Friday, May 27th

HarrisonCourtsTo the Editor: After seven long years the Scarsdale School Board and the Scarsdale Village Board finally passed joint resolutions for an Intermunicipal Agreement related to the plans and construction of a Comfort Station with two rest rooms, an office for a tennis attendant, a storage room for athletic equipment and a room to accommodate existing irrigation equipment.

The plan is to construct a 20 X 20 building with in-house Village forces under the direction of the Dept. of Public Works so the cost should be limited to materials cost and architect fees. The estimated cost of the project is $150,000 which we feel is excessive because of no labor cost or overtime costs.

The resolution was passed by 7 to 0 by the School Board who has no cost in the project only to present the plans to the State Education Dept. (SED) for approval because the structure is being built on School land next to the Middle School Tennis Courts operated by the Village. The Village Board passed the resolution by a 5 to 2 vote with some concern by two trustees over the cost of the project and no financial input by the School Board .However, the decision to build the Comfort Station by the Village with Village forces was decided long ago and a number of recent Village Capital Budgets have included funds for the project. This project has been in the capital budget since at least 2016. This is absolutely a pre pandemic project as stated publicly by Trustee Ross at the Board and should be completed as soon as possible.

The Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League led by Bob Harrison, volunteer director of the summer league for 36 years, has served over 2,000 Scarsdale boys and girls to enjoy the lifetime sport of tennis in the Summer League. In 2014 the League ran a full-page ad in the Inquirer to raise funds as a gift to the Scarsdale Village to help pay for the Comfort Station. We raised over $2,000 that has sat in our non-profit bank account until now. We have publicly announced a gift a $10,000 to the Village to get the Comfort Station built as soon as possible.

We have started a fundraising campaign to raise $8,000 to complete the gift to the Village. Residents and donors can make their checks payable to the "Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League " and mail the check to 65 Fox Meadow Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583 as soon as possible.

We will urge that a plaque with the name of the Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League and any donors who give $ 500 or more to the project along with the names of our Village Board members be placed on the front of the new Comfort Station. This has been common practice in the community with the Butler Field Track, the Scarsdale VAC Building, our new Library and other projects.

Contact Bob Harrison with comments and any additional information at 914 725-0962 by email at proscars@aol.com.

Bob Harrison

Volunteer Director for 36 years
Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League

LWVSZoomTop left (then moving clockwise): Steven Goodman, DeNora Getachew, Simran Ruta, John Harrison, Claire Scarcella and Martin MintzEvery year, the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale organizes and hosts its Food for Thought event. This year, the event took place on November 12 over zoom and featured a dynamic group of panelists on the cutting edge of civics education. DeNora Getachew moderated the panel. She is the former New York Executive Director of Generation Citizen (GC), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering students with the tools they need to use their voice, advocate, and be active and engaged citizens. GC is an organization dedicated to transforming the way that civics education is taught in schools. Getachew is a dynamic, engaging expert on “demystifying democracy,” so that students feel inspired and find active citizenry to be both accessible and meaningful. Martin Mintz, the current Program Manager of GC, is also a former middle school teacher. Mintz’ work at GC focuses on the connection between education and social justice. In explaining some of GC’s work, he spoke about students at a school in Queens, who were tasked with improving a real-life issue. The students chose to push for cleaner streets, less trash near their school, and did this through research and advocacy with their local elected officials.

The panel also included Scarsdale Middle School teacher, Steven Goodman, who is passionate about infusing civic engagement into the 8th grade curriculum. Goodman talked about how he always starts the year with intensive study of the Constitution; laying the groundwork and the foundation for his students to understand the origins of our government. Goodman discussed how he and the SMS Social Studies’ department collaborate with the Scarsdale League to hold annual mock elections, even during election years wherein the races may be uncontested, or when the races are for local judges and not the president. Both Goodman and Getachew exclaimed that “every election matters,” and it is really important to encourage students to become citizens who are comfortable voting and who understand that it is often the local offices, the local elections that really impact their lives. Goodman also recently worked with the League to facilitate their annual Civics Jeopardy game, this year played over zoom in 7th and 8th grade Social Studies classes around Election Day.

The Social Studies’ Department Chair from Scarsdale High School, John Harrison, also joined the panel with two students, senior Simran Ruta, the Vice President of the Student Government and junior Claire Scarcella, President of her class. Early in the discussion, Scarcella told Goodman that her experience in his 8th grade social studies class inspired her to run for student government in high school.

Ruta and Scarcella spoke of their experiences in the SHS Student Government and the various issues upon which students have been speaking up recently, including Title IX and school reopening; they talked about social media, media literacy and the importance of having honest conversations with their peers. All panelists addressed the complicated issue of increased polarization in political conversation. Mintz said that GC focuses on helping teachers and students work through those conversations. Goodman said that the current national environment of hyperpartisanship makes it challenging to address many issues with students since some are increasingly charged and complex.

Harrison highlighted the long haul of advocacy -- how you can’t expect change after one phone call or one letter. He said that creating change often takes a long time. Both Goodman and Getachew mentioned women’s suffrage -- the 72 plus years of marching, protesting, and organizing that led to the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.

