Organizers with Camp Good Days say they’re not giving up on providing summer fun for kids who need a lift. Even though the coronavirus pandemic has caused the camp to push back its summer session to Aug. 1.
The organization, which helps children and families dealing with cancer and other life challenges from their camp along Keuka Lake, has not missed a summer session in all of its years of operation. Last year, they celebrated four decades of operation.
Before the kids can come to play, though, camp founder Gary Mervis says organizers need to have a plan in place. That is something that goes beyond a later start date.
“What was normal the past years will not be normal this year at camp,” Mervis says. The camp will take safety measures, including updating cleaning procedures. They will also reduce the number of beds in cabins and the number of seats in its dining hall.
While turnout is usually strong year-to-year, Mervis expects fewer folks this year. When people do show up, he says, they’ll have to comply with state guidelines and be required to wear a mask. When the fun heads outdoors, Mervis is confident the camp would be able to keep campers at a safe physical distance. Camper safety is something that carries extra weight, as some campers will have compromised immune systems, but Mervis says he and his staff are ready.
“They’re committed to these kids, and to what we can do,” he says.
So far, they’ve had to cancel their “Doing a World of Good” program, which brought in children dealing with cancer from across the world. Several of their fundraising events have also been either postponed or pushed back. Mervis says, though, that he hopes the summertime fun kids look forward to will not be taken away.
“They still have the same desires to do all the things other children of their ages get to do,” Mervis says. “But, a lot of times they cannot get the opportunity to do it with others they share a very special bond with, and camp gives them a chance to be a kid again.”
To donate, or volunteer, visit the Camp Good Days website.