Teaching Your Daughter to be Assertive

5 Essential Tips for Teaching Your Daughter to be Assertive

In her debut column, “It’s a Girl Thing: Empowering Our Girls to Be Expressive, Safe and Strong,” Hilltown Families newest Contributing Writer, Nancy Rothenberg, shares essential tips for teaching assertiveness to our daughters. These tips to teach our daughters to be assertive are a starting point for investing time and energy into giving her the skills she needs to communicate with confidence. It is a gift that she will carry with her for the rest of her life

We all want our daughters to grow into confident and assertive women, able to express their thoughts and feelings without hesitation in any situation. My own personal experience growing up was one that taught girls to be quiet, “seen and not heard.”  My voice was thoroughly squelched when I was young, spending half my life adult life waking it up!  So, when I gave birth to my daughter, I was going to make sure to encourage her full expression!

Now, I have a preteen whose voice is loud and clear. I chuckle to myself saying,”Can she just stop being so sassy?” But I trust that with the self- awareness that comes in time, the self-correction that comes through the influence of her peers, and supportive parental guidance along the way, she will know when to take up lots of space with her voice and when to choose to be silent.

Girl empowerment has been my focus for the past thirty years, not only for myself and my daughter, but for all girls and young women.  Being assertive is an important skill that supports empowerment in all girls. Here are five tips that support teaching our young girls to be assertive as they blossom into their full empowered selves: Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids!

Join us on Saturday, March 14 and Saturday, April 18 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.

During a breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, a screening of new episodes of Pancake Mountain will delight families. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix & special guests for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Who needs a night club when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families & Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away!  Read the rest of this entry »

School Vacation Week in Western MA

Staycation in Western MA During
February School Vacation Week

Many children are enjoying a week vacation this week from school. While some families are making fast tracks for warmer climates, they are missing out on all the wonderful community and learning events taking place all week throughout our region!

Pick your day and make plans to enjoy winter in Western MA!

Other spots to peruse for ideas and adventures to be had in western Massachusetts during February Vacation Week:  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Feb 16th-20th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 13 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

Learning Ahead Ad: Four Sundays in Feb
Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Valentine’s Day Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

VALENTINE’S DAY EPISODE
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

Listen to Podcast:

Moon hugs and star kisses! Our friend Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband in San Francisco wishes us all a Happy Valentine’s Day in this archived episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show which originally aired for Valentine’s Day on Valley Free Radio in 2012. – www.jamjamjam.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Feb. 14th & 15th, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

Past Valentine’s Day Podcasts:

  • Feb 8, 2014 — Valentine’s Day Episode with Guest DJ, Laura Doherty — Playlist/VideoPodcast
  • Feb 16, 2014 — Love & Social Consciousness Episode with Guest DJ, Lisa Mathews of Milkshake — Playlist/VideoPodcast
  • Feb 12, 2008 — Valentine’s Day Episode with Guest DJ, Uncle Rock — PlaylistPodcast

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 14th & 15th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 14th-20th 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 41 Community Highlights: Straw Rockets to Storytelling. Candyland to Bread Baking., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Animal StudiesTrackingCreative-Free PlayCulinary ArtsSTEMOrnithologyHistoryStorytellingFamily PerformancesService-Based LearningAviationPreschool Highlights

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Ice Skating in Western Massachusetts 
  2. DIY: How to Make Swedish Paper Hearts 
  3. 50 Winter Suggestions: Things to Do & Places to See in Western MA
  4. Children’s Literature & Resources that Support Math
  5. Language Play: Winter Activities & Talking with Your Kids Encourages Language Development

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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41 Community Highlights: Straw Rockets to Storytelling. Candyland to Bread Baking.

The Trustees of Reservations and the Hilltown Land Trust are teaming up to offer a day full of Snowshoe Shenanigans at Notchview on Saturday, February 14, 10am-2pm! There will be a 1K snowshoe race, a snowshoe relay race, an obstacle course for kids, sledding, snow sculptures, a snowshoe hike, a bonfire, and other winter fun. Cost includes a day pass to Notchview. Pre-register. 413-628-4485 x4. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($$)

Porcupines to Arctic Gray Wolf. Candyland to Bread Baking. Straw Rockets to Storytelling… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days will be held approximately once a month on various days and times. Participation is free and open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)


