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Camp Venture Marks Direct Support Professional’s Week

Camp Venture Marks Direct Support Professional’s Week

September 12-18 is New York State’s Direct Support Professionals Week, and Camp Venture is marking this time with a day of honor for each of the agency’s Direct Support Staff groups.

Camp Venture’s founder and first Executive Director, Kathleen Lukens once said that “people who work in service to humanity, they are the heroes of civilized society”.  As a leader, Kathy viewed Direct Support Staff as the principal agents of the agency’s mission.  As a parent, she saw them as people of extraordinary character, whose dedication embodied the most noble aspects of the human spirit.

“Who and what we are as an organization is defined every day by the work of our Direct Support Professionals”, explains Dan Lukens, Camp Venture’s Executive Director.  “If the people who work with the people in our care are caring, then we are caring.  If they are professional, then we are a professional organization.  If they make the choice to go the extra mile for the people they work with, then they not only define themselves as exceptional people, but the organization as well.” said Lukens.

On Monday, September 13, 2010, the agency will honor its Respite an Recreation Direct Support Professional Staff.  On Tuesday, it will honor the DSPs of its Day Habilitation programs.  Wednesday’s honors are for the staff working with individuals and their families in their own homes as At-Home staff are recognized onthat day.  Thursday is the Residential Direct Support Staff Day, and Friday is for the Supported Work and Workshop Direct Support Professionals.

“Our important “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event” to honor staff takes place in January, and our intent in this celebration of Directs Support Professional’s Week is to compliment that day.  Direct Support Professional’s Week is a time for all of us as staff, family and friends to honor the unique contributions of our different staff groups, to reflect on their special contributions and to affirm our connection as an organization.” said Lukens.

The hope of the agency is that on each of the days is that the Staff, the people they serve and their families will all offer some special acknowledgement in their own way.  ”It’s really just about encouraging people on these days to say they appreciate the work of their staff and/or peers, and that they respect the special contributions and challenges inherent in the different tasks faced by staff in these different program areas.  “It’s a simple token of respect but sometimes, simple things are important and go a long way in expressing our gratitude.”  Lukens said.


DATE: Monday, September 13, 2010

Dear Co-Worker, Board Member, Parent, Friend of the Venture Family:

Please join me today, Monday, September 13, 2010 as we mark Respite and Recreation Direct Support Professionals Day.

Camp Venture’s Respite and Recreation Program Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are the Staff of our After School, Venture Good Neighbor and Recreation Programs, as well as the Staff of our Saturday Drop-in and Vacation Respite Programs.  Many of the children who attend these Programs have complex medical needs and/or behavioral challenges.  For the weekday Programs, Staff work with children who are already tired after a full day of school.  Our Vacation Respite Program involves an unusually long day for the children, and our Drop-in Respite Program must often adapt to new children and schedules every week.  In nearly all of the respite Programs, the schedules are not designed to respond to the optimal program conditions for the children per se, but are set up to support the schedule of the family and their needs.

Among our Respite and Recreation DSPs are some of our youngest Staff and seeing them is especially gratifying to me personally.  These are the Staff who make for a fun and exciting social and recreational life for our Consumers.  They bring joy to the lives of our people through parties, events and activities that reflect on our aspiration for a life that is fun, affirming and experienced among family.  They make possible participation in Special Olympics and other opportunities that build confidence and self-esteem. 

Like all of our DSPs, our Respite and Recreation Staff work with the people we serve and their families in a manner that honors the best traditions of this organization.  They are there to serve individual needs, but are also charged with making life fun, exciting and memorable.  To witness their caring and dedication and the very professional manner with which they address their responsibilities is, for me, evidence of a bright future for both Camp Venture and for this work.

This day, Monday, September 13, 2010 is their day.  Please join me in honoring their service with your thoughtful reflection and, if possible, with your words of respect and praise.  Let’s thank them for all they do, and for being the fine people they are.

Respectfully,

Daniel Lukens


DATE: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 

Dear Co-Worker, Board Member, Parent, Friend of the Venture Family:

Please join me today, Tuesday, September 14, 2010 as we mark Day Habilitation Direct Support Professionals Day.  On this day, we honor all the Staff who make up our Day Habilitation Programs across Rockland County. 

Day Program represents what our people are doing with their lives.  Who they are and what they become is a function of the dedication and imagination of the Direct Support Professionals who work with them every day. 