At the end of the discussion, Getachew posed a lightning round question: “If you had a magic wand, what would you do to make democracy more accessible?” Goodman said that he would want people not to see others who have different political beliefs as enemies, when “you push past politics you see that we have so much in common.” He also spoke of the importance of consensus-building. Harrison would like to see the voting age lowered to 16, getting students actively engaged in voting early. Getachew mentioned that there is a campaign for lowering the voting age in different parts of the U.S.. Scarcella said that we should remember we are all Americans and we should work together. Mintz agreed with Harrison about lowering the voting age and also wants to take away barriers to voting. Mintz thinks that automatic voter registration would help make democracy more accessible. Ruta said she wants to “say goodbye to the Electoral College,” and Getachew agreed and mentioned the National Popular Vote Compact is also a movement in some states in our country.

To watch the video of the event, click here

For biographies on DeNora Getachew, Martin Mintz and more information on Generation Citizen, go to the LWVS Events’ page

Hall3Trick or treating may be considered high risk this year, but Halloween decorations are still permitted, and locals have done a nice job embellishing their front lawns. We travelled around Greenacres and Fox Meadow and took these photos of Halloween decorations – spooky, scary and fun.

Please take photos of the decorations in your neighborhood and send them to us to add to the gallery. Email your photos to scarsdalecomments@gmail.com.

Boo!

 

 

 

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Lamonarca Family 4Grand Prize: Lamonarca “Super Family”This year the Scarsdale Recreation Department was unable to host their traditional Halloween parade, but like everyone else, they adapted and sponsored an online Halloween Costume Contest. According to Recreation Supervisor Dan Walczewski, the Village received over 50 entries and from those selected prize winners for the spookiest, cutest, most creative costumes and more. The Grand Prize went to the Lamonarca family posing as a “Superfamily.” Take a look below at all the imaginative entrants.

Grand Prize: Lamonarca “Super Family”

Spookiest Costume: Aidan Roche as a Ninja

Best Pet Costume: Orca Fusco as Chucky

Most Comical Costume: Benji Miller as Dwight Schrute

Best Makeup: Christy Eguiluz and Martha Passaretta as Dia De Lost Muertos

Best Homemade Costume: Nino DeMartino as Taco Dog

Best Setting: Raphaela Berckemeyer as Ursula the Sea Witch

Best Family Costume: The Wald Family as Star Wars

Cutest Costume: Christopher Bongiorno Horne as Little Leopard

Most Relevant: Serena Lin as Purell

Most Creative: Gabrielle and Emma Daniel as Jellyfish and Scuba Diver

Aidan RocheSpookiest Costume: Aidan Roche as a Ninja

FuscoBest Pet Costume: Orca Fusco as Chucky

Benji MillerMost Comical Costume: Benji Miller as Dwight Schrute

Cristy Eguiluz Martha PassarettaBest Makeup: Christy Eguiluz and Martha Passaretta as Dia De Lost Muertos

Nino DiMartino 2Best Homemade Costume: Nino DeMartino as Taco Dog

Raphaela Berckemeyer 2Best Setting: Raphaela Berckemeyer as Ursula the Sea Witch

 

Wald Family 3Best Family Costume: The Wald Family as Star Wars

Christopher BongiornoCutest Costume: Christopher Bongiorno Horne as Little Leopard

LinMost Relevant: Serena Lin as Purell

Emma Daniel

Gabrielle DanielMost Creative: Gabrielle and Emma Daniel as Jellyfish and Scuba Diver

StephanieNewmanPsychotherapist and Author Stephanie Newman

As a psychotherapist who has treated many mothers over the years, and as a mother myself, I’m fascinated by the history of maternal identity. How do American moms think about their role in raising their children, protecting them from harm, and helping them become well-adjusted adults? I’m seeing signs that the current pandemic is triggering a change in that identity, away from the “helicopter parenting” of the past 25+ years.

First, some context. In the 19th century, parenting was mostly authoritarian. Children were seen and not heard, doing lots of chores, always putting the family’s needs first. Most women didn’t worry about their kids’ emotional health, just their physical survival in a time of rampant child mortality.

The first half of the 20th century brought the Freudian revolution. Freud’s psychoanalytic concepts about adult disturbances and intrapsychic conflict didn’t offer a blueprint for parenting, but they got mothers worrying that they might give their children “a complex” if they did something wrong.

Benjamin Spock’s 1946 bestseller, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, launched an era of more active child-rearing – repudiating rigid toileting practices and feeding schedules in favor of positive experiences that allowed each individual child to lead the way. Over the next few decades, middle class American moms began responding to their children’s cues and parenting in more flexible ways.

By the early 1990s, the rising trend was “helicopter parenting” – a stronger focus on ensuring good grades and college admissions. Mothers worried more than ever about minimizing all kinds of risks, big and small – from drug abuse and teen pregnancies to skinned knees at the playground and heartbreaks at the 8th grade dance.

