Camp Good Days and Special Times: Making Life Better For Kids Everywhere
Todays version of Casual Friday is going to take a little different direction. Tomorrow is the 7th Annual Courage Bowl in Rochester, NY between the St. John Fisher Cardinals and the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. The thing is that it’s much, much more than just game for the players, coaches and the special guests involved.
Gary Mervis, the founder and president of Camp Good Days and Special times, also coaches for St. John Fisher. The whole reason I know Gary (or Coach Mervis) is that I played/coached at Fisher for 3 years and worked for Coach Mervis at Camp Good Days. Coach Mervis’s daughter, Teddi, was diagnosed with cancer when she was only 9. In addition to flying all over the country searching out the best possible treatment for her, he also invited numerous other children who had been diagnosed with cancer to a camp he set up so that they could “feel normal” and interact with others similar to them.
Fast forward to 2005 and Coach Mervis approached both schools football teams to ask if they would get involved with his idea of the Courage Bowl. Coach Mervis had been observing this kids throughout many summers at the camp and knew that most of them would never be able to play any type of athletics, let alone get the clearance from a doctor to be able to play.
The Courage Bowl was created to give these kids the closest feeling to being an athlete that they could have. From hanging out at practice through out the week, giving a pre-game speech, calling the coin toss and roaming up and down the sidelines during the game, these kids had full access to the team and coaches.
As a player and coach for 3 Courage Bowls I can tell you these kids love it. The smile on their faces is priceless and is something that I’ll always remember.
If you happen to be around Rochester NY at 7pm Saturday September 17th I highly suggest you go to the game. If not please head over to the Camp Good Days site to at least learn a bit more about their mission and donate towards their cause.