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Town Meeting Notes May 2016

Town Meeting Notes May 2016

The Camp Venture Council of Advocates met on May 2, 2016 in the Coleman Gromack Auditorium of the Venture Center. The meeting included a planned Wings Ceremony. Present were President, Don R. and his cabinet members; Amanda, Lee, Meagen and Ryan. Terry Freson acted as the group’s Facilitator and Dante Giordano and Teresa Bachanas were there for the Wings Ceremony. Executive Director, Dan Lukens took notes. More than 80 voting members of the Council were present.

Don opened the meeting at 7:55 and deferred his time opting to open the regular session of the Town Meeting before speaking.

Vincent was the first speaker.

With some excitement in his voice Vincent announced that he was starting a new job. He talked about his house and said that he was pleased that the Yankees had won.

Tom B. introduced himself as a resident of the Kathleen Lukens Independent Center Apartment Complex and reminded the group that he was a long-time employee of Macy’s. After speaking in some detail about his various job responsibilities, Tom talked about his comradery with his coworkers and some of the thing sthat they were doing together outside of work.

Pradeep similarly described himself as a resident of the Living Center. “I am looking for a new job that pays more money,” he announced. He also talked about how he enjoyed bowling and swimming. “I am working very hard to be independent and to manage my apartment and my affairs,” he said.

Peter M. reminded the group that he was the special advior to the Agency Executive Director. “We have to get a raise for the staff,” Peter said emphatically. “We have to go to Albany and speak with the Governor.”

The room rose in applause.

Mike S. asked how everyone was doing before briefly discussing the Yankee’s progress to date this season.

“Good evening everyone,” Mike C. said with his usual enthusiasm. “I am a bagger at my job and I am doing well. I moved to a new house and my staff and housemates are really cool. And,” he said. “The Yankees a doing well.

Tasin addressed the group with her usual charm. “Hello everybody,” she said. “I am really looking forward to going on a Sprout trip this summer,” she said.

Randy told the group how much she appreciated her house staff. She asked each of them to stand up in turn and the assembled acknowledged them in turn with their applause.

Jeff K. announced that he was doing well on his job at Toys R’Us. “I am doing great and everyone treats me really well at my job and at my house.”

Joel told the group that he was going on vacation to Lake George this summer.

Kathleen C. talked about a planned trip to Amish Country and said that her bowling had improved.

Jennel introduced herself with a booming: “Hello everybody!” She talked about working and helping out and said that she was proud of the work she was doing and grateful to her staff. “I’m working and I’m happy!” she announced at the top of her voice. “Amen for Jenel!”

Susie T. talked about her bowling progress and said that she was especially fond of several of her staff.
“I care about my friends a lot,” she said.

Peter S. announced that he had surgery at the hospital but said he was on the mend. “I have permission to go back to work now and to help out around the house.”

Deter addressed the group warmly and though some of what he said was not apparent, the sense was that he appreciated his friends.

Susie S. said that her staff were the best and that she appreciated them.

Marie Prior said that she had been collecting cans and had amassed $100 worth which she recently redeemed.

Jeff B. used his time to express his affection for his friends.

Eileen took the floor and asked for attention. She announced the names of her house staff in turn and asked that they stand and be acknowledged which, the did. The group offered a warm applause for each.

Bernadette told the group that she worked at Target and said that she was doing really well there and loved her job. “Tomorrow I am cooking dinner for my house,” she said with great pride. “I am doing well and working hard.” She also reminded the group that Mother’s Day was coming soon.

Lilian used her time to offer a beautiful musical tribute which was greatly appreciated by all as evidenced by the roar of applause they followed her performance.

David L. used his time to offer a little of his brand of off-beat humor. He said that he was looking forward to the reopening of O’Donnehugh’s Pub.

Missy said that she loved Tanglewood Acres, Kathy, Joe and everyone at the house.

Jen announced the sad news of her mother’s passing. “I just found out about my mother and it’s very sad. I pray for her,” she said.