Animal StudiesTrackingCreative-Free PlayCulinary ArtsSTEMOrnithologyHistoryStorytellingFamily PerformancesService-Based LearningAviationPreschool Highlights


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 14th-20th 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“It’s so wonderful to be able to check the Hilltown Families eNewsletter and website for non-commercial events/playgroups, etc. You are an amazing resource!” – Maxine Oland (Belchertown, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Family Volunteer Days

February Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days! Each month, families are invited to attend a monthly volunteer session to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. This is an opportunity for Hilltown Families participating families to volunteer together with their community, engaged in service-based learning while supporting an important local cause! Family Volunteer Days are held once a month and are open to everyone. Our next Family Volunteer Day takes place on Tuesday, February 17 from 6-8pm. Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Click here to sign up! Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Bulletin Board

Feb 14

What’s the best way to beat the winter blues? Run around and look silly in snowshoes of course! On February 14 (Valentine’s Day), you can join the Hilltown Land Trust and The Trustees of Reservations for Snowshoe Shenanigans from 10am-12pm at Notchview Reservation in Windsor. There will be 1km relay and snowshoe races, as well as a kids obstacle course! Everyone is invited to enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores next to a warm fire. Prizes will be awarded for race categories including the most outrageous outfit! Members, $10/ or $25 family max; Non-members $15 or $35 family max. Foul weather date is Sunday, February 15. To reserve snowshoes, email hltlandsteward@ttor.org or call 413-628-4485 ext. 4 FMI: www.hilltown-land-trust.org/events/snowshoe

Feb 14-28

Share the Love this Valentine’s Day! Oak Meadow is offering 10% off enrollment and 15% off materials in their Bookstore from February 14 to 28. Their student-centered, nature-based homeschooling curriculum for students in K-12 allows families to set their own natural rhythm of learning and encourages creativity, critical thinking, and intellectual development through hands-on activities and interdisciplinary projects. Use their curriculum independently or enroll in their fully accredited distance learning school.

Feb Vac Week

Join us at The Carle vacation week! A Madeline Weekend Celebration on Feb 14 & 15 kicks off the weekend with films, story readings, art projects and visits from Madeline! See Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans before it closes on Feb 22! Weeklong fun includes live theatre from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School on Feb 17, 18 & 19, a special storytime with author/illustrator Jane Dyer on Feb 18, and CactusHead Puppets performs The Pied Piper of Hamelin on Feb 20! Open on Monday, Feb 16 too! Enjoy art making, scavenger hunts and more! For additional information or to purchase event tickets, please contact 413-658-1126 or visit www.carlemuseum.org The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W. Bay Road. Amherst, MA.

Feb Vac Week

Fight cabin fever with the Springfield Museums’ “All About Animals” programs during school vacation, with lots of family shows, hands-on science and art activities, and live animal programs, including opportunities to see live owls and a live wolf up close! Discover the hidden lives of forest animals at the new “Animal Secrets” exhibit at the Science Museum. And don’t miss Above the Fold, the breathtaking origami exhibit by master folders from around the world at the D’Amour Museum. For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org

Feb Vac Week

Winter is a great time for your kids to be creative and learn how to throw on the potters’ wheel with Kathryn Kothe Roszko of CyclePottery in her new studio in Florence at 225 Nonotuck St. Unit A. Only 4 students in all classes! February Vacation Week Workshop for ages 9+ held Wed-Fri. Choose half day, 9-12 for $135, or full day, 9-2 for $225. New 6wk session (6 classes) of Beginner Wheelthrowing Kids’ Classes for ages 7+ starting March 3rd: Tuesdays 4-5:30, and March 5th: Thursdays 3:30-5 for $150. All class and workshop fees include the clay, Kathryn Trimming (for the youngest), glazing and firing. Paint Your Own Pottery Workshops and Kids’ Night Out coming soon! More info: 413-219-9594; kathryn@cyclepottery.com; www.CyclePottery.com

Feb 16-18 & Jun 22

Central Rock Gym in Hadley invites your children to participate in their Vacation Program sessions! Sessions are offered Feb 16-18 and this summer starting June 22 for ages 7-13. The program focuses on climbing for all skill levels and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout the week, attendees will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing techniques and will learn how to belay. In addition, they will have the chance to engage in exciting games and group activities, such as the “Flying Squirrel” and “Nitro Crossing.” The fun week of climbing concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Register www.centralrockgym.com under “Programs & Events.” Hadley@centralrockgym.com.

Accepting applications for fall 2015. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 220 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, our upcoming Kindergarten Screenings, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

Jun 8 – Aug 17

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green. For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade and swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome. These activities aren’t just “fun”—they’re designed to increase camper’s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Campers go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—on an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation into our living land. Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep and lasting appreciation of it—and themselves. Jun 8-Aug 17; Age/Grade Range: 1st-8th grades. 774-526-6507. info@biocitizen.org

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

Check our eNewletter this week for details on these upcoming events and how you can enter for a chance to win tickets.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes two family-friendly events for February School Vacation Week: Going to the Farm with Spot and Bill Blagg’s 10 Illusions at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA… and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to both! Check our eNewletter this week for details on these upcoming events and how you can enter for a chance to win tickets. Not yet subscribed to our eNewsletter? Sign up here and receive it every Thursday for highlights, updates and giveaways exclusive to our subscribers!

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 14th-20th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

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Dance Appreciation: Five College Dance Department Offers Performances

Five College Dance Department Concert Supports Dance Appreciation

Dance is an art form that has been around for ages, offering humans a form of artistic expression that activates our creative minds and engages our physical bodies as well. For children, dance can be an excellent outlet for energy, and allows for the development of motor skills and body awareness and, when children are able to recognize the creative possibilities that the art form allows for, it can grow from a fun form of exercise to a fantastic creative outlet that uses the human body as an artistic medium.

Here in western MA, the Five College Dance Department, consisting of AmherstHampshireMount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, offers opportunities for families to explore the art form that is dance. Not limited just to familiar forms of dance like ballet and jazz, the Five College Dance department encompasses dance in all of its forms, blending the traditional with its polar opposite.

On February 19, 20 & 21, 2015, families can experience for themselves a true form of expression that is dance at the Five College Dance Department Faculty Concert.

Encompassing six original dances from dancers and choreographers who are either Five College faculty or are in residency within the department, the event uses dance to explore human relationships and the ways in which we interact with the people and spaces around us – given the physical and spatial context in which are able to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting To the Heart of Valentine’s Day

Beyond The Hallmark Lies An Interesting History Rooted in Western Mass

In addition to exchanging valentines, families can celebrate and explore the cultural traditions that make up Valentine’s Day by attending exciting and engaging community events happening on Saturday, February 14th across Western MA.

Every year, Americans exchange an average of 142 million Valentine’s Day cards – making the holiday near the top of the list of card-exchanging holidays (second only to Christmas). Valentines come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be handmade or store bought, clever and creative, or very traditional. Whatever form they come in, the valentines that we exchange each year have their roots right here in western Massachusetts, and are symbolic of the love, caring, and appreciation that we have for the important people around us. Read the rest of this entry »

Bird Feeding Month Feeds Famished Birds & Hungry Minds

Learning Opportunity In Your Backyard

Researching the types of foods that birds wintering in western Massachusetts need can lead to learning about local habitats and ornithology. February is National Bird Feeding month, a great catalyst for learning!

As much as humans express our discontent with the dark and cold (and resulting feelings of isolation) that winter brings, the cold months bring far more challenges for wildlife than they do for humans. While animal adaptations help them cope with the difficulties that New England’s winter weather brings, surviving the coldest and snowiest time of the year is not without struggle. For birds in particular, February is the hardest time of year. Food is at its most scarce, making it tough for feathered creatures to stay full and warm until springtime comes.

In response to the challenges that late winter brings for birds, February has been designated National Bird-Feeding Month. Designated as such in 1994, National Bird Feeding Month helps not only to provide birds with food sources, but also supports community- and place-based learning about local species and the environment… Read the rest of this entry »

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts & Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts &
Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

Volunteering together teaches children positive values, like kindness, empathy and tolerance, and opens up channels of communication between parent and child. Engaging children in community service can increase their participation as future volunteers, helping to create more resilient and sustainable communities.

Over the years, Hilltown Families has partnered with The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in several ways, offering families in the region opportunities to engage in service-based learning while volunteering together as a family in support of food security in our region. We’ve organized a field trip and a couple of virtual food drives and told you how you could organize your own field trips and food drives too. We’ve given you a heads-up on youth volunteer opportunities, services for families during summer months, and resources to support child(ren)/student’s learning of hunger and food security, including Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity and Youth Against Hunger Education Curriculum.

