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Town Meeting Notes February 2014

Town Meeting Notes February 2014

The Camp Venture Council of Advocates met on Monday February 10, 2014. Present were Jennifer A, the President, Meagan R, the Vice President, Lee, the Treasurer and Howard E, the Secretary. Terry Freson acted as the group’s Facilitator and Agency Executive Director, Dan Lukens took notes. About 80 voting members of the Council were in attendance though many arrived after the opening gavel.

It was dark and cold winter evening that greeted Council members as they arrived for the 6:45 meeting. With the strain of the worst winter in a decade weighing heavily on them, the members trickled into the hall clad in their coats, gloves and scarves and plodded to their respective seats so that the evening’s business could proceed.

Jen, with some instruction from Dan Lukens, called the group to order at about 6:50 PM, said hello, but passed on an opening statement. She then turn the floor over to Terry Freson to open the regular session of the Town Meeting. This was Jen’s first meeting as President.

Tom B. was the first speaker and after a brief introduction opened with a conversation about his job at Macy’s which he has held for 32 years. Tom explained that some aspects of his employment contract had changed. He talked about the how the rebuilding of the mall was now completed and that it had changed too. He talked about family and said that he was please that he was keeping his affairs in order.

Jennel stepped to the front of the room wearing a confident grin. “I missed Danielle (staff)” she said in a booming voice and in the manner of a preacher offering a sermon. “I missed her because she is a good person and I thank Jesus for her for being so good to me!” she announced emphatically.

The room rose in applause.

Peter S, still wearing his coat, was all business as he addressed the group in a dire tone. “I help the people,” he said. “I do my chores, help out and take care of my things,” he said.

“I said a prayer for George B.”

Mike S. lamented the cold weather and seemingly endless Winter. “I miss the Yankees,” he said.

Mike C. introduced himself in his usual affable way. He talked about his family but also said that liked his housemates and his staff very much. “I like my job at Pathmark.” And, with the mention of that, the group clapped for Mike.

“The Seahawks won the Superbowl and I got a new phone,” he said. And, as Mike held it up, the group again applauded for him.

Patrick M. also still wearing his coat, offer a few words on Thomas House and the Main Street Day Program.

Dan Lukens made a special note of Patrick and asked the group to join him in applause.

Ryan came to the microphone with his notes. He paused and flipped through his book apparently looking for some reference.  He did this over and over for a time but after a few false starts, Terry Freson indicated that his time had elapsed. Ryan was apparently not happy and returned to his seat.

Susie S, approached the podium and Dan Lukens made a point of saying how much better she look and and asked the assembled to offer a show of support which they did with an ovation.

“I miss my father,” she said sadly,

Dana bounced to the front of the room looking a bit nervous but with encouragement from Terry F. she grasped the microphone and addressed the group. “Thank you all!” she said and the group applauded warmly as this was Dana’s first time as a speaker.

Jeff K, speaking with some authority, described the dinner at Courage House that night and offered appreciation to his staff. “We had meatloaf and vegetables and Franz did a great job,” he said. “I am working hard, getting along and I am doing great!” he said. The group applauded for Jeff in response.

Harvey used his time, as usual, to woo the ladies and, in particular, the ladies from Venture North. He also said that; “Danny (referring to the Executive Director) is a nice guy.”

Lukens acknowledged Harvey for his kind words.

Judy announced that she was going on a Sprout trip. She said she enjoyed bowling and appreciated her staff.

Eileen stood at the lectern and, at first, instead of speaking, posed for pictures. She then asked for the attention of the room apparently in order to wish them a good night.

Tasin wished everyone a Happy New Year. “I am going home for Easter,” she said happily. And, the group offered applause for Tasin.

Marie recalled fond memories of a dear friend to all and intrepid Council-member, George B. “I went to church to pray for him,” she said.

James L. seconded that statement and said the he too would offer prayers for George.

Susie T. spoke to the group’s obligation to consider the poor and the less fortunate. “People need food and we need to remember them,” she said. Susie also told the group sadly that her staff Marie was no longer at the workshop and that she missed her.

Kathleen C. approached the front of the room to the applause of the room. Missing was the walker that had accompanied her at other meetings and the change did not go unnoticed.  “I am doing fine,” she said and again the room rose in applause. “I am doing a lot of work. I have been painting and I really like it,” she said.

“I miss George,” Kathleen added sadly. “He was a very nice man.”