Jen also wished Don and his cabinet well and said that he thought that they were doing a great job which, they seemed to appreciate.

Barbara H. stepped to the front of the room and did a little happy dance which, by the applause, seemed to be appreciated by all.

Steven said that his job at the Burlington Coat Factory at the Palisades Mall was going well. He also talked about participating in Olympics with John and Robert, his friends from the Kathleen Lukens Living Center. And, he discussed his role in the upcoming Spring musical and said that he was excited about being a part of it.

Billy, being the consummate foodie that he is, used his time to describe in some detail the fine points of his most recent dining experiences.

At or around 7:40 PM the President adjorned the regular session and handed the floor over to Dante Giordano for the Wings presentation. And, as Giordano began to addressed the group, music arose from a speaker behind him breaking the solemnity of the Council proceedings. And as the air of triumphant celebration began to permiate the hall, Dante Addressed the group with the enthusiamd befitting the triumph of this occasion.

Dante offered a brief review of the initiative As the anticipation rose in the room. “We are working with every person, interviewing them and talking to the people near and dear to them as a part of a person-centered investigative process to discover the heart and soul of their aspirations, priorities and preferences. The intent, he continued, is to help us to work together on a personal plan that will help them to realize a personal goal that is life-defining.”

The Wings presentations, he explained, are a celebration of the individual. In that sense ,“getting your wings” is about living your dreams.

First to be honored was the Council’s President Don R. who was honored for achieving his aspiration to help other to realize their aspirations personal for independence and self-reliance.

Phillip was recognized for expanding experiential horizons by having realized his bucket list items including visiting local zoos, area aquariums and engaging in new and exciting community events.

Mike C. received a rousing applause as Dante announced that he had gotten the job of his dreams and was now successfully employed.

Rob T. similarly drew applause when it was announce that he was working toward a more independent life but also would be a lead in the upcoming Spring dramatic presentation.

Ralph, Giordano announced, is now participating in the Olympics.

For Jimmy, being able to shop independently was a personal goal that his is now realizing.

Patrick’s aspiration was to spend more time with family which, he is now doing with greater frequency.

Terry’s goal was to get out more and to get back into life after facing a number of health set backs. And, she’s doing it and by the smile she wore as she received her award, it’s working to help her find a better outlook.

Frank just wanted to make a new friend which he did and that has become an important connection.

Finally, for Peter, the goal was a matter of health and the significant weight he has lost speaks to a dream come true for a better and more active life.

With the completion of the Wings Ceremony, the President took the floor again and offered his heart-felt congratulations to all the Wings awardees. “Congratulations to all of you,” he said. “It’s a great day for you and for Venture too. You make us proud!” he said emphatically and, indeed, they have.

Don opened the floor at this point to members of his cabinet and Amanda was the first speaker.

“ I think we should do other things besides wresting,” she said referring to a major initiative by the president to reach our to the World Wrestling Federation with a Venture Tribute Video.

Meagen used her time to assert that Venture was number one and in doing so referred to the organization as influenced by the investment of its self advocates.

Lee talked about the upcoming play and said that though he was excited about it, that it was a lot of work.

Ryan used his time to offer a thoughtful tribute to his friends and staff.

At around 7:50PM, with time still, Don reopen the floor to the regular session of the Town Meeting.
Angel was the first speaker and she used her time to say how much she loved her family and was looking forward to seeing them.

Lisa, speaking for the first time, asked Terry Freson and her friend Amanda to join her. “I want to say that Terry is like my grandma.” As she said this, Lisa, Amanda and Terry had a group hug and the room rose to their feet in applause. It was a touching moment.

Robert appealed to the group to come to the upcoming Spring production and to support the players. “Come out. We’d love to have you there.”

It was a great night. It was a night of celebration for their achievements and to embrace one another as a family of friend. Absent from the conversation was the concerns for the recreation changes that dominated the previous meeting though the new options were not emergent themes either. Mostly the tone was war, positive and in the best spirit of Camp Venture.


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