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September 13th, 2011

In retrospect it has been an outstanding summer (one of the best in our history) for the Town Shop, measured not just in terms of numbers of participants but more importantly in the quality of participation throughout the experiences offered. It is ironic that such an excellent summer should follow an extremely difficult winter and spring. An early February biopsy result came back a “stunner” and instantly immersed Cheryl in surgery with many many weeks of followup radiation therapy while I soldiered on as care provider at home and working solo (but with the aid of many volunteers and friends) to keep the Town Shop program afloat. WE MADE IT. Cheryl’s prognosis is excellent. The Town Shop endured and remarkably….even flourished. We look back with deep gratitude that we work for sponsors and funders who expressed consistently to “take care of yourselves, that’s all that matters…don’t worry about the program”. Somehow, we managed to do both. Muchas gracias to the Camillus Methodist Church for their continuing “peanut butter ministry” of keeping our kitchen well supplied….. another one of many ways we have been able to keep costs down through austere times. Further kudos to the Town of Camillus who not only provided the Town Shop with a brand new 12 passenger van, but also with a spiffy facelift overhaul of the building’s front deck (accolades from local citizenry has been constant). You make it all possible.

There were many activities this summer that seemed to be self-propelled with burgeoning interest all summer long. 133 total attendance (51 different youth) experienced kayaking over 13 sessions on Nine Mile Creek, South Sandy Creek, and Onondaga Creek. Tuesday night volleyball at Gillie Lake drew a total of 592 players (151 different youth) over a 17 session season that none of us wanted to see come to an end. There were 18 opportunities for seva (selfless service) divided between the Samaritan Center soup kitchen and Sunshine Horse Rescue….total participation was 165. Scattered throughout the summer were 22 adventure opportunities (in nature and in culture) that included Chimney Bluffs, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Ithaca gorges, Green Lakes, Clark Reservation, Taughannock Falls, the zoo, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, Syracuse Jazz Fest, Baltimore Woods, Chittenango Falls, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (4 days of Berkshires camping), and Colorscape Chenango ArtsFest (9/10)….total attendance was 276. And despite a dramatic reduction in building drop-in hours, the Town Shop was open 23 evenings with a total attendance of 615 plus what seemed like a perpetual procession of former Town Shop participants who were back in town for reunions, weddings, family events, or dinner at the hugely successful new restaurant (Krabby Kirk’s) just 2 doors down the street.. It FEELS an impressive tally, and it is well documented within photo galleries on the Town Shop facebook page and website (both youth created).

With Labor Day weekend and the start of a new school year upon us we embark on a much needed vacation that includes warm essential gatherings with our sisters. The last scheduled Town Shop activity will be September 10 (Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival in Norwich). As usual Cheryl accompanies Eric Bacon to 9/22 budget presentation and I will attend 9/12 ADAPEP staff development day. The Town Shop will reopen on October 3 after some weeks of rest, recreation, and recharge. In the wake of a remarkable summer we look forward with optimism to the beginnings of another program year.

Respectfully submitted,
David Vermilya