But in 2020, powerless against the pandemic’s devastating toll, I see mothers losing faith in their ability to shield their kids from any sort of harm – physical, emotional, academic, or social. Many are worrying about hanging onto their own jobs or trying to stay productive while working from home. Some are also feeling stressed out about their food supplies or their own elderly parents. And though it was always difficult to work while raising kids, the new challenges of homeschooling and isolation-induced anxiety have raised the bar dramatically. My patients are reeling from the sudden shift: instead of feeling like they can (and should) fix any problem for their kids, many are feeling like they can’t fix anything.

“COVID makes me feel powerless as a parent,” Colleen* said when her daughter, Emily, a college junior, opted to remain halfway across the country, close to campus and her research lab. When Emily began feeling stressed and experiencing chest pains, her mother begged her to see a doctor. But she became angry, saying she was busy and it was hard to get a telemedicine appointment. The more her mother pushed, the more Emily resisted. While her symptoms eventually remitted, stay at home orders made Emily feel isolated, and she began lashing out.

In our sessions, Colleen agonized over whether to helicopter in to relieve her daughter’s misery. She lamented that Emily rejected offers to visit and shot down suggestions about finding ways to socialize. It all came to a head during one especially heated FaceTime exchange, when Colleen pleaded, “You can’t be alone all the time. At least meet friends in a parking lot. Stand six feet apart.” Emily threw her hands up and yelled, “Please stop! You can’t help! You can’t fix this!” When they hung up, Colleen retreated to her bedroom and cried over her helplessness. “It was as if mothering as I’d known it was gone forever.”

These sorts of questions about how involved to get rang true in my own home, where my teens had also been struggling since the onset of the pandemic. I had always prided myself on being helpful – listening, understanding, guiding, and stepping in when necessary. I’d tried not to hover, but had been active and present, seeking tutors or fighting for medical specialists. I encouraged my kids to fight their own battles, to get back up when they stumbled. Whenever they faced something they couldn’t handle and asked for my help, I was there.

But recently, amid closures and cancellations, it has become harder to help my teens cope. My suggestions and empathy often aren’t well received. I can’t protect my kids from a potentially lethal virus, or even fix their disappointments or repair losses they’d suffered. That strikes at the core of my identity as a nurturing and protective mother.

I’ve been worrying lately about the re-opening now underway: Will the virus come steamrolling back, forcing a second round of school and workplace closures? Can our already fragile economy handle this additional stress? How many more lives will be lost to the pandemic? The only certainty right now is uncertainty, which takes its toll on people of all ages.

While my high school-aged son has adapted, taking on household challenges like figuring out to snake a backed-up sink and reboot the WiFi, my daughter has had to deal with mounting losses, including an early return from college and the loss of a coveted summer internship. Despite repeated suggestions of walks, TV time, cooking, and reading material, my every outreach brings an angry smack-down. After each K-O, like a boxer on the ropes, I head back into the ring. My job as a mother is to show I care: survive the attacks and set limits while being present and loving, and help her integrate painful emotions, without rushing in to resolve the difficulties.

Following a particularly charged weekend, I found myself questioning my approach. Feeling terrified that months of disappointment and isolation had taken a permanent toll, I considered arranging a telehealth consultation or booking online meditation classes for my daughter. Would she ever be okay again? Would I?

After we started venturing out, first only for necessities like groceries and doctors’ visits, then for socially distanced visits, I noticed that tensions appeared to be settling. My daughter found a virtual research position, brought home stellar grades, and practiced social distancing without being reminded. When a new challenge arose – her school cancelled all in person classes and on campus engagements – she cried bitterly, and I worried that her already negative outlook could not survive another blow. But within a day she’d contacted friends, taken virtual tours of off-campus apartments, and proposed a plan to use savings to offset rental costs.

It was then I knew that amidst the deprivations, losses, and challenges of the past few months, I’d been given a gift: a unique opportunity to get to know my children in ways that might have eluded me had daily life been as frantic as usual. Seeing my teens on a daily basis, shepherding them through their fears and bleakest moments, I’ve had the privilege of watching them build resilience and strengthen their inner reserves.

Parenting through sadness, fear, and adversity has shown me that I can’t fix everything for my kids, and that’s okay. After watching them in action over the past few months I know that they are equipped to handle whatever comes their way, and I no longer feel a pull to repair every single thing that goes wrong.

Hearing echoes of this same theme from patients, neighbors, and friends, I think we’re starting to see a new version of maternal identity, winding down the era of the overly obsessed helicopter parent. After living through so much loss and disappointment, I can’t imagine seeing moms stressing out nearly as much about excessive screen time, a B on a report card, or too many snacks between meals. Involved mothering won’t go away, of course. We’ll still have huge investments in the health and happiness of our children, and we’re not going to ignore them when they need help. But I think we’ll bring a more balanced perspective to the post-pandemic world. Call us backseat moms.

Stephanie Newman PhD, a psychologist and Edgemont resident, is the author of Barbarians at the PTA. This post appeared on scarymommy.com and Psychology Today.

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