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Recreation and Family Dominate the Conversation at the March Meeting

Recreation and Family Dominate the Conversation at the March Meeting

Town Meeting Notes March 2016

The Camp Venture Council of Advocates met on Monday March 7, 2016. Present were, newly elected President, Don R. and his cabinet which included Amanda, Lee, Meagen and Ryan. Terry Feson acted as the group’s Facilitator and Agency Executive Director, Dan Lukens took notes. About 100 voting members of the Council were in attendance.

Don opened the meeting at 6:55 PM and upon the request of the Executive Director, allow time for Teresa Bachanas to make some initial annoucments. The Executive Director also asked for time.

Teresa spoke briefly about the Wings program’s person-centered interview process. She discussed the option to include a staff recognition ceremony as a part of the next Wings pinning.

Lukens offered congratulations to the new President and his cabinet and made a few agency annoucements before returning the floor to the President who opened the regular session of the Town Meeting.

Tom B. was the first speaker and he began with a brief personal introduction in which he explained that he was a long-time employee of Macys and lived independently in the Lukens Center apartment complex.

Tom talked spoke about some upcoming vacation plans and said that he hoped that he could go from part-time work at his job, to full time.

“I would really like for recreation to get back to normal and for Bingo and the other activies to return,” he said emphatically.

Pradeep introduced imself and said that he too lived at the Lukens Center. He said that he enjoyed going swimming with Tom. “I am doing well and am working on being more independent.”

“I miss Bingo,” Pradeep said in closing. “It is very sad.”

Patrick offered a brief oration on recent events at Thomas House.

The group applauded warmly for Patrick.

Mike S. came forward with little of his characteristic warmth or enthusiasm. Looking very sad he said: “My mom is really sick and I am worried about her.”

Marie reminded the group that in the coming week, that they would all need to set their clocks ahead.

Kathleen gave an update on a family visit and said that she was working hard to help out at the house.

Tasin, smiled and said that she was looking forward to the coming year.

Peter K. acknowledged the new President.

Michael C. said that he was doing well at his job at Shoprite and told the group that he very much liked that he had moved to Brosnan House. “The staff are really great,” he said.

Michael also discussed his coming vacation plans and said that he was really looking forward to getting away this year.

Randi also spoke with some enthusiasm about her vacation plans and said that she loved her staff too.

Barbara H. talked about one of her staff whom she said, “acted like a client.”  That statement, was taken by the group as a term of endearment and all, including the staff responded with laughter and applause.

Richard said that he had called Marie on the phone.

Roger recalled how he had met Terry Freson at his house 10 years before. They both seemed to enjoy the memory.

Susie T. talked mainly about helping out at her house.

Jen A. mentioned her mother with some concern and said that she was in the hospital.

Jim C. offered a few kind words for the group.

Susie S. came forward with tears in her eyes and announced that her father has passed. And, though her emotion was evident, it was not clear whether it had happened recently.

Theresa mention that her dad was also sick.

Jeff Bitman told the group that his dad was in heaven.

Steven M. talked about his job at Burlington Coat Factory. “I got a raise recently,” he announced.

Steven also mentioned that he was looking forward to being in the Spring Musical production. “I have been swimming with Tom and Pradeep,” he said. He also discussed his love of bowling and some of the other activities. “I am concerned about recreation,”  he said. “I don’t see people now. Without evening recreation we don’t have the same connection.”

Billy talked about time spent with family.

Robert said that he missed recreation and especially missed seeing his friends there.

Lisa told the group about a smoke emergency at her house that forced an evacuation. “We were all fine but we had to get out of the house.”

Lisa also talked about her concerns with recreation.

Emerson explained that he was going to day habilitation now and explain with some apparent sadness that the workshop was closing.

Toby explained that he was with Camp Venture for 26 years and said that he loved it.

Barbara H. had a few warm words for her friends.

Dana bounced to the front of the room with her usual exuberance. “I love my friends,” she said.

David L. said that he wanted to get money to buy sticks, tape and glue to make his art projects.

Eileen announced that Saint Patricks Day was coming and that she was Irish.

Judy said that she loved her staff and was grateful for their help.

Judy was the last speaker for the regular session of the Town Meeting and with the conclusion of her statement, Don closed the regular session and took the floor himself.

The President proposed that the wrestling fans in the group get together and make a tribute video. “I have been working with my staff at the house and we have a plan,” he said.

The room responded with enthusiastic applause for Don’s plan.

Progress on the plan will be reported at subsequent Town Meetings.

Amanda took the floor next and suggested that the group do a bake sale to mark Epilepsy Awareness Day.

Lee offered his condolences to all who had family troubles and said that his heart went to to all that were worried about their parents.

Lee’s sympathetic tone would change dramatically, however, when he began to discuss recreation. “I don’t know who screwed up her but we really do not like twhat was done to evening recreation. We can’t see our friends. This is terrible,” he said.

Ryan walked about the wings pinning and said that he was anxious to get involved.

Before Don called the meeting at around 8:10PM, Lukens asked to make a final point.

“ I appreciated the concerns with recreation,? he said. “They are not, however, the result of some nameless person. Be assured that I take full responsibility for the changes. We have this forum so that you have a voice and you have been heard. Nonetheless, changes have been made so, please, before you decide you don’t like what has been done, let’s see how we do with the individual activities. Give it a little time and we will keep the dialogue going,” Lukens said.

Don closed the meeting at around 8:15. And, though the group was clearly not happy about recreation, the Executive Director’s acknowledgement seemed to make it less an insult.

The group exited the hall to a nice late Winter evening. It was warmer and the weather was getting better. Their voices had been heard and though there were outstanding concerns, the evening ended on what seemed a more optimistic note.

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2008 Rockland County Autism Symposium Venture Foundation Address
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