Francesca Chirco and Everly Kessler
Our neighbors at Fayetteville-Manlius High School have shown their support for Camp Good Days in years past by hosting dance marathons to raise funds for the organization. This year will be different as Jamesville-DeWitt and F-M will be joining together in a charity basketball game on Friday, Dec. 8, in order to raise money and awareness for the Camp Good Days organization.
This idea of holding a charity basketball game has been something both schools have wanted to do for a couple of years now, as more people can be involved and a greater impact can be made. This year, the students of both the F-M and J-D National Honors Society have been collaborating in order to plan the “Hoops for Courage” game and the smaller fundraisers that will also be taking place. One of J-DHS’s guidance counselors, Diane Ennis, who has been on the Camp Good Days board for three years, was especially interested in hosting a charity game, and she was the one who presented the idea to the NHS officers. Mrs Ennis hopes that this will be a very successful fundraiser and she says her main goal is to “raise money and awareness while having fun in the process.”
The NHS officers from both schools have been planning the game for weeks via conference calls and over email. The officers have been promoting the charity game by putting up posters and giving students the chance to pre-order “Hoops For Courage” shirts for $15. All profits from both of the school’s shirt sales will be given to Camp Good Days. The NHS officers are also responsible for coordinating the details with Mrs. Ennis and Camp Good Days as 10 local campers are being honored at the game and will also be attending a few of the practices. “This game is our way of showing that we care for our community and will always be there to support one another,” says NHS co-vice president, Jenna Vespi.
Leading up to the game, J-DHS’s and F-MHS’s Varsity Boys Basketball teams will be holding joint practices where the campers will have the chance to meet the teams and interact with the players. The coaches are planning to make these practices more relaxed and fun so the kids can participate alongside the varsity players. Not only will these practices benefit the children, but the coaches and players will be equally as impacted.“I think that the joint practice will make the kids less intimidated by us and will be really inspirational for our team,” says J-DHS Head Coach Jeff Ike.
In addition to selling t-shirts at the game, tickets for 50/50 raffles will also be available, as will be tickets to win various baskets donated by local businesses. All revenue from the sales will be donated to Camp Good Days to be used to benefit the children attending the Camp. During the game, children who attend Camp Good Days will serve as honorary coaches and cheerleaders for both teams. These children will be escorted by the players onto the court at half-time as students and spectators alike listen as the J-D Honors Chamber Choir, which is a chorus of 24 hand-picked signers, and campers sing Fight Song, the camp’s anthem. “When I realized I would be playing in this game, I was happy that I would be a part of raising and helping out for this foundation,” says sophomore Matthew Ceiplicki.
For Coach Ike, this is his first time coaching at a charity game of this size. He plans to play this game like any other but reminds his players that “it’s more of raising money than a competitive game.” Senior captain Takuya LaClair is also motivated to give the campers the best possible experience as he knows that this game is important for the kids, their families, the organization, and even both schools. “It’s good that we’re doing this to spread awareness to make their days and make them happy,” says LaClair.
Camp Good Days Syracuse is an organization that provides free programming to kids of all ages who have been diagnosed with cancer. The purpose is to raise their spirits and to create interaction between local children with cancer, as they are the only ones who truly understand each other's struggles.This organization originated in Rochester, New York but has since spread to 22 other states. According to Campgooddays.org,1,500 kids, adults, and families are helped by the organization each year.
“It shows the kids that there is more to athletics than just winning and losing. You can use it as a platform to be helpful and I think that’s one of the big things that makes it an important game,” says Coach Ike.
Come support this great cause!