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David Vermilya, Class of 1966, Inducted in 2001

David Vermilya and his wife Cheryl have helped raise hundreds of children over the last thirty years.  That's how long they have been co-directors of the Town Shop Youth Center in Camillus, NY. 

Originally started as a program of the YMCA, the Town Shop was created to give local youths a place to find guidance and support in the community.  But it became so much more.  Under David's leadership, the Town Shop blossomed into a place for area teens to enjoy recreational activities, homework help, cultural events and field trips.

"As a teenager," said a former Town Shop participant, "these trips were a time to be with friends, get away from the pressure of family and school, and to see some places that I otherwise could not have afforded as a high school student.  I can look back and see how the Town Shop has helped me to become the adult that I am today." 

The Town Shop is open Monday through Thursday afternoon and evening, and Sunday nights.  There are areas for games, studying, a library, a kitchenette and a large hall for entertainment.  They offer canoes and kayaks, snowshoes and cross-country skis for a variety of outdoor activities. 

In addition, three major outings are planned each year such as a music festival in the Berkshires, sight-seeing in New York City and a whale watch off Cape Cod.  But that is not all.  Participants also are encouraged to help others.  They serve meals at the Samaritan Center in Syracuse and distribute small flags for the village at the memorial Day parades.


His work has not gone unnoticed by the larger community, either.  The list of his awards is lengthy.  These include the New York State Legislature Exemplary Program Award (1992), the Town of Camillus citizen Appreciation Award, the JC Penney Golden Rule Award (1998) and the Post Standard Achievement Award (2000).


David has fond memories of growing up in Manlius.  He was very active in school, both as a musician and an athlete.  "I always had lots of connections to my community," he says.  "Between activities in school, church, family and the community it was a great atmosphere to grow up in.  Now I am trying to create that same climate for young people in the Camillus area.  Support of youth opportunities means positive youth development."


When he is not involved in his work at the Town Shop, David enjoys basketball, softball, volleyball and music.  He also loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and canoeing.  "The best part is," he adds, "I get to do all the things I love doing, with the kids at the Town Shop.  And I get paid for it!"

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