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Camp Good Days Welcomes Int’l Campers

Camp Good Days Welcomes Int’l Kids

BRANCHPORT (WENY) -- It's the 35th anniversary for Camp Good Days and Special Times in Branchport, which is dedicated to people impacted by Cancer.
     The Yates County campsite was destroyed by flash flooding in May and until recently, it was unknown if a program for children from around the world, would run.
     After weeks of hard work by volunteers, Camp Good Days is Back and Stronger than ever.
      "It took me a while to realize that this wasn't a dream," said founder, Gary Mervis.
      Cabin one, that was completely ruined by flash flooding has since been rebuilt. As have many other parts of the camp.
     Making way for campers to enjoy a program they look forward to year after year.
     "At first I was shy. I thought I wouldn't like it, but everyone made me feel at home," said Tahlia Francois, a 10-year-old camper from the Bahamas.
    This is her second year attending the two week camp session.
     Dozens of Campers from the US, Bahamas, Germany, and Dominican Republic, attended as well. They say they cherish the program that's helped them get through some difficult times while battling Cancer.
     Lina Gramm-Bauer is from Germany and has attended since 2011. This year, she was a chaperone.
     "I feel like everyone understands what I'm going through," said Gramm-Bauer. "They understand I am scared of some things and I feel like I am not alone here."
     The international program was started back in 1990, when founder Gary Mervis was put in touch with a doctor from Israel.
     Four children from there packed their bags and headed to the US for 2 weeks. The program has grown exponentially since then.
     "[Campers] gain confidence. It helps their self-esteem and if anything else, they make some pen pals that they can communicate with during the year. They make some very special friends here," said Mervis.
      Next week's session is special for Mervis because it's for campers ages 8-12 who have been diagnosed with cancer. That's the age group his daughter, Teddi was in when she was diagnosed and lost her battle years ago.