One of the issues participants learned during our field trip was how difficult it can be for some families to have access to fresh organic fruits and vegetables. In response, we organized a station at our Family Community Service Event to empowered families to learn how to grow an extra row of vegetables in their home gardens to harvest and donate to their local food pantries, and collaborated with local business and farms to offer gleaning opportunities for families.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts &
Hilltown Families present Family Volunteer Days!

Families continue to seek out new ways to spend time together that supports values and learning, and volunteering as a family at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is great way to do just that! In partnership with Hilltown Families, families are invited to attend a series of monthly volunteer sessions where they will help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take actions to help fight hunger. Volunteering together as a family encourages quality time, increases communication, and provides opportunities for family members to be role models.  Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Farmers’ Markets: An Oasis of Community-Based Learning

Not Only Buying Local, But Learning Local

Is it cruel to show a farmers market in Amherst during the summer? Well the Amherst & Northampton Winter Farmers’ Markets are  learning oasis of in the winter months, reminding us of lush seasons on the horizon.

Winter farmers’ markets provide a fresh and colorful oasis during the winter months, reminding us that despite the blustery, snow drift-covered fields that surround us, farm-fresh foods of all kinds are still available. Connecting to the local food chain year round is not only healthy for your body, your family, and your community, but it can be educational as well! Exposing children to the wide array of foods available from winter farmers’ markets can help them to recognize that there are many different methods for growing and producing food while connecting to where there food comes from. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Life: The Tradition of Girl Scout Cookies & Personal Growth

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

It’s Not About the Cookies

This month in “The Good Life,” Sarah shares her experience as a Girl Scout leader as to the motivations and inspirations of young girls selling Girl Scout cookies.

The winter days seem longer than ever this time of year, and hope remains distant with all the ice and darkness.  However, I don’t have to look very far to find inspiration, and you don’t, either.   The Girls Scouts are coming your way, fueled by goal-setting websites and friendly competition.  It is Cookie Time, and I am a Girl Scout leader.

I was not a Girl Scout as a child, but I wish I had been.  I didn’t know much about it, but knowing what I know now makes me a believer.   These girls are smart, achievement-oriented women-to-be, and I now understand that the Cookie Sale isn’t about the cookies.    The girls set personal goals, and order the number of cookies they think they can sell months in advance.  There are incentive prizes for the  youngest girls, and they pour over the brochures, dazzled by the enviable stuffed animal they can earn by selling 125 boxes.  This year it is a “plush cheetah,” and  it is the object of  every ten-year-old’s intense desire.

However, something happens as the girls grow over the years, and they seem to love the challenge more than the prizes (well, almost more) as time goes on…  Read the rest of this entry »

Learning Ahead: Feb 9th-13th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 18 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.


Learning Ahead is sponsored in part by:

Learning Ahead Ad: Four Sundays in Feb
Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Love & Social Consciousness Episode with Guest DJ, Lisa Mathews of Milkshake (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Love & Social Consciousness Episode
with Guest DJ, Lisa Mathews of Milkshake

LISTEN TO PODCAST:

Lisa Mathews of the Grammy-nominated kid rock band Milkshake talks about love and social consciousness in this musically diverse hour. With a song list that includes Sly and the Family Stone, Billie Holiday, the Civil Wars, Adele, Lucienne Boyer and a sprinkling of Milkshake tunes from the band’s CD,  Got a Minute?, the show is sure to reward big ears and inspire discussion.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Feb 7th & 8th, 2015
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: “I Love You” Music Video: A compilation of clips from Real Look Autism, with the song “I Love You” by Milkshake. – www.milkshakemusic.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Milkshake – “Enemies” (Great Day)
  • Beatles – “All You Need is Love” (Yellow Submarine)
  • Recess Monkey – “The Sandbox Song” (Tabby Road)
  • Lucienne Boyer – “Parlez-Moi D’Amour” (The Moderns movie Soundtrack)
  • Adriana Caselotti – “Someday My Prince Will Come” (Snow White Soundtrack)
  • Civil Wars – “Poison & Wine” (Barton Hollow)
  • Adele – “Turning Tables” (21)
  • Sly and the Family Stone – “Everyday People” (Crooklyn – Soundtrack)
  • Milkshake – featuring Alex Handy – “More Than Me” (Got a Minute?)
  • Brady Rymer – “Love Me For Who I Am” (Love Me For Who I Am)
  • Max Velthuijs/Anthea Bell – “Frog In Love” – (story)
  • Carpenters – “(They Long to Be) Close to You” – Interpretations – Carpenters
  • Johnny Cash – “Further Up the Road” (American V: A Hundred Highways)
  • Billie Holiday – “God Bless the Child” (Ken Burns’ Jazz)
  • Simon & Garfinkel – “The Sound of Silence” (Old Friends)
  • Milkshake – “Let ‘em Know” (Got a Minute)
  • 23 Skidoo –“Gotta Be You” (Make Believers)
  • Milkshake – “I Love You” (Great Day)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for February 7th & 8th, 2015

