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Granby Living April2018

FAMILY FEATURE The

FAMILY FEATURE The Selander Family Glad for Granby’s ‘It Takes a Village’ Ethos By Bruce Deckert Photos by Amy Geigner It takes a village to raise a child. So the saying goes. When that village is Granby, all the better — so say the Selanders. Mark and Dawn Selander married in 1995 and then settled in Granby. They are natives of Connecticut. Mark grew up in New Britain, while Dawn is from East Hartland. Mark, 54, was a detective with the Hartford Police Department. Retired now from that role, he is currently an officer with the Canton Police Department. Mark has coached youth baseball and football in Granby since 2000. “I have been coaching youth sports for so long that I see kids around town now who I used to coach years ago,” he says. “They are grown up and still take the time to come over to me to say hi and catch up. ... I like that Granby is a small-town community where I know a lot of people.” The Selanders appreciate Granby’s pastoral nature. “When I worked in Hartford, I used to like driving home from work and seeing all of the farmland and barns once I got closer to Granby,” says Mark, who has an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Dawn, 45, has been involved with the Granby High School Football Supporters and Bearcats Youth Football. The Selanders’ two oldest sons, Matthew (22) and Jason (20), played football at Granby Memorial High School. 4 | APRIL 2018

“I’ve always said, ‘It takes a village’ — and I’m glad my village is Granby,” she says. “We have had great experiences with the families, the schools, with sports, and the businesses in town. I always like to shop local and support the businesses in town when I can. I do a lot of fundraising for sports and I am always amazed at the support and generosity of the businesses in town, and I try my best to reciprocate and support those businesses too.” Mark and Dawn likewise appreciate their neighborhood. “We have met so many friendly and supportive families over the years,” says Dawn, who has a master’s degree in biomedical science. “We take care of each other. I know if my son needs a ride somewhere all I have to do is ask someone.” Mark echoes this sentiment: “We have great families on our street. We coach together and our kids play sports together. ... I like the fact that I got to watch one generation of kids grow up and graduate high school (and college) and I am now watching another generation grow up here on our street.” Some of their favorite neighborhood memories include: • Fireworks on the Fourth of July. • Watching for “smoke signals” from the neighbor’s house on summer weekends, which meant “the fire pit was lit and the party was on,” notes Dawn. • And for the kids in the neighborhood, playing manhunt — the classic hide-and-seek-plus-tag game — on warm summer nights. “It seems that whole era has passed,” Dawn says. “Neighbors have left, kids have grown, and we are now on to a new generation. There are a lot of great families with young kids in the neighborhood again, and now we are making more memories with them. Most of the kids play baseball and football together.” The Selanders have four sons overall: While Matthew and Jason have already graduated from Granby Memorial High School, Joshua (13) is an eighth-grader at Granby Memorial Middle School and Michael (10) is a fourth-grader at Wells Road Intermediate School. “I like the small-town charm that Granby has and its close proximity to larger cities and towns,” Matthew says. “After I graduate from college in June, I would like to return to Granby.” Matthew is studying marine safety and environmental protection at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He was part of the first GMHS class that played all four years of varsity football, and he served as a team captain. “I like that Granby is a small-town community where I know a lot of people.” — Mark Selander “One of my best and proudest memories,” Matthew notes, “was winning the Thanksgiving football game against our rival, Canton, at home my senior year [the 2013 season].” Meanwhile, Jason works construction and wants to start his own construction company someday. A nationally certified snowboard instructor, he also works at Ski Sundown and is a terrain park builder. Like Matthew, Jason values Granby’s small-town atmosphere. The Selander boys - Matthew, Joshua, Michael & Jason “After I graduate from college in June, I would like to return to Granby.” — Matthew Selander “I like to drive down the street and wave to so many people I know,” Jason says. “I still hang out with friends I went to high school with and friends I’ve had from even before I started kindergarten.” He adds: “I liked growing up with my neighbors building forts, riding dirt bikes and hanging out at the block parties.” Joshua plays baseball, which includes many travel baseball tournaments, and hopes to play college baseball. “My favorite sport in Granby was Little League,” says the middleschooler, who goes to Salmon Brook Park almost every day in the summer for batting practice. “Other families sometimes meet us there — it’s a fun way to get some practice in with friends.” Last but not least, Michael plays football, basketball and baseball. The youngest brother also started playing trumpet this year. “All of my friends in my neighborhood play sports,” he says. “I am in fourth grade and still play with friends from preschool.” Like Joshua, Michael enjoys summer days at Salmon Brook Park. And he’s a fan of Granby’s agrarian flavor: “I used to visit Dominic, my neighbor’s donkey, all the time — I even got to sit on his back sometimes.” Speaking of fanhood, the Selanders root for the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. An annual trip to Fenway Park is a family tradition. Another tradition: “We have vacationed at Cape Cod every summer since Matthew was born,” Dawn says. “We stay at the same place and have made many friends over the years with other families who vacation the same weeks as us. A few years ago, we were invited to the wedding of one boy we met at the Cape when he was 9 years old.” The Selanders also aim for a tradition here at home that is perhaps less tangible but is pivotal nonetheless. “I want my kids to grow up building a personal foundation stacked strong with trust, confidence, wisdom, and most of all kindness and compassion,” Dawn affirms. “I can’t think of a better place than Granby to nurture and grow these qualities for them.” GRANBY LIVING | 5

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