By Lindsay Hand
No power across town, trees falling, limited ways to find out what was going on…and there my mom sat on her iPhone, obsessively checking the now-famous “Chappaqua Moms” group on Facebook.
I had known about the group for a while –babysitting, anyone? –but it didn’t become a significant part of everyday life until it was all that families throughout Chappaqua had to get them information regarding roads, power outages, and open gas stations during Hurricane Sandy. The group is truly an invaluable asset to everyone here –which is why it is so surprising that it has only been around for about four years. Anyone could have done it, but resident Julie Scott was the one to take initiative and create Chappaqua Moms.
A Stroke of Genius
Scott, a children’s portrait photographer and mother of three, was told by a friend to join Facebook and soon after got involved in a group from her hometown in Montreal. She realized that Facebook could be very useful here, and looked up Chappaqua groups, finding only groups of Greeley students. She had been involved in large e-mail groups before, but found that “reply all” gets annoying after a while; she knew that she had to make a group accepting of all moms in Chappaqua (and even dads, now). She saw a “pretty glaring need ” for a group like Chappaqua Moms.
“This is a way that you can opt in without being annoyed,” mused Scott. “There is always information that needs to be exchanged, even in everyday life. It’s really becoming a critical tool.”
With 1,445 members as of November 2nd, the group became the go-to resource during the late October superstorm, a tribute to the members of the group and the community as a whole. “Everyone’s adding to it and that’s what makes it so powerful,” says Scott. “It’s to the credit of the community for it being as great as it is. I don’t take any credit for how great a resource it’s been, but I am proud of myself for thinking of it!”
Information and so Much More
Chappaqua Moms is not only used to share information regarding road closures and situations throughout town, though; the group has now, after the storm, become extremely important for small shop owners in downtown Chappaqua as a way to spread the word about supporting their stores after this crisis. Cindy Lupica, the owner of Marmalade, noted that Sandy was “a natural phenomenon that got us all connected in such an awesome way. It’s built a foundation for us to expand on in the future.”
Frequent poster Robin Murphy, owner of Maid Brigade, could not agree more: “I see the Chappaqua Moms page as being able to make a difference in the community going forward, just because of all the bonding.” Local merchants, in addition to promoting in-town shopping for the holidays, are also collecting donations to help those communities on Long Island and the New Jersey shore that were drastically impacted by the hurricane.
Outlet for Bonding
Though the group’s success can be attributed to many things, Scott deserves some acknowledgment for being the one to finally put something like this group together. “Disasters like Sandy do happen…we should feel so lucky that we live in this day and age when we have technology to overcome the fears of being isolated from each other.” Not only was “the board” a vital source for sharing information, it provided an outlet for humor and bonding in the face of frustration and recovery from the storm.
There is no dispute that the Chappaqua Moms have become a group to be reckoned with and the go-to place for anything from babysitters to roofers to vacation recommendations and anything in between.
And who knows what close friendships may result from this Facebook group? The first official Chappaqua Moms get-together was held on Monday, November 19, with more gatherings to follow.
Maybe my mom will finally get off her phone and go meet these people!
Lindsay Hand is a junior at Horace Greeley High School, and has written numerous articles and served as last September’s “Guest Editor” for Inside Chappaqua.