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Town Meeting Notes June 2013

Town Meeting Notes June 2013

The Camp Venture Council of Advocates met on Monday, June 24, 2013. Present were Meagan, the President, Jen, the Vice President, Lee, the Treasurer and Theresa P, the Secretary. Julia Langdon acted as the group’s Facilitator and agency Executive Director, Dan Lukens, took notes. About 80 voting members of the Council were in attendance.

Council members arrived at the Center in the light of this pleasant early summer evening. Few of the members had arrived on time for the 6:45 gathering and it was not until 7:05 that the President finally hit the opening gavel and called the meeting to order.

Meagan passed on an opening statement and turned the floor over to Dan Lukens, as requested, for a few announcements.

Lukens told the group that their lobbying efforts and those of advocates from across the state had been successful. Legislation, introduced by the New York State Assembly, Lukens reported, had found agreement with Governor Cuomo for a full restoration of a $90M budget reduction put forth earlier in the year. That legislation, which threatened to impact support services for people with developmental disabilities and their families, was of paramount concern to members of the group, several of whom, had written to their legislators and/or traveled to the capital to have their voices heard on this important issue.

The announcement drew enthusiastic applause.

An informational event, “Rock Your Day” was also announced by the agency director. “We will be hosting the Self Advocacy Association of New York’s, Rock Your Day event which will be offered here in the Venture Center auditorium. It is an informational event so that you can find out about new day opportunities,” Lukens said. He also asked for speakers whom he said would be people with interesting jobs or whom were involved with volunteer activities. The date of the event is July 11, at 10AM till 1:00PM.

With the conclusion of Lukens statement, Meagan opened the regular session of the Town Meeting and the floor to speakers. Dave L. stepped forward and was the first to offer comment.

David told the group about a planned visit to his sister-in-law, Mary Lukens’, in July.

“Hi everybody,” Jennel announced in booming voice and in the manner of an evangelical preacher trying to wake their congregation out of a Sunday morning daze. “I have not seen my staff Danielle in long time and I missed her. But today she is back and I thank God for that”! she said.

The group applauded for Jennel and Danielle.

“How are you doing today,” Michael S. said not in the manner of a question but more as a conversational statement. Michael talked about his job, the Yankees and a planned trip out West.

Marie P. said that she had bowled a 98 on Saturday and was hoping that her cumulative scores would put her in good standing in the tournament that was due to close in July. Awards time was coming and Marie said she had her eye on the prize which was for the really big trophy.

Kathleen also said that she was looking forward to the close of the tournament. She said that she enjoyed the Butterfly Ball gala and spoke enthusiastically about the dancing. Kathleen also discussed household chores, church and an upcoming family visit.

Tom B. described the past work week at his job at Macy’s. He also discussed some of the ongoing challenges. He said he was looking forward to a family trip to New Hampshire and then to the Jersey shore.

Patrick M. offered an inspired oration on life at Thomas House, his family and the Main Street Day program. As he yielded the floor, Dan Lukens stood up in applause for Patrick and the group joined him in a standing ovation.

Jeff announce proudly the group that his last paycheck from Venture industries was for more than $70. “I am working hard and respecting everybody,” he said proudly to the applause of the room.

Mike C. told the group about a recent visit to the Stony Point Battle Field historic site. “It’s from the Revolutionary War” he said. He also discussed the weekend he spent with his family and a planned trip to Atlantic City.

Susie T, spoke warmly of he staff, Marie, from the workshop.

Emerson told the group that he liked his job at Venture Industries. “I am working hard and I like to see my friends,” he said.

Trisha proudly announce that she had gotten a strike on Saturday at the New City Lanes. “I like bowling,” she said.

Ryan approached the front of the lectern with some hesitation and spoke as if he were an actor delivering a monologue. “There have been days,” he said. “There have been trying days, but in my house I have found the support of friends. And, there’s one person, they are like a brother to me really. With all of my troubles, I have found joy in my life and a reason for hope. When all of you vote for me as your next President I will be the happiest man in the world. Thank you.”

