Ask anyone in town what attracted them to Armonk and you’ll likely hear some version of the American dream. Outstanding schools, pastoral beauty, small town vibe and values within commuting distance of big city lights. Young families move here with every hope that they and, especially their children, will put down roots, grow and thrive.
I too grew up in a relatively small town; one in Connecticut. When I mention this locally, is widely assumed that I’m likely referring to Greenwich or, more generally, Fairfield County. Not the case, not by a long-shot. But I have come to understand the assumption as not so much a reflection of me personally, but of a collective expectation–the fact is, many who live here now grew up here too; if not right in Armonk, then in one of the beautiful Westchester or Connecticut towns nearby. People return because what worked then, works now.
Take, for example, the many options available to families through the North Castle Recreation Department. There’s something special about a community pool; this year, run by town recreation, the Anita Louise Ehrman Pool promises to be that place. Day camp and sports programs for kids and adults alike mean town is the ticket to Ready…Set…Summer!
Of course, a community is about more than its public face. While most would agree that Armonk is, as the New York Times once called it, “an area of rugged beauty”, it is the caring community that makes it equally, if not more, attractive.
As Jason Rosensweig puts it in our profile piece Armonk’s Answer to UBER, people move here to be able to walk into any store and see a friendly and familiar face. His business is built on just that philosophy of neighborly goodwill and trust.
The same can be said for a business like Raymond James. Sure, one can get advice from the internet or an anonymous large city financial planner, but how much nicer, friendlier and, frankly, easier it is to know there’s a local business with a vested interest in town families’ lives and livelihoods. Whether your children are close to college age or still part of sandbox-set, College Planning 101 is a great reminder that we can all use a little help from our (savvy business) friends.
Speaking of college, let’s talk about Armonk’s schools. Widely recognized among the finer public high schools in the country, Byram Hills regularly sends graduates to many of our nation’s outstanding universities. However, while June graduation means pomp-and-circumstance celebrations, a BHHS diploma stands for so much more. Students work extraordinarily hard in this town. Parents and teachers do too. And, while college may be the ultimate goal for most, the years of committed focus are also about the learning process, and the students’ ability to synthesize knowledge while moving it and themselves forward in the world.
Armonk resident Betty Knoop would agree that education is paramount. A Holocaust survivor, Knoop’s own childhood was cut short by the horrors of war and the atrocities of concentration camp existence. All too aware that “that racism is evil…and it debases men,” she speaks about her experiences in order that others may bear witness, and think about how the past affects our collective present and future. Through her efforts, hundreds have heard first-hand about a chapter in history in which the world went dark. And yet, her message is one of Hope Not Hate.
When it comes to hope, another attention-worthy story comes courtesy of five of the most engaging eighth-grade boys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Collectively, they’re known as the Robobenders. And, together with their parent-mentors, they’ve developed an internationally recognized iPhone App that helps those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders decode facial expressions and related underlying emotions. What’s My Face might very well help make the neuro-typical world become an easier place for ASD others.
And then there’s our cover story: Former President Bill Clinton was Guest of Honor at the Tina’s Wish Global Women’s Award evening. Clinton, recognized for his outstanding contribution to global healthcare through the Clinton Foundation, gave a passionate acceptance speech in which he praised local founder Andy Brozman and all involved in Tina’s Wish for their tremendous efforts in the funding of, and research leading to, early detection of ovarian cancer. As a woman, as a cancer survivor myself and as the mother of a daughter, I am moved by and appreciative of the vital importance of this work and the incredible people involved.
When John Cougar Mellencamp sings Small Town, I always smile to myself and picture towns like ours. Like him, “I can breathe in small town.” How about you? Please send your thoughts my way: Beth@InsideArmonk.com or post a comment to our facebook page.
Have a great summer!