“We’re going to be living in dirt mounds?”
It’s not hard to fault Margaret Sichrovsky’s apprehension when she set eyes on her new “home.” After all, she was 5-years-old and she was staring at a giant open space where dirt and rocks were the natural inhabitants.
Fast-forward about 16 years, and a five-bedroom house that the Sicrovskys still call home occupies that land.
It was happenstance that Tom and Jodi Sichrovsky made the trip to Anthem in search of their new home more than 16 years ago. The couple, whose young family at the time included Margaret and 3-year-old Abigail (Abby), had been house hunting near Tramonto, but their prospective home ended up being out of their budget. That’s when Tom mentