Community: Saratoga Style

coversI hope you have all gotten a chance to check out the brand new Summer Issue of Mamatoga Magazine, with the all new Saratoga Tables as part of the Double Issue. I wanted to give a special thanks to all of my sponsors from the Saratoga Springs area, because without them this magazine wouldn't be possible.

If you like Mamatoga, I urge you to patronize these businesses and sponsors, because they help me keep doing what I'm doing. Mamatoga (now almost two years old) has turned into a full time job for me, and without their support I wouldn't be able to keep it going. Along with my online sponsors (a lot of which are also magazine sponsors) they help make Mamatoga a possibility.

It means a lot that these businesses believe in me, and in turn I heartily believe in them. I've met them personally, I shop at their businesses, I go to their offices, and each and every one of them gets a full endorsement from me. It's more than an advertisement, it's a little Mamatoga community. As an independent small business myself (the smallest possible business - one person!) I love working with people and businesses that have integrity, that I am proud to associate with, that I feel are great members of this community that we all share.

A special thank you to Jake Van Ness, my Creative Director for Mamatoga Magazine and Saratoga Tables and my photographer Kelli Lovdahl. Two extremely talented and hard working people, not to mention incredibly professional and all around awesome people. I am so lucky to have such a great group of contributors, who have all added something special and unique to the magazines.

Community is a theme that has been running through this site and my magazine since it's inception, and I've been thinking about the concept a lot lately. When people ask me what I like most about Saratoga Springs and our area I always tell them it is the strong sense of community. In a community, people get to feel that they are somewhere they belong, and that is true for Mamatoga as well. No matter what your parenting "style" is, or what type of family, background, religion, or beliefs, you belong here. There is no judgment here. You can be yourself and be included.

Being part of a community also means giving, and receiving support. If you look at something like the Cantina Kids Fun Run, that t-shirt is COVERED in supporters and sponsors. People just want to help here. Look at an organization like Saratoga Springboard, featured in this issue. They offer support to non-profits to help give them a leg up to be able to take off on their own. How awesome is that? Our local businesses and community members give, and give, and give to all of our non-profits and organizations, and in turn they all help support each other as well by promoting and attending events, by spreading the word and giving what time and donations they can.

In a community, we can also combine our voices to make them heard. We can come together to help make our streets safer, to help rebuild our playgrounds, or to do something like find a lost dog. One of my favorite things about Mamatoga's community on facebook in particular is how people come together to find a lost pet. Someone like Dawgdom will share a lost pet photo, and everyone in turn takes their part in spreading the word. It's pretty cool to say the least. It's a little network that we have all helped to create, and it works.

Another thing a community offers is the chance to explore, people are given a chance to find new things they previously wouldn’t have been able to.  New ideas, resources, and experiences are shared and discussed, everything from the opening of a new business to spending a night at SPAC with your children. Preschools you might not have heard of, events you didn't know were even happening, it's about sharing our resources and ideas, about broadening all of our horizons for the better.

More than anything, I just want to say thank you to everyone for how warmly our community has embraced and supported Mamatoga. The other night at American Girl night at SPAC I got the chance to meet a bunch of you, and so many people came over to say hi, and it seriously made my night. At the risk of sounding overly sappy, I really do love you guys, and I love our area. I feel lucky to live here, and truly lucky to be doing what I'm doing. Thanks again you guys, and I hope you enjoy this issue.