For most children, summer camp is a place to make new friends and create lasting memories. It is a place where having fun is the biggest priority. But camp might have been out of reach for children affected by cancer—that is, until Camp Goodtimes opened in 1984.
Camp Goodtimes offers a no-cost camp experience to children affected by cancer, allowing them to escape from the hospital and enjoy a few weeks of just being a kid. Activities include kayaking and other summertime favorites such as campfire songs and team-building exercises. “Camp Goodtimes gives children back their childhood, providing a week to make friends, play, learn new skills and reconnect to who they are as people, not patients,” says Carol Mastenbrook, executive director. “I see the evidence of the healing power of laughter every day at camp.”
Over the past 30 years, the camp was funded and operated under the umbrella of the American Cancer Society. Last year, the ACS announced a shift that would have eliminated Camp Goodtimes if not for the generous funding of local donors. The camp is supported 100 percent by the community. Two major events during the year fund the camp: the Goodtimes Wine Auction in the spring and the Drive-A-Thon in October. The campaign for next year’s camp has just begun with a goal of $450,000, so support from individuals and community businesses is critical.
Support also comes from volunteers for the summer camp and donations throughout the year. Volunteers play a vital role in the success of Camp Goodtimes. With positions ranging from summertime camp counselors to year-round administrative support, the organization offers an abundance of opportunities for those looking to donate their time to a precious cause.
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