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 7th-13th 2015 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 31 Community Highlights: Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Chemistry of Candy to Victorian Valentines., our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families, and our reader recommended list of 50 Winter Suggestions for families in western MA.

February 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Winter CelebrationsAnimal Studies/TrackingOrnithologyBlack History MonthParent WorkshopsCulinary Arts & ScienceValentinesLocal HistoryIce HarvestingSingingFolk TalesSTEMPreschool Highlights

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters
  2. Black History Month: Six Featured New Titles Bring History Alive
  3. A Love Letter to My Children
  4. Let’s Play: Winter Flashlight Tag
  5. Q&A: The Struggle of Winter Wear

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

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31 Community Highlights: Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Chemistry of Candy to Victorian Valentines.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, visitors to the Berkshire Museum can learn to make their own hand-dipped chocolates at the Learner’s Lab on Saturday, February 7, 10am-11am! Kathy Sinico of Catherine’s Chocolates will teach you how to make several types of chocolate. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)<

Winter Carnivals to Ice Festival. Hand-Dipped Chocolates to Chemistry of Candy. Victorian Valentines to Birds of Prey… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: Discover the chemistry behind candy at the Springfield Science Museum on Saturday, February 7, 10am-12:30pm! Kids can make fudge, chocolates, and other all natural treats while learning about their physical and chemical properties. This workshop will also help kids improve their math skills through measuring, counting, and modifying ingredients. Purchase tickets in advance. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)


Winter CelebrationsAnimal Studies/TrackingOrnithologyBlack History MonthParent WorkshopsCulinary Arts & ScienceValentinesLocal HistoryIce HarvestingSingingFolk TalesSTEMPreschool Highlights


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for February 7th-13th 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“We have found fun things to do to lift the winter blues on this web site… There’s really no need to look further than Hilltown Families for fun events during the week and on the weekends!” – Sandra Dias (Holyoke, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Handmade Valentine Exhibit

For the past seven years, Hilltown Families has organized an intergenerational, community-based, handmade Valentine swap. This year, 1,550 handmade valentines are being prepared for swapping through the mail by families, individuals, and even youth groups, just in time for Valentine’s Day. For the month of February, in the Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, over 100 handmade Valentines sent to Hilltown Families by swap participants over the years will be on display in an exhibit, Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition. New handmade Valentines received this year as part of the swap will be added to the display throughout the month. Add your handmade valentine to the exhibit! Mail to Hilltown Families, P.O. Box 98, West Chesterfield, MA 01084 by Feb 14.

Bulletin Board

Feb Vac Week

Winter is a great time for your kids to creative and learn how to throw on the potters’ wheel with Kathryn Kothe Roszko of CyclePottery in her new studio in Florence at 225 Nonotuck St. Unit A. Only 4 students in all classes! February Vacation Week Workshop for ages 9+ held Wed-Fri. Choose half day, 9-12 for $135, or full day, 9-2 for $225. New 6wk session (6 classes) of Beginner Wheelthrowing Kids’ Classes for ages 7+ starting March 3rd: Tuesdays 4-5:30, and March 5th: Thursdays 3:30-5 for $150. All class and workshop fees include the clay, Kathryn Trimming (for the youngest), glazing and firing. Paint Your Own Pottery Workshops and Kids’ Night Out coming soon! More info: 413-219-9594; kathryn@cyclepottery.com; www.CyclePottery.com

Feb 16-18 & Jun 22

Central Rock Gym in Hadley invites your children to participate in their Vacation Program sessions! Sessions are offered Feb 16-18 and this summer starting June 22 for ages 7-13. The program focuses on climbing for all skill levels and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout the week, attendees will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing techniques and will learn how to belay. In addition, they will have the chance to engage in exciting games and group activities, such as the “Flying Squirrel” and “Nitro Crossing.” The fun week of climbing concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Register www.centralrockgym.com under “Programs & Events.” Hadley@centralrockgym.com.

