Updated: June 12, 2020 06:16 PM
Created: June 11, 2020 02:07 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For the first time in 41 years, Camp Good Days & Special Times is canceling its summer residential camping programs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Founder Gary Mervis posted the following letter on the Camp Good Days website.
Dear Camp Good Days Community:
After weeks of sleepless nights, honest conversations and hours spent reading numerous articles about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided that Camp Good Days & Special Times will not be hosting residential camping programs for the summer of 2020. While we are very sad about this decision, please know that it was not made lightly, and it has been one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make.
It seems that, despite our efforts, we are not able to guarantee that we can provide a safe camping experience for all our campers, volunteers and staff. This has been a very fluid situation, with suggestions and guidelines from the state and federal government, the CDC, and the American Camping Association changing constantly as more information has been discovered. With all of these entities involved, information is constantly changing, and this has left us with more questions than answers. Since many of our campers are immunocompromised, we do not want to put them at risk. As we know how much our campers, volunteers and staff look forward to experiencing the magic of camp each summer, please know that this was a very tough decision.
We hope that as time goes on, the virus will be more understood, and hopefully a vaccine will be developed in the next 12 months. We will then plan on having a full summer of residential camping programs in 2021. In the meantime, we will be going over every inch of our camp to make sure that it will be up to the standards that will be required to move forward in the new normal.
I am heartbroken that this, our 41st summer, will be the first year since our opening that we will not have residential camp. But I am confident, in my heart, that this is the right decision. We will still be having our virtual Junior Good Days program, and we look forward to coming up with other ways for our campers and their families to be involved.
Camp Good Days & Special Times
The camp provides services for children with cancer, children who have a parent or sibling with cancer, and children who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer.
"[It's] one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make in 41 years because the camp is like my child. It's my memorial to Teddi. It's a dream that we had together. It was the dream that we had together that she was able to be a part of the first couple. So it was really hard," Mervis said.
Mervis says he hopes that in August he can provide a camp experience for families, but much depends on how well New York is controlling the spread of the virus.
Camp Good Days also usually hosts a retreat for women facing cancer in the fall.
Mervis says they haven't made any decisions about that yet.
Since its inception, Camp Good Days & Special Times has served more than 50,000 campers from 22 states and 36 foreign countries.
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