Camp Chautauqua Raises $100,000 For Site Connected To Cancer

Staff from Camp Good Days which provides camping experiences for people with cancer and their families, attended Camp Chautauqua’s Pay-It-Forward event. From left to right are: Jeff Bartholomew, Director of Finance for Camp Good Days; featured speaker Amy Swanson; Matt Anderson, co-owner of Camp Chautauqua; Terry Buchwald, Elvis impersonator; James McCauley, Director of Community Initiatives; and Amanda Anderson, special events coordinator for Camp Good Days Photos by David Prenatt

“Their overwhelming generosity for people that they’ve never met is beyond anything I could imagine. It just blows me away.”

These words from Amanda Anderson, special events coordinator for Camp Good Days, were in reference to all those from Camp Chautauqua, which donated, organized and participated in the camp’s Pay It Forward event on Aug. 19.

Camp Chautauqua is now in its 12th year of raising funds for Camp Good Days, a camp on Keuka Lake in Branchport, that provides camping experiences for cancer victims and their families.

Throughout the year, Camp Chautauqua solicits donations from its members. On event day, these are auctioned off and all proceeds go to Camp Good Days. “The thing that always amazes me is that the people here don’t know our campers,” Anderson said. “What Camp Chautauqua has done goes over and above what any other camp has done.”

The fundraiser for Camp Good Days began 12 years ago when Camp Chautauqua co-owner, Matt Anderson, suggested that the organization Campgrounds of New York conduct fundraisers for cancer victims. Several campgrounds also hold annual fundraisers; however, Camp Chautauqua is the lead fundraiser.

“Matt Anderson will start seeking donations tomorrow for next year,” Amanda Anderson said.

Last year, more than $91,000 was raised through the event. Although the final tally has not been completed, Matt Anderson said he is sure the total has exceeded $100,000. “What a difference a small community can make,” he said.

Other members of Camp Good Days staff also attended the auction and expressed their gratitude. “I wanted to come down and see it for myself and say ‘thank you,’ ” said Jeff Bartholomew, Director of Finance for Camp Good Days. “The turnout, the generous auction, the donations — it really is overwhelming that they would go out of their way to do this for Camp Good Days.”

It is events such as this that allow Camp Good Days to operate as it does, Bartholomew said. “We will definitely put the funds to good use,” he said. “The camp is free for everybody and events like this allow us to keep it free so we can have as many campers as possible.”

James McCauley, Jr., Director of Community Initiatives for Camp Good Days, credits Matt Anderson and his family for the tremendous support they receive from Camp Chautauqua. “We are overwhelmed by this,” he said. “We are so thankful and we would not miss it for the world.”

McCauley noted how Camp Good Days began in 1979 with practically no resources at all. It was originally created to give children with cancer the experience of camping. “It’s going stronger than ever,” he said. “Forty-nine summers later, we have the pleasure and privilege of serving more than 50,000 from 23 states.”

For this event, Matt Anderson colored his hair pink and wore a pink shirt with the cancer ribbon logo. On the back the shirt read: which said “real men wear pink” on the back. “This year is busier than ever,” he said.


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