Vernon PAL about to start 20th year


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  • PHOTOS BY CHRIS WYMAN Burning off literally thousands of calories per hour is when 40 children together do calisthenics behind the Vernon PAL building.




  • Snack time under the roof of the pavilion.




  • The kids lined up for the PAL inflatable slide that was set up for the day.



About 40 kids got together Friday afternoon at the Vernon PAL for hours of fun on the inflatable slide, “not so much fun” calisthenics, and plenty of snacks and a tacos in a bag lunch under the organization’s pavilion.

But at the same time, members of the PAL Board of Directors were preparing for ways to expand programs for what will be the organization’s 20th year serving the community. The grand opening of the PAL facilities was in August 1995.

According to Vernon Township Police Department Lt. Dan Young, who also serves as a PAL trustee, the PAL is one of the biggest, if not the biggest non-profit organization in Vernon Township and is a success because of the dedication of the volunteers and staff.

Young credits the commitment from the staff and board, which is made up of Vernon residents. He said he feels strongly and is thankful for the tremendous amount of time they devote to helping give Vernon children activities and sports, and to teach the kids about a strong sense of community.

Ed Baruchian, who was on board from the very beginning of the frundraising and planning stages, is the vice president of the PAL Board of Trustees.

As one of the original pioneers of the PAL facilities, Buruchian acknowledges the community effort that went into making the project a success.

“Thanks to all the businesses and contractors in the township who donated countless labor hours and materials, because if it wasn’t for their commitment to volunteering to help in the building process, we wouldn’t have such a beautiful PAL,” he said.

At the same time, he also acknowledges the monetary donations made by the Vernon community for the past two decades.

According to Assistant Director Jeanne Buffalino, at the national level, the Vernon PAL has had three “National PAL Male Youth of the Year” awards and one “National PAL Male of the Year” award in the past nine years.

This week, Buffalino is in Orlando, Fla., at the annual National PAL Conference where this year’s award winner, Justin Annunziata of Vernon, will receive the “2013 National PAL Male Youth of the Year” award for what Buffalino describes as Annunziata’s stellar commitment to the PAL Youth Leadership Council. Annunziata graduated from Vernon Township High School in June and was one of the speakers at the graduation ceremonies.

Buffalino described the current graduating group of youth leadership students as one of the very best that she recalls.

“Since the inception of the youth leadership council some nine years ago, this has been the most productive group of students I have had the pleasure of working with," she said. "They certainly deserve some recognition for their accomplishments.”

Although details about upcoming events and both new and recurring programs are not yet ready for release, additional information about the Vernon PAL and its various offerings can be found at www.vernonpal.com or by calling their office at 973-764-9514. The pavilion also is available as a rental facility.


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