F-M students to dance the day away

Fayetteville-Manlius High School students are continuing a decades-old tradition this Saturday Feb. 28. From noon to midnight, kids will put on their dancing shoes to raise money for the nonprofit organization, Camp Good Days and Special Times -- a camp for children suffering from cancer and other life challenges.

"The first dance marathon was held 20 years ago and Camp Good Days became the decided charity as students began sharing experiences, both as campers and counselors," said Christine Anderson, public relations coordinator for the F-M student council.

Throughout the school year, the cause for the marathon is publicized heavily in school and in the community. Students attend an assembly in January that not only advocates the importance of attending the event, but also Camp Good Days itself.

"During the past few dance marathon assemblies, counselors and campers alike speak about the camp, most often discussing how it touched their lives," Anderson said. "Every year, campers are invited to attend Dance Marathon. Last year, as in every other year past, campers had a great time dancing and socializing with students."

In order to attend the event, students are required to raise a minimum of $50. Many students exceed that amount.

"As each student in the school gets to know the cause and understand it, that purely becomes a motivation," Anderson said, noting it takes about $650 to send one child to camp.

In addition to students' donations, there are private donors and companies throughout the community that contribute money, as well as prizes. Last year, the marathon raised more than $110,000, making it the most successful year so far. Funds go towards campsite improvements and also helps cover costs that make it possible for each child to attend camp free of charge.

"Camp Good Days does not try to find a cure for cancer," Anderson said. "Instead, it provides a place away from treatments and even broken families, and gives children a week of pure enjoyment. Some campers say that it truly is the best week of their lives."

Last year, more than 1,100 students from all grade levels attended the event. Anderson estimates the same number for this weekend.

For more information on how to make a donation, please contact Christine Anderson at 692-1942 or email 10canderson1@fmschools.org.

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