Good Days Are Ahead

The other evening my wife and I, along with some friends, attended the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, which included an auction and dinner. There was great wine from all over the world. I’m very proud to say that two Finger Lakes wines took top honors: Sheldrake Point Vineyard for Best Ice Wine and Chateau Lafayette Reneau for Best Riesling. This region continues to prove it makes world-class wine.

Tasting wine and enjoying friends was certainly a great time, but the theme of the evening was Camp Good Days and Special Times, located in Branchport. They are receiving 100 percent of the net proceeds from the auction and dinner, which will be used to fund camp stays and events to benefit children from around the world who are battling cancer. As one camp attendee who is now a young woman said, “Camp Good Days and Special Times is a place to go where no one is questioning how you look because you have no hair or you don’t have energy like healthy children do. It’s just a place to be yourself and be happy for a time.”

Camp Good Days requires donations and volunteers to operate fully. This is quite an order for such a popular retreat, because a large number of people from around the world attend. The camp is a wonderful jewel in the crown of the Finger Lakes, and we should all consider contributing to its cause.

Recently, another friend had a severe accident while felling trees in his woods. Even though he’s an experienced woodcutter, a freak accident occurred and a tree hit him in the head on its way to the ground. He sustained serious head injuries, and through the insightful actions of his wife and neighbors, Mercy Flight was dispatched to their location.

Mercy Flight is another worthy organization that could use contributions. Many times people who have suffered severe trauma would not make it if not for the quick response of the helicopter’s crew and the emergency personnel in Rochester. I’m forever grateful for the work of these emergency workers and their technology, to keep my friend with us longer.

Gary Mervis, the chairman and founder of Camp Good Days and Special Times, borrowed an idea from a speech that Jim Valvano used at the ESPY awards. He said something to the effect of, “To fully live a day, you need to laugh a little, cry a little and think a little.” Gary guarantees that if you volunteer at his camp, you will live each day to its fullest.

To volunteer your time, efforts and money please visit and also visit Have a great summer!

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