Peter M. introduced himself and he reminded the group that he is the Special Advisor to Executive Director, Dan Lukens.  He congratulated Jen A. on her election and talked about Special Olympics and said that we should bring it back the way it used to be. Peter also reiterated that he felt very strongly that the staff needed a raise. That brought an enthusiastic response from the room.

Ayal announced that he was going to Israel. He also said that he wanted to make more money.

Dan Lukens made a point of thanking Ayal for his attendance.

David F. told the group that he had lost 5 pounds.

Billy A. told the group that the previous Saturday he gone out for dinner in New jersey and had Chinese.

David L. said that he was getting a new coat. He was also going for blood work and that Julie was taking him. “Meow,” he said in the manner of an off-color joke.

Terry T. told the group that she had recently moved to Mellucci House. “I don’t want to move anymore,” she said.

John F. recounted the final score of the Super Bowl and reminded the group that that night the Olympic Winter Games would be televised. “I’m a Yankee fan,” he told the group to their applause.

John used the balance of his time to acknowledge Executive Director, Dan Lukens, President Jennifer A. and her cabinet and they, in turn, acknowledged John.

Merlin told the group that he was in the Rockademy Band with Robert and Lee.

Richard said that he had spoken to Marie P. on the phone and by his tone the romantic implications were apparent. He also reported that Nellie had moved from his house and said he missed her.

“I have so many things to tell you,” Robert H. said. “Valentines Day is coming and I am looking forward to the party.”

On a sadder note, Robert told the group that his father had died and that he missed him very much. “That is something that Ryan, Lee, Micheal and I share,” he said refer to three of his house mates who had also lost their fathers.

Kevin explained to the group that he had had surgery and that he was grateful for the support of his staff, especially Julie Langdon and also to his parents.

Zac spoke in endearing terms about his mother. “I love her. She is always there for me and I am so thankful for having such a great mother.” The group clapped for Zac.

Peter also indicated that Nellie had moved and that she was missed. He recounted some of his bowling scores and said that he was looking forward to the Valentine’s party.

Bernadette took a confident stance at the lectern as she introduced herself though no introduction was really needed. “I like my job at Target and I am getting a raise,” she said. After mentioning the upcoming Valentine’s Day party, she told the group that she like to cook. “I like to cook and help my staff by going food shopping and helping out at the house,” she said beaming with pride. She talked about her family and a planned trip to Lake George. She yielded the floor to an enthusiastic applause.

Randy was all giggles as she took the floor. She chided staff, Wycliff, Sarah and Dana before offering congratulations to Jen A. on her election.

Kellyann took the floor nervously and with some reluctance. I went to work today but left early to go shopping. We had lunch at McDonalds.

“Sunday I went to the mall,” Angel said “I had my nails done, we went shopping and had dinner. Everything is going well at my house and I am so looking forward to Valentine’s Day,” she said.

Dieter offered a brief update on things at Rodgers House. Dan Lukens made a point of asking the group to join him in applause for Dieter.

Maria R. offered a brief comment on the coming of Valentine’s day.

With the conclusion of Maria’s statement, Jen A. closed the regular session of the Town Meeting. With that, she then took her time (at the microphone) and then offered the floor to her cabinet.

Jen spoke enthusiastically about her election and said that she would not be available for the next Town Meeting because she was going to Myrtle Beech with her family. “I will miss you guys,” she said.

Meagan R, Jen’s Vice President and the group’s Past President, spoke next. “I got a new phone too,” she said holding it up. “Jen,” she said addressing the president. “You are going to make an awesome president,” she said as the roomed clapped in response.

Lee was next: “First of all, I am beyond words that I am still serving on the cabinet,” he said referring to the fact that he was continuing on the cabinet from Meagan’s administration. Lee announced that the Spring Musical was going to be the Wizard of Oz.

With the conclusion of Lee’s statement, Jen called the meeting at around 8:10 PM.

It was a good meeting but with the first hint that it was over, council members rose from their seats and were on their way toward the door. And, as they left, there was little of the usual conversation or pleasantries of the good weather gatherings. It was like everyone just want to get home.

Outside it was cold, yet another dreary forecast in a seemingly endless Winter. Yes, better days were ahead but tonight, no one seemed to be feeling it.

If there was any warmth at all, it was only for a dear departed friend and former council member. George, a good man and a classy guy, was on their minds. He had inspired them to better things and that mark was with them. On this night, his memory was all that lit their way through a dark night and the cold journey home.

 

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2008 Rockland County Autism Symposium Venture Foundation Address
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