Now Enrolling

Spring Street Preschool in Amherst is enrolling new students for September 2015! Spring Street Preschool is a small school with both mixed aged and separate small group programming, individualized instruction, large art studio space, experienced and caring teachers, music program and outdoor play. Enrolling children from 2 yrs, 9 months – 5 years. Flexible schedule, affordable tuition. Spring Street Preschool is independent and non-denominational, welcoming new families to their school community. Best kept secret in Amherst! To schedule a tour call 413-256-8442 or info@springstreetpreschool.org. For more info visit www.springstreetpreschool.org.

Feb 7

WinterFest Amherst 2015 is the best family entertainment value of the winter! Over 160 volunteers and hundreds of residents flock to Cherry Hill in their winter gear to attend the 25+ fun-filled events & activities offered throughout the day. With so much snow, they anticipate it to be their biggest ever! The Chili Cook-Off kicks off the event at 1:30pm, followed by the Family Ice Sculpture Contest, Best in Snow Dog Show, Cardboard Classic at 3:30pm, Umass Doo Wop Shop performance, wine & cheese tasting at 5pm, and SO much more! For complete activity listing, visit them on Facebook. Saturday, February 7 from 1pm-6:30pm at Cherry Hill Golf Course in North Amherst, MA. Presented by Integrity Development & Construction. $20 for family of four.

Featured your February Vacation Week event, class or camp here!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your February Vacation Week Camp/Class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

MARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 15th, 2015, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE. Take advantage of our Early Rate by signing your camp/program today!

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Berkshire Theatre Group welcomes two family-friendly events for February School Vacation Week: Going to the Farm with Spot and Bill Blagg’s 10 Illusions at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA… and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to both! Check our eNewletter this week for details on these upcoming events and how you can enter for a chance to win tickets.  Not yet subscribed to our eNewsletter? Sign up here and receive it every Thursday for highlights, updates and giveaways exclusive to our subscribers!

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 7th-13th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

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Annual Winter Celebrations in Western MA: Your Cure to Cabin Fever!

Winter Celebrations in Western MA Spotlight Local Culture

During this part of the year, the cold and dark make it difficult to truly enjoy the outdoors. For the past month, temperatures in the single digits (and beyond!) have kept kids and adults alike on the couch instead of in the snow, and we’re all starting to get cabin fever! Luckily, mid-winter ’tis the season to celebrate, as western Massachusetts comes alive with seasonal festivals galore. The coming weeks bring a deluge of indoor and outdoor community celebrations happening across western Massachusetts, offering families opportunities for winter sports, outdoor adventures, friendly competition, community-building, and learning of all kinds! Read the rest of this entry »

Trust In The Trustees. Winter Staycation is Where It’s At!

The Trustees of Reservations Offer Accessible Winter Family Fun for School Vacation

Photo credit: (c) Sienna WildfieldPlanning to staycation during February school vacation week? If so, The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) have you covered with community-based programs and activities for all ages designed to expand your family’s horizons. Whether it’s learning to snowshoe, identifying animal tracks, or making maple sugar, The Trustees have programs to teach you and your kids something new this winter across western MA! Read the rest of this entry »

Time to Talk: The Importance of Applying Reason & Scaling Problems

Barriers to Learning: Part 1

LEGO exercises can be a path to reason. Certainly calming.

This week I’m thinking about my students and how they’ll function in the world. Will they have the social skills to keep a job? (Social skills are a stronger predictor of job success than the ability to do the job.) Will they have the skills to be available for learning while in school? Although I often feel overwhelmed and powerless about the state of the world, I am very thankful to have skills and materials that can address barriers to learning for my students. At least, in my little corner of the world, I can start them on the right path. One parent described my job as teaching her child how to think.

For many of my students, their behavior at school and home is their biggest barrier to learning and to having successful futures. Although this is partly the realm of a psychologist, or a trained ABA practitioner, as a speech-language pathologist (SLP), I am the expert for social communication. I am the teacher who helps them discover what is expected in a situation and what is unexpected and that there are consequences to the choices we make and the ways we communicate. Read the rest of this entry »

Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition

Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a
Community Tradition

February 2015
Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery, Meekins Library
Williamsburg, MA

Featuring handmade Valentines by Hilltown Families’ Annual Handmade Valentine Swap participants, 2009-2015

For the past seven years, Hilltown Families has organized an intergenerational, community-based, handmade Valentine swap. Spearheaded by Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield, this community tradition has grown from an intimate group of families to an extensive roster of participants living across western Massachusetts, from Williamstown to Monson.