Day Habilitation Staff, like all Staff, are caregivers.  They keep people safe, attend to their needs and ensure their rights and dignity.  Their milieu, however, is the community and their task is to make the people entrusted to them a part of it in a way that defines them as people.  It is about more than caring for people; it is a Program where people explore their choices, develop skills and explore their community.  Day Habilitation is about doing, and it is the DSPs who must develop, prepare and then execute an effective and engaging experience every day for the people in their care.

As mentors, teachers and trusted guides, the Day Habilitation DSPs are the people who make it happen.  They create the context for choices that define the participants and are there with the encouragement and confidence that help our people “go for it”. Camp Venture Day Program participants are artists and musicians.  They are community volunteers and gardeners.  They care for animals and make maple syrup.  They are explorers of the world around them, intrepid adventurers in the life of our community. 

This day, Tuesday, September 14, 2010, is their day.  Please join me in honoring their service with your thoughtful reflection and, if possible, your words of respect and praise.  Let us thank them for all they do, and for being the fine people they are.

Respectfully,


Daniel Lukens


DATE: Wednesday, September 15, 2010

 

Dear Co-Worker, Board Member, Parent, Friend of the Venture Family:

Please join me today, Wednesday, September 15, 2010 as we mark At-Home Direct Support Professionals Day.  On this day, we honor all the Staff who care for people in their own homes. 

In recent years, At-Home residential services have become an important resource to individuals and their families, and an important care option.  In supporting families in their efforts to care for their family members, At-Home DSPs help to build lives of independence for the people they serve in the context of each person’s natural supports and in a manner that is both person-centered and self-directing.

It takes a very special kind of professional to work with an individual and their family in their home with very little supervision.  At Home Direct Support Professionals work from a plan but for the most part, it is up to them to organize the task, ensure the care of the individual, develop activities and work with the family.

At-Home Direct Support Professionals are, perhaps, the least known of our co-workers here at Camp Venture.  Nonetheless, they are an integral part of Camp Venture and their work offers an invaluable service to the people in their care.

This day, Wednesday, September 15, 2010, is their day.  Please join me in honoring their service with your thoughtful reflection and, if possible, with your words of respect and praise.

Let us thank them for all they do and for being the fine people they are.

Respectfully,


Daniel Lukens


DATE: Thursday, September 16, 2010

 

Dear Co-Worker, Board Member, Parent, Friend of the Venture Family:

Please join me today, Thursday, September 16, 2010 as we mark Residential Direct Support Professionals Day.  On this day, we honor all the Staff who care for people in Camp Venture residences. 

Residential services have been a cornerstone of Camp Venture since 1976, when the agency moved beyond the operation of a Summer Camp and took on the 24/7 responsibility for the care of people in our community with developmental disabilities.

Our Residential Staff are the people who make our houses “home” to the people in our care.  If those homes are safe, secure places where needs are met and lives are lived to the fullest, it is because of the professionalism of these Staff.  And, indeed, if these homes are caring, family-like and nurturing, it is because of the dedication and extraordinary service of our Residential DSPs. 

Residential Staff rise in the morning with our people.  They prepare their meals and get them to their jobs or Day Programs.  They are there when our people return from their day and guide them into their evening activities.  They are there through the night, in good weather and bad, in sickness and in health.  Residential Staff are there through all the days of our people’s lives and often, when a Consumer draws his last breath.  They are there beside our people always, living the aspiration that is the heart of Camp Venture.

This day, Thursday, September 16, 2010, is their day.  Please join me in honoring their service with your thoughtful reflection and, if possible, with your words of respect and praise.

Let us thank them for all they do and for being the fine people they are.

Respectfully,


Daniel Lukens


DATE: Friday, September 17, 2010

 

Dear Co-Worker, Board Member, Parent, Friend of the Venture Family:

Please join me today, Friday, September 17, 2010 as we mark Venture Industries and Supported Work Direct Support Professionals Day.  On this day, we honor all the Staff who are on the job with our people, helping them to work as productive citizens.

Like all Direct Support Professionals, our Workshop and Supported Work DSPs are professionals trained to meet the daily personal needs of the people we serve.  More than that, however, our Workshop and Supported Work DSPs are the people who train and mentor our people to work, to be productive and find pride in their efforts and the salary they earn, and to find independence through those efforts. 

The staff ratios are very thin and the task of keeping people focused on a disciplined approach to their work can be arduous.  It involves the king of “tough love” that helps to build not only workplace skills, but also the kind of work ethic and social awareness that is critical for success.

This day, Thursday, September 16, 2010, is their day.  Please join me in honoring their service with your thoughtful reflection and, if possible, with your words of respect and praise.

Let us thank them for all they do and for being the fine people they are.

Respectfully,


Daniel Lukens

 

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