Flooding earlier this week left Camp Good Days and Special Times in Branchport under water and mud, but New York state is coming to the rescue. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Governor Bob Duffy announced state funds will assist in the rebuilding of the campsite.
The camp's founder, Gary Mervis, was moved by the news.
"It brought me to tears. It was something I never imagined. As I hung up the phone, it was so good to realize the governor of our state and the Lt. Governor value what we do," said Mervis.
The camp, located on the west side of Keuka Lake, was badly damaged just days after volunteers prepared it for the season . Water flooded out cabins, leaving behind two inches of mud. The damage is estimated at around $70,000.
"When I saw the water coming in and I saw the mud, I felt like I got hit in the stomach and got the wind knocked out of me. I think I went to the bottom of the valley, but this morning when I got that call I came back up," Mervis said.
Duffy was in Penn Yan on Thursday to tour the storm damage. He said someone with the state will visit the campsite to assess the damage.
"I spoke with Gary today and he was emotional about the help. The governor wants to help. I give him full credit for this and getting money out quickly, probably close to the $70,000 estimate. They serve kids and families with cancer and this is the time of year they serve those families," said Lt. Gov. Duffy, D-New York.
The camp's 35th season was supposed to kick off this weekend.
"As Gary said to me, if this happened in November or January it wouldn't be as devastating, but now we're in May and their season is starting."
Plans are put on hold until further notice, and Mervis had to deliver the news to several young adults with caner that they wouldn't be coming to camp this weekend.
"A lot of the kids look forward to coming to camp for a full year. It's like telling kids were canceling Christmas. I don't want to do that and no one here wants to do that. It's something we've never done before so it's was pretty hard," Mervis said.
Mervis said they will also have to cancel another event scheduled in two weeks, but with the funding from the state and the help of volunteers that will start rolling in on Monday, Mervis is hopeful they're not forced to cancel any more programs.
"We're going to do all we can do to make sure we have that 35th summer we've all been hoping to have," he said.
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