Hilltown Families: Best Blog
Vote for Us by Feb. 13th!
As Hilltown Families enters its eighth year, celebrate the past seven with us by voting for Hilltown Families as Best Blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2013!
Best Blog is listed under the “Information Age” category.
Deadline to cast your votes is Noon, Feb 13th.
Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (listed in the left-hand column)?
Spread the word & share the ❤ love!
ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES
The Hiltown Families blog is part of a online grassroots communication network for families living in Western MA. Serving thousands of families living throughout the region, Hilltown Families’ mission is to connect, collaborate, and create community building events, community based educational opportunities, and service learning experiences.
Through a dynamic blog, social networking, listserv, podcast, online bulletin boards, and collaborations with civic and nonprofit groups, Hilltown Families connects people and organizations in the widespread communities of Western MA by helping area residents share ideas, organize activities, support their children’s education and increase participation in community life.
Founded in late 2005 by long time activist, artist and mother, Sienna Wildfield, Hilltown Families incorporated as a non-profit in the state of Massachusetts last year, currently awaiting the approval of 501(c)3 status.
Dean J. Fusto, Head of Upper School and Assistant Head of The Bement School, Deerfield writes:“Sienna is an extraordinarily talented individual. The genesis of the Hilltown Families concept and website grew directly out of her vision. She has overseen its evolution from its modest infancy to a web presence of major scope. Hilltown Families is an internet destination for so many families living in the Pioneer Valley region and beyond. In addition, vis-a-vis RSS feeds, a Facebook presence, and so many other features … it is by far one of my top destinations to visit as a parent and aficionado of Hilltown culture and life.”
Hilltown Families aim is to reflect the positive work and educational efforts individuals, families, teachers, artists, activist and civic leaders work towards and accomplish in our region, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families/community. Voices of parent’s surviving the struggles and challenges of parenthood and explorations of the region are shared too, along with photography of life and landscapes in Western MA.
Seth Isman, Economic Developer, Hilltown CDC writes: “Hilltown Families is a model resource for the community. When we want to know what’s happening in the hilltowns, we turn to Hilltown Families first.”
Hilltown Families is dedicated to connecting, collaborating and creating community based educational opportunities for children and families in the Western MA. Our list of Weekly Suggested Events in one of the anchor posts of Hilltown Families blog, along with our weekly post, Learn Local. Play Local. These weekly posts help to build and strengthen our local community by sharing family-friendly events and educational opportunities throughout region. And our bi-monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun give highlights happening every two weeks in the far west region of Western MA, Berkshire County.
Jenn Therrien of Westhampton, MA writes: “Hilltown Families supports all of us in whatever our needs are. From informative resources to community activities, Hilltown Families gives us the knowledge! Knowledge is truly power! Hilltown Families is the epicenter of knowledge. With all the information out there, I can always count on Hilltown’s to be accurate, environmentally aware and the articles have our best interests at heart. As Hilltown Familes grows, quality is never compromised! Refreshing at a time when everyone is cutting corners to save money. We don’t need to worry about that here! Hilltown Families also helps us to connect with local businesses that fit our needs and this helps us have a greater sense of community responsibility. Thank you Hilltown Families!”
WHAT WE’VE BEEN CHATTING ABOUT
We had several new Contributing Writers join our fabulous team this past year! Check out this amazing group of writers who lend their voices every month to the Hilltown Families blog:
- Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser ♦ Mash Notes to Paradise
- Bill Corbet ♦ Raising Children: Love, Limits & Lessons
- Alice Cozzolino ♦ In the Kitchen with Alice: Recipes & Local Lore from the Old Creamery Co-op
- Amy Dryansky ♦ One Clover & A Bee: Poems For Families To Learn & Love
- Logan Fisher ♦ Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around
- Theresa Heary-Selah ♦ Engaged Learning: A Look at Western MA Resources
- Kurt Heidinger, Ph.D. ♦ The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers
- Mister G ♦ Under the Hat: Independent Music Education
- Cheli Mennella ♦ Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews
- Kathy Puckett ♦ Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills
- Carrie St. John ♦ What to Play? Play Ideas for Family & Community
We had a great series this past year title Seasons at Our Table where Western MA readers shared how local food brings them together as a family and out into their community. Their recipes, stories, and recommendations were shared in this three part series that corresponded with the seasons, including: Maple Sugar, Farmers’ Markets and Harvest Season.
On Sundays we often feature community feedback we received from our readers on different topics of interest. Popular topics this past year included Recommendations for Western MA Pediatricians, Getting the Family to Enjoy One Meal Together, What Do You Love About Western MA Libraries?, Community Recommended Documentaries for Parents, Should GMO Food Be Labeled?, Talking to Kids About Sex, Teen Dating, Camping with Kids, Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity, Recommended Activities Grandparents Can Do With Their Grandkids in Western MA, and many other subjects.
Kyra Anderson of Northampton, MA writes: “I check the site every week for family events, concerts, festivals, and classes! I have found out about countless things I would never have known about (I just don’t read the paper). Thanks so much for all that you do to connect us to community!!”
BUT WE’RE NOT ALL TALK!
In 2012 there were several events Hilltown Families organized, including a series of Community Conversation on the topics of Creative Free Play in a Commercialized World, Safe and Healthy Food Choices, and Talking to Your Kids About Sex. There was also a Saturday Morning Music Party Series put together in collaboration with Spare the Rock and Flywheel to bring families out during the colder months. In the summer we collaborated with the Food Bank of Western MA by putting together a series of information and resources, concluding with a Food Bank of Western MA Field Trip. In the fall we collaborated with Biocitizen for the fourth year in a row offering families a chance to work as Citizen Scientists for the Westfield River, then we closed out the year with a Family Community Service Night, a service-based learning event for families, and a Youth Photography Exhibit to encourage community based education in area youth.
There were also several swaps, including Handmade Valentine’s, Winter Wear, Halloween Costumes and a Board Game Swap. Hilltown Families was also a proud sponsor of several community building events, the Hilltown Spring Festival, Handmade for Kids Holiday Fair, Mister G Halloween Fiesta, and the Franklin Land Trust Fall Festival.
SUPPORT HILLTOWN FAMILIES SPONSORS
To take part in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2013, you must vote in 10 or more categories. Over the years Hilltown Families has had many wonderful sponsors proudly displayed in the left-hand column. Consider voting for one of these local businesses, showing your appreciated of their support of Hilltown Families!