Susie S. said that she missed her father who had died.

Peter K. explained to the group that this weekend is the last round of the bowling tournament. He discussed his standing and his intent to go for the big win (and the big trophy). Likening himself to Rocky Balboa, Peter said that his intent was to rise from the field and to make his play for glory.

Robert acknowledge the group gracefully and spoke to upcoming planned trips to Washington,  Atlantic City and Delaware.

He also mentioned his role in the Rock of Ages show and with that, the crowd rose in ovation. Robert beamed for the recognition as he left the podium to applause.

Peter S, all business and looking rather stern told the group that he had bowled in the last round of the tournament. “I got a strike,” he said. He also mentioned how he like 711, the Dollar Store and Touching Bases.

Kevin used his time to profess his love for Sandy who looked rather unimpressed. Kevin suggest to Julie Langdon that she facilitate a date between Sandy and himself.

“Okay listen and don’t give me a hard time,” Maria said to the assembled. And, in the manner of a mother hen and wagging her finger, Marie told the group that they needed to work hard and get along.

Zac said that he started a new job at the ARC workshop. “I want to work hard and to keep on striving and fighting and moving ahead. I am never going to give up. It’s my dream and I’m going to live it.”

Roger announce the sad news of his brother-in-law?s passing.

Jeff B. told the group that it was his birthday which inspired applause from the group.

“The Yankees won on Saturday 7 to 5 over Tampa Bay,” John F. announced. He acknowledged the Council leadership on the dais and said that he was looking forward to a trip to Orlando Florida in October.

Peter M. reminded the group that he was the Special Advisor to the Executive Director. He offed a few ideas to the group and pledged his support for the present Council leadership.

Kellyann spoke to Jeff’s Birthday, wished him well and asked the group to join her in acknowledging Jeff’s special day.

Doug B. spoke enthusiastically to the start of the summer season.

Eileen asked the group for silence and then thanked them for their attention.

Dana, new to the group, warmly acknowledged her housemates and the recreation staff.

Judy used her time to tell the group about a recent shopping trip to Walmart and offered her warm regards to all. “I love you all,” she said and the group applauded as if to return the sentiment.

With the conclusion of Judy’s statement, Meagan announced the close the regular Session of the Town Meeting at around 8:00 pm. She then spoke briefly to her intention to run for reelection.

“We have an election coming in September and I would like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy,” Meagan said. “I will be running!”

The floor was then opened to members of the cabinet.

Lee said, with some reservation, that it has been busy lately (for him). “It’s been crazy but exciting,” he said. “My team (basketball), the Wildcat were down to the wire in the basketball tournament. It was all great until that last game (the Wildcats were edged out in a tough defeat in the 4th period of the playoff series). “The Rock of Ages Show was great but it took a lot of work with practices and rehearsals every day. It was tough but it was great too,” he said.

Lee talked about an upcoming vacation and his ambition to expand his repertoire to include playing the guitar. “I’m a musician and not just a singer, hello!”

Theresa mentioned that she too was in the Rock of Ages show.

Jen warmly acknowledged a new staff in the room whom she addressed directly. “Angel, welcome to the Venture family,” she said and the group joined her in warm applause.

“You wouldn’t believe it but Meg and I tied in bowling in our first game but I got a 135 in the second game. Yes, Rock of Ages was a lot of hard work but I loved it. My parents came to my show and my friends from my day program Everybody was great,” she said listing the cast and offering kind words for each of them.

Meagan close the Town meeting at around 8:15PM.

It was still light as the group exited the auditorium into this beautiful summer night. The hectic days of June were coming to a close and the lazy days of the summer were before them. There was much to be done but also, plenty of good times on the horizon with the prospects of the happy days of summer just ahead. By September it would back to business with lots to do and an election to contend with. For now though, it was a time to enjoy the company of friends and this a near perfect summer evening.

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