In 1979, Elizabeth "Teddi" Mervis was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the age of nine. Her father, Gary Mervis, traveled across the country to major medical centers seeking the best possible treatment for his daughter. He returned home without the answers he had been looking for and realized that it was not the craniotomy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy that was causing Teddi the most pain, but it was the loneliness of being the only child in her school and neighborhood dealing with cancer.
With the help and support of many friends and community members in Greater Rochester, New York, Gary founded Camp Good Days and Special Times, Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, to provide Teddi and other children with cancer the opportunity to come together in a residential camping experience to be with the only ones who could truly understand what they were going through - other children with cancer.
Camp Good Days was the fourth organization of its kind in the United States and the first to be started by a lay person. Since its inception, Camp Good Days has served more than 45,000 campers from 22 states and 29 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.
Over the years, Camp Good Days has become one of the largest organizations of its kind with many of the programs and services started there being used as models for other cancer treatment centers and organizations around the world. Today, Camp Good Days remains dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life threatening challenges through residential camping experiences held at their own beautiful Recreational Facility on Keuka Lake, as well as year-round, recreational and support activities and events held across Upstate New York in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and the Southern Tier Region, for families who are facing life's toughest challenges. Camp Good Days also maintains a presence on the Internet at www.campgooddays.org.
So as not to place any additional financial burden on the families served, all of the programs and services provided by Camp Good Days are offered free of charge for the participants. This is only possible because of the support and generosity of so many individuals, businesses, and organizations, and the success of special fundraising events held throughout the year.
With a small group of paid employees, Camp Good Days is a volunteer-based organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and relying on the dedication and service of thousands of volunteers to assist in the providing of programs and services.
While nothing at Camp Good Days will find a cure for cancer or other life threatening challenges, everything is done in an effort to create some good days and special times for the children and families served. Camp Good Days is a celebration of life, with those who have learned to appreciate it the most... a place where courage knows no boundaries.