BRANCHPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — There’s a little slice of joy nestled in the Finger Lakes region, where children affected by cancer can be themselves and make lifelong friends. Camp Good Days is celebrating 40 years of making a difference.
This week is Camp Best in Branchport. It’s for kids and teens who lost a parent or a sibling to cancer or sickle cell anemia, and campers told us the program had made a significant impact on their lives.
Jerry Williams of Niagara Falls said he lost his mother to breast cancer on Christmas Day in 2013.
“I stopped doing everything. That’s when Camp Good Days stepped in and helped us out tremendously,” said Williams.
According to Williams, the summer camp helped him cope with the loss, and he’s made new friends along the way.
“Especially if they’re going the same thing you were, and they’re in your spot, and they’re new you could help them out,” said Williams.
Camp Good Days has served more than 48,000 campers from 22 states, and 36 foreign countries since it first started. The camp director said the program had made a significant impact.
“Some of these kids come here they’re crying because they’ve never been away from home. Then they’re the kids crying when they get back on the bus because they don’t want to leave. We see their confidence skyrocket they’re independent, their social skills everything is made great at camp good days,”
Making the lives of these kids a little brighter at the end of the day.
“These kids will do year-round activities with us, we like to keep them connected, so they know they’re not alone, it’s just not a summer camp, it’s much more than that,” Caitlyn Bailey, camp director.
Jerry is just one of the 600 campers at Camp Good Days this year. He says he hopes to become a camp counselor and a professional basketball player.
“Help out kids they don’t even have to know them just bring random kids to cause they went through something a blessing to be honest with you,” said Williams.
Next week is Teddy’s Team camp ages 8 to 12 who have cancer or sickle cell anemia.