Before reading this post I highly suggest listening to Lemuria to help “set the mood” (or at least to help guarantee some wonderful sounds come out of your speakers).
Every summer I design my schedule around one things: Camp Good Days And Special Times. This summer camp for children with cancer and blood disorders has managed to kidnap me for at least one week every summer for the past 12 years and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
This year I was lucky enough to be invited to their annual Florida Trip. I’m still trying to determine why I was invited. I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities:
1) Camp Good Days chose to acknowledge the amount of time I’ve devoted to them and subtly honored me with an invite
2) They knew 3 devilish eight year old children had also been invited and figured disguising a babysitting job as a Florida vacation would easily deceive me into signing on the dotted line
No matter what the reason was, I had a BLAST. There was about thirty of us traveling together for six days and it was one heck of an adventure. I went to my first NHL game, visited three theme parks, and ate at Golden Corral (which kindly reminded me why certain digestive systems are not intended for buffet dinners).
My new friend Curt and I were responsible for three awesome kids who had no idea what they were in for. Averaging at a solid eight years of age these kids will never be able to view amusement parks the same again. Our biggest battle was convincing them that roller coasters aren’t really as scary as they seem. Each day we managed to convince them one at a time that it was worth conquering their fear. On our last day we visited Magic Kingdom and ended our adventure on Space Mountain. We had fast passes making our wait for the ride only a few minutes rather than an hour. Each one of those moments was filled with paranoid questions and adorable excuses as to why they should leave the line and head home early. Finally, after 3,040,504,030,203,040 questions about the mechanics of the ride, we all crammed into the rocket and started screaming our heads off. Every turn was greeted with a yelp of some kind. After we finished our subjection to crazy lights and surprising turns we exited the vehicle. In unison our three eight year old stooges scream That Was AWESOME!!!!!! I can’t even explain how excited I was to know that these kids had loved their experience as much as I had.
Sadly we had to leave the theme park after that ride but seeing the excitement on those kids’ faces made the whole experience worth while. Despite a few temper tantrums, a diet of hamburgers and hot dogs, a few lost personal items, very little sleep, and the strangest incident involving a three musketeers bar I’ve ever seen; I had a blast.
Thanks a ton to Camp Good Days and Special Times and all the whole Florida crew.
Camp Good Days and Special Times is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, adults, and families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life challenges, founded more than 30 years ago, in Rochester, New York, by Gary Mervis, following the diagnosis of his youngest daughter, Teddi, with a malignant brain tumor. What was started to provide a residential camping experience for Teddi and 62 other children dealing with cancer, has grown to become one of the largest organizations of its kind in the country and many of the programs and services started by Camp Good Days have been used as models by other cancer treatment centers and organizations all over the world. Since its inception, Camp Good Days has served more than 42,000 campers from 22 states and 25 foreign countries. Camp Good Days has received the coveted Four-Star Rating from CharityNavigator.org; has been inducted into the Safety 1st Hall of Fame by Markel Insurance Companies, and is Accredited by the ACA (American Camp Association). For more information about any of the programs or services, to learn about volunteer opportunities or to make a tax-deductible donation, please call 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135 or visit www.campgooddays.org.