This year, 1,550 handmade valentines are being prepared for swapping through the mail by families, individuals, and even youth groups, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

For the month of February, in the Hawks-Hayden Room Gallery at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, over 100 handmade Valentines sent to Hilltown Families by swap participants over the years will be on display in an exhibit, Handmade Valentines: Connecting & Expanding a Community Tradition. New handmade Valentines received this year as part of the swap will be added to the display throughout the month.

These handmade tokens of friendship and community push back against the commercialization of Valentine’s Day while connecting and expanding an age-old tradition. The act of creating handmade Valentines supports creative-free play, while receiving them generates excitement to make community connections and eliminates loneliness. Having them on display at the Meekins Library chronicles the growth of what has become a delightful community tradition in western Massachusetts, open to all and free to participate. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering the Lost Towns Through Swift River Historic Photos

What’s in a Name? Villages, Hamlets and Hollows of the Swift River Valley

An exhibit of historic photographs, What’s in a Name? Villages, Hamlets and Hollows of the Swift River Valley, opens at the Great Falls Discovery Center in the village of Turners Falls, MA, with a public reception on Saturday, February 7, 2015, 1-3pm.

Seventy-six years ago four towns in west-central Massachusetts were destroyed to construct the Quabbin Reservoir—to quench the thirst of the growing city of Boston to the east. In addition to the four “lost towns”— Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott—land was purchased from nine other towns: Belchertown, Hardwick, New Salem, Orange, Pelham, Petersham, Shutesbury, Ware, and Wendell. These towns were made up of small villages and even smaller hamlets and hollows. People settled near each other for one reason or another— perhaps they were extended family, or worked in a mill or factory. Sometimes the name of the village or hamlet gives us a clue as to its origins, for example, the names Atkinson Hollow and Cooleyville came from families, Bobbinville from the factory that made bobbins, and Soapstone Station from the quarries nearby.

An exhibit of historic photographs of villages, hamlets and hollows, reproduced from the collection of the Swift River Valley Historical Society, is opening at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls on Saturday, February 7th. The public is cordially invited to an opening reception from 1 to 3 pm. On view are images of families, houses, stores, mills, factories, schools, churches, and scenic vistas. The family-friendly exhibit includes an interactive area inspired by village schoolhouses and colorful 3-D art by Pioneer Valley Regional School District students under the guidance of their art teacher, Althea Dabrowski.

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STEM Fest For Teens With Science Quest at UMass

UMass’ Science Quest
Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Science Quest is an exciting opportunity for high school students to visit the UMass Amherst campus and engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations, and guided lab tours. All presentations are organized by UMass faculty members and designed for high school-aged students. Science Quest is a one-day free event happening on Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Amherst. — Space is limited, so register early!

Students learn about a wide variety of STEM topics in school – everything from the periodic table to the Pythagorean Theorem – but all too frequently aren’t shown the interesting, practical, and often surprising ways that STEM topics can be applied to real life!

High school aged youth are invited to UMass’ Science Quest, an annual free event offering students the opportunity to learn firsthand about science research, the practical applications of science knowledge, and the creativity that STEM work sometimes allows!

Students in grades 10-12 who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math can engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations, and lab tours at UMass Amherst’s Science Quest event on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 9:30am-3:40pm in the Integrated Science Building (661 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA).

Students can choose from a variety of classes, demos, and tours, including ones on topics like food science, physics, biology, nanotechnology, astronomy, alternative energy, chemistry, animal sciences, and engineering. High school students can become more engaged in the sciences through this free event, which promotes hands-on learning and participation. In addition to these activities, UMass undergraduate science students will be present to talk about their experiences as science majors and an admissions representative will be on hand to discuss preparing for college and applying to UMass.

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FrogWatch Citizen Science Opportunity for All Ages

Learn More About Amphibians While Helping Larger Efforts In Identifying Species

FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program that provides people of all ages with the opportunity to learn about amphibians and help with conservation efforts. Every year from February through August, volunteers collect data on the calls of frogs and toads. This data is then used to identify the species, gain information on their populations, and is used directly in conservation work.

On Friday, February 6, from 6:30pm-9pm, older students and adults can join the Hitchcock Center for the Environment and Mass Audubon for a FrogWatch USA citizen science training session at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA). At this program, adults and older students can learn about our native frog and toad species and how to identify them, as well as how they can participate in FrogWatch USA.

Although this particular program is geared towards adults, it is a great chance for parents and caregivers to learn about the citizen science project so they can teach their kids about it – this is not only a great chance for students to become involved in a national citizen science project, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for families to learn and work together in nature. Call the Hitchcock Center at 413-256-6006 to register. (>$)

Wonder how frogs survive the winter and don’t freeze to death?  Check out this article in Scientific American.

Elm’s College Exhibit Beautifully Illustrates African-American History

Rhythms of a Faithful Journey: Verses from Slavery to Presidency

African-American artist, educator, poet and author Robin Joyce Miller will present a slideshow and an exhibit of 14 mixed-media collage quilts at 7pm, Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in the Borgia Gallery at Elms College in Chicopee, MA.

The framed pieces in this exhibit are approximately 35″ x 46″. Twelve of them illustrate African-American history events or periods accompanying poetry from the book. Recitations of poems that accompany these works of art will be included in the presentation.

The slideshow, Restoring My African Soul, is a personal narrative of the journey to restoration and healing through faith, art, poetry and photography. Miller co-authored Rhythms of a Faithful Journey with her husband, James Walter Miller, who also will read some poems at the event.  Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Remaining Color Blind

Technicolor and Skin Color

 "WIZARD OF OZ ORIGINAL POSTER 1939" by MGM - http://daw.dyndns.org/images/movies/posters/wizard%20of%20oz.jpgalt source: [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.Last month, we took our son to see the Wizard of Oz on the big screen. This all-time favorite had yet to debut on family movie night due to my hubby’s flying monkey terrors. As the one who gets called for nightmares at 2 a.m., I had no need to introduce flying monkeys yet. But the rare chance to watch on a big screen was worth the risk.

We needn’t have worried. In the age of computer generated animation, his baseline of what looks real is vastly different than mine was at age 5. Hoisted up to the movie poster for a Facebook photo op, my kiddo commented on the image of Dorothy and Co. on the yellow brick road, Read the rest of this entry »

Black History Month at Westfield State

In Living Color: Westfield State celebrates Black History Month, bridges racial gap

“I hope to bring awareness and a different perspective,” Richeme said. “Black History Month is not just about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Ferguson. It’s more than just African American history as well. My hope is for attendees to see beyond the typical themes of the month and learn while enjoying themselves. Each program has its own definition, unique style, and is educational.” [Oil painting from exhibit]

Westfield State University will celebrate Black History Month by hosting a month-long celebration of events ranging from poetry performances, panel discussions, and interactive experiences.

Since 1974, Westfield State has held special events during the month of February dedicated to informing students, faculty, and staff as well as the community about the importance of black history, culture, and traditions. Black History Month is organized by a committee of faculty and staff.

For the first time, Black History Month celebrations are themed this year. The theme is “In Living Color,” a play on the 90’s sketch comedy of the same name, which utilized comedy, fashion, satire, and other media to captivate audiences. Black History Month Committee Chair Ashiah Richeme, staff assistant in Residential Life, said it was important for her to organize a variety of events including some contemporary discussions.

Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Student Activities Jessika Murphy said the plethora of events allow students to understand the time table of racial injustice: “We want to bridge the gap, to show where we as a country started, notice the positive changes we’ve made, and to look forward to ways will still need to grow,” Murphy said.

While the university has held events around Black History Month for 40 years, it recently began expanding cultural awareness programs, including its first recognition of Latino Heritage Month last fall.

“Part of our job as educators is to provide students with the opportunity to learn beyond their comfort zone, which includes learning about different cultures,” Murphy said. Read the rest of this entry »

Vote for Hilltown Families by 12noon this Wednesday!

Hilltown Families: BEST BLOG
Vote for Us by 12noon this Wednesday, Feb. 4th!

As Hilltown Families enters its tenth year, celebrate with us as we finish out the past decade by voting for Hilltown Families as Best Blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2015!

Best Blog is listed under the
Information Age” category.

Deadline to cast your votes is this Wednesday, Feb 4th by 12Noon!

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!

Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/best-of

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