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Here Comes Summer

June 16th, 2012

Warming temps already mean a reduction in hours the TS building is open (just Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) with expanded emphasis on outdoor experiences. Town Shop building hours will also then be further reduced in July to just 2 days per week. Our Summer schedule will be filled with kayaking, volleyball, seva, hiking, camping, & field trips. Some highlights will include trips to: Jazzfest,Ithaca Gorges, Taughannock Falls, Chimney Bluffs, Green Lakes, South Sandy Creek/Lake Ontario Beach, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival w/ Berkshires Camping, Chenango Colorscape Arts Fest, and MANY MORE. Keep checking the website calendar link for times and dates, and the Town Shop Facebook page for more immediate announcements and postings. Phone # 635 6495 (Cheryl & David Vermilya) for questions and information. In Syracuse “summer doesn’t last as long so it means a little bit more”…. get out and enjoy it!

*The Town Shop will be CLOSED June 24 – June 29 while DV’s family visits from New Mexico ….also CLOSED after seva on June 13 as CV/DV celebrate 42nd wedding anniversary.

** And remember If temps are 90 degrees or warmer the Town Shop building will be CLOSED and we’ll look for water or cooler places to be.

2012 ARRIVES… a glance back & a glimpse forward:

January 12th, 2012

Much of 2011 was summarized in the previous homepage narrative. The Town Shop reopened on October 3 after a 4 week staff vacation, and quality and quantity of participation has built steadily into a new school year cycle. A significant enhancement has resulted from the offer to host (and the group’s acceptance) the Into The Mind’s Eye creative writing club who were looking for a home in the wake of austerity budget and activity cancellations in the school district. Every Monday brings an influx of creative young people into the Town Shop to share poems, prose, and illustrations while working together towards publication of a 2X per year creative writing literary magazine. A December OPEN MIC for POETRY attracted 16 readers and 40 listeners. Similarly, 3 live music events (1 Acoustic and 2 Electric showcases) provided more than 30 unique musical performers an aggregate audience of well over 500.

Weekly SEVA (selfless service) continues into the new school year and calendar year with upheld commitments to the Samaritan Center soup kitchen and Sunshine Horse Rescue. Field trip destinations in the final 3 months of 2011 included Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, Chittenango Falls, Clark Reservation, and Chimney Bluffs, while 3 Eating Our Way Around The World (youth initiated) expeditions led to dining and cultural experience in countries as varied as Jamaica, Vietnam, and Mexico. Central New York is RICH in cultural diversity.

We enter a New Year with energy and optimism. And…. we are waiting for SNOW. Our unlikely winter (so far) has left X country skis and snowshoes tuned up but unused to date but ready for action as soon as the snow shows up. Perhaps we will need to get kayaks out of storage instead.

Probably the biggest stressor currently is the uncertainty caused by a continuing difficult public funding climate in New York State. It is ironic that at a time when many young people and their families are struggling with diminished personal resources many community-based resources are also forced into austerity mode simply to insure survival. The Town Shop has endured economic storms many times before in its 41 year existence and will surely weather this current one thanks in large measure to a supportive Camillus community. Town government, local churches and civic groups, and numerous individuals (families and past participants) continue to provide necessary operating supplies and ingredients…. this week ie. Camillus Methodist Church delivered their consistent donation of kitchen pantry supplies.

We will try to keep the website “calendar link” up to date plus continue to make program announcements on the Town Shop facebook page. “Fan up” to receive regular notifications. Soon we hope to also post many new photo galleries depicting 2011 and 2012 activities. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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

“SUMMERTIME and the livin’ is easy” (Porgy & Bess)

June 27th, 2011

Syracuse summer starts this week and after a long winter season….IT’S ABOUT TIME ! The Town Shop adjusts its building schedule (reduced hours) so that we can spend more time doing things outdoors. Hey, summer in Syracuse doesn’t last so long so it means a little bit more. Here is a taste of what the Town Shop schedule will look like:

The building will be open 2 days a week (Mondays and Tuesdays) from 4-10pm. If temps are in the 90′s the building will not be open and we’ll look for someplace “cool” to spend the day.

Kayaking every Monday, 5pm, Nine Mile Creek….boats may be reserved and it is great practice for longer trips on other occasions (Onondaga Creek, South Sandy Creek, Owasco Creek, Seneca River, Clyde River etc.)

Volleyball every Tuesday, 6:30pm, Gillie Lake (leave TS at 6:15…play ’til dark).

Seva at the Samaritan Center on Wednesdays…summertime isn’t easy for everyone in a persistantly difficult economy, and we’ll continue to volunteer as needed to help feed people in need. After-seva activities might include hiking at Baltimore Woods, Camillus Unique Forest, full moon evening hikes, meteor showers, Armory Square, Jamaican dinners at the Jerk Hut etc.

Thursdays through Sundays will be dedicated to special activities and experiences…. HIKING at interesting natural destinations like : Chimney Bluffs 6/23 , Stone Quarry Hill Art Park 6/30 , Fillmore Glen, Chittenango Falls, Ithaca Gorges etc.

MUSICAL TRIPS to Syracuse Jazz Fest 6/25, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 7/21-7/24, Taughannock Falls Concert on the Great Lawn 8/13 (Burns Sisters Band), and Chenango Colorscape Arts Fest 9/10 .

We’ll continue to offer Sunshine Horse Rescue seva on Saturdays as needed followed by Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches (they’re addictive). If it is a HOT Summer there will be plenty of trips to swimming spots like Green Lakes, Lake Ontario, Cayuga Lake and Ithaca Gorges. ALL outdoor activities are WEATHER PERMITTING (if in doubt….phone)

As summer unfolds we will continue to “build” the JULY/AUGUST/SEPTEMBER website calendar pages….continue to check them out for updates, or “friend up” on the Town Shop facebook page to have program reminders come directly to you. STAY COOL and STAY TUNED.

A Period Of Transition

April 17th, 2011

Yesterday’s record-setting temps (85 degrees on April 11…WOW!) remind that warmer weather is soon coming our way. With its advent the Town Shop begins to focus on many more outdoor activities. Monday kayaking, Tuesday volleyball, Thursday picnics, and weekend getaways to destinations as varied as Chimney Bluffs, Tinker’s Falls, Fillmore Glen, & Owasco Creek (and many more) will soon be the norm. We are attempting to keep the website “calendar link” up to date plus Town Shop facebook page offers regular reminders (fan up). In the meantime, over the upcoming Spring break…..zoo trip on April 20 and Beaver Lake hiking on April 21. Plus LOTS of seva opportunities including Earth Day project (& Eating Our Way Around the World after….El Canello’s) on April 30. And one more night of “killer dodgeball” at Shove Park on Wednesday, May 4 (pick-up volleyball begins at Gillie Lake the night before). LET THE GAMES BEGIN – Sunshine Horse Rescue Article