Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Camp Good Days Reopens
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
BRANCHPORT (WENY) -- After being delayed for 6 weeks due to damage from flash flooding, Camp Good Days and Special Times in Branchport is back open.
The Childhood USA I Program kicked off today, filled with over 60 children who have a parent that has been diagnosed with cancer in the last three years.
"I didn't really think there was going to be a camp," said 12-year-old Torin O'Leary "It's better than it was before which it's going to be hard to top what it was before, but I think they could do it."
After coming back to Camp Good Days and Special Times, year after year, Torin O'Leary didn't know if he would be able to build memories he cherishes.
One cabin had to be completely demolished and is currently being reconstructed.
"It's fun to see it develop every year," said O'Leary. "You come back and think, 'Wow, what are they going to do next year?' How are they going to top that?'"
The camp was founded by Gary Mervis, in honor of his daughter Teddi, who lost her battle with cancer.
Mervis said he thought the camp would have to be canceled in its 35th year. He thinks programs like the Childhood USA I are what Camp Good Days is all about.
"They know the friends they made here can understand what they are going through because they themsleves are going through it," said Mervis.
The site suffered close to half a million dollars in damages, state aid is still pending.
But with help from the community, and volunteers like Matt Elkins, a thyroid cancer survivor, former camper and current counselor, the camp is finally back open.
"It's a huge relief because I was looking forward to Summer so much and I can't wait to start it this week and it should be pretty fun," said Elkins.
This program lasts a week. The camp has various week-long and weekend programs up until Labor Day Weekend.