served: Worldwide

Programs: http://www.campgooddays.org/Programs/

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Bill45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

All that can be said about Camp Good Days can be read on the faces of the many campers who not only have a good time, they thrive! I have been a volunteer for four years and find that the programs and staff are the best medicine that the children and adults can receive. Again and again, the kids say that there stay at camp far exceeded their expectations and they look forward to coming back.

Client Served

Rating: 5

when i was 12 camp good days was the only camp that i wasnt different
now they not only make kids with cancer feel better but also the kids with hiv . keep up the great work

Client Served

Rating: 5

Went here as a little girl after watching my mom waste away and die from cancer. This place helped me reclaim my childhood and the happy memories remain to this day. I can personally attest that your money you donate will bring lasting moments of happiness to kids struggling with things beyond their years!

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi, my name is Cathy Lopez, My nephew has brain cancer, My sister and her family have been involved with Camp Good Day for almost 5 years, we are so lucky to have all this support and love. It really helps oru whole huge family. I would not know what to do and these caring people take us in and give structure and revival to the family directly. It's nice to hear Grandma talk about "When the kids were at camp" or Tristin goes this week and is looking forward to it. or it' his sisters turn this week to go to Camp Good Day. Thanks Camp Good Day for ttaking care of my Sisters family.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

Camp Good Days & Special Times has been a mainstay in the Greater Rochester, NY community, always finding new ways to serve cancer patients and their families. You would think that a camp in the northeast would only be vital during the warm months, but Camp Good Days & Special Times works hard and maintains visibility twelve months a year, even offering programs outside of summer months.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I live in a rural area and at the time I was diagnosed there were not any cancer support groups where I lived. While I was going through my treatments a lady I worked with who volunteered at Camp asked me if I would like to attend Camp for the Women's Oncology Program. I was scared, not knowing what to expect at Camp, but I said I would try it. Well, it turned out to be THE BEST Support Group I could ever have found. The volunteers and the fellow campers have all been wonderful. I have gone to Camp for several years now and look forward to going again. Camp is my Support system as well as some of the wonderful ladies I have met there.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I came to know of Camp Good Days through a simple donation of a pair of Buffalo Sabres tickets. The heartfelt response I received from Camp made me want to learn more about them and donate more whenever I could. I've since been able to to do that, have gotten to know more people involved with Camp and attended their annual Black Tie Gala in June. It was at that event where my wife and I sat with others who were generally our age, and parents as well, but were there for a different reason...some of their children were battling cancer, and Camp had become an enormous part of their lives. We spent the night shedding many tears while listening to the incredible stories that have made Camp what it is today, and came away so inspired by all of our new acquaintances; their strength, their belief, their hope. It was truly an amazing night that left us wanting to do all we can in the future to make sure that Camp will always be there for those in need.

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Good Days of Rochester, NY is an excellent program for children and their families dealing with illness. The staff is always awesome and the Camp is truly a God Send.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

There is no other place like this very special camp. I've going as a camper for many many years now. I hope to go for many more. All the volunteers are special and caring people. I go for the woman's oncology programs. I have learned to do so many things at camp. I also have wonderful bonding friends. I never feel like I'm different just because I had cancer. Rather I'm treated so special!! My husband and I are volunteers as well. We want to give back since these dear people have given me so much.

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Friends, It is my honor and privilege to share with you my family’s experience with Camp Good Days and Special Times. I’d like to give you a glimpse inside a bereaved cancer family and the impact that Camp can have on a family like ours. Six years ago, I knew nothing of Camp. I had heard little bits of information here and there, from publicity. I had a vague idea that Camp had something to do with cancer. Maybe that is the reason that I chose never to look further into Camp. After all, who wants to think about cancer? On February 2, 2003, our middle child, three-year-old Natalie, was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, an extremely aggressive form of childhood cancer. Natalie was extremely ill at the time of diagnosis, therefore my husband, Bob, and I both stayed at the hospital with her, 24/7. This left our younger son, Erik (then 2 ½ years old) and our older daughter, Emily (then 6 ½) in the care of their grandparents. Emily was especially close to her little sister, and was terribly unhappy during our long absence. Natalie’s social worker suggested the services of Camp Good Days to help Emily cope with the situation. Em’s first camp activity was going to Chuck E. Cheese in May of 2003. My husband stayed in the hospital with Natalie, while I took Emily to Chuck E. Cheese. I watched Em run and play with her counselor. I tried to figure out what was so different about Emily that evening. Then it hit me. For the first time in months, Emily was smiling! Emily was actually happy!! In June 2003, Natalie’s cancer worsened despite the fact that she was in treatment at the time. Our family decided to try one more round of chemo drugs to buy a little time. Em, Erik and I were scheduled to go to the Camp Good Days family picnic on Saturday, June 14, 2003. Originally Bob was planning on staying home with Natalie. But Natalie woke on that day feeling relatively good. We called the hospital for blood work results. Unexpectedly, Natalie had a high enough white blood cell count to be safe around people. Camp staff was more than happy to accommodate our bigger-than-expected party at the picnic. Natalie had a great time – a really and truly good day. She got her face painted, decorated cookies, got a special balloon fishing pole with a fishie balloon from a talented balloon artist, made tons of crafts and even won a gift basket. We knew that Natalie’s time was limited, so we made the most of the next few days. We celebrated Father’s Day and went to the Zoo. All the photos from these precious few days show the same, smiling Natalie, wearing the same deep golden yellow camp shirt. Natalie had so much fun at Camp that she refused to take her camp t-shirt off for several days. She saved her name tag sticker from the picnic, and we still have that sticker today. Natalie died on June 30th, 2003, only sixteen days after attending Camp. Our family will never forget the special times we all shared that day. After Natalie died, we assumed that we’d no longer be eligible for Camp services. We were very wrong. Camp is one of the few agencies that continues its services after the child dies, which can be the most difficult time for a family. Camp was there for us shortly after Natalie passed away, giving us a memento keepsake box to hold Natalie’s most treasured items. The box is in her bedroom and contains her pacifier, the charm bracelet from her doctor, and the Cinderella lip gloss given to Natalie by one of her favorite nurses at the hospital. The middle drawer of Natalie’s dresser still holds her neatly folded camp t-shirt. Camp was there for us when I just couldn’t decorate eggs for Easter in 2004. Easter egg coloring had always been a special tradition, and I simply couldn’t do it with one child missing, even though the remaining children really wanted to. Can you imagine the surprise and sense of relief when my kids showed me their ‘treasures’, including colored eggs, when leaving the Camp Easter party? My guilt was gone. I was no longer a “bad mom”, just a sad mom and that was okay. Camp was there when it was Natalie’s fourth birthday, and she was no longer on earth to celebrate it with us. Camp gave us a beautiful angel memorial gift on a day that few others in our family even dared to acknowledge. Camp was there for our daughter during her illness. Camp was there for us when our daughter died. Camp was there for us, both bereaved parents and bereaved siblings, as we struggled through the dense grief fog of fresh and recent loss. And Camp remains here for our entire family each and every day as we remember Natalie and as we continue to live a ‘new normal’ life without her. Our family considers the volunteers at camp to be incredibly selfless people, saints, in a manner of speaking. Erik especially loved Camp Good Days Junior Day Camp, which he attended each summer, until this year when he turned eight and went to "big camp" (overnight camp). Some of his day camp counselors had taken their summer vacation time from work in order to volunteer at camp. When I tell them how grateful I am, they tell me that they get much more from the week than the campers do. It is hard for me to imagine that, or to comprehend their kindness and the sacrifice of their time. Our family also thinks about Camp’s supporters and benefactors. Most of these are anonymous, nameless and faceless people to us. Still, our family remembers all of them and includes them in our prayers. We’ve been told that people admire us for ‘doing well’ in our circumstances. I’m not sure about that, or about the definition of ‘well’. I just know that we have done better with Camp than we would ever do without Camp. I hate cancer and all that it does to families. I am deeply saddened that the disease exists and that there is a need for Camp and its services. I use my energy and effort to help find a cure. But, for now, there is cancer. So every day I thank God for Camp Good Days. Sincerely, Diane, mom to Emily, Erik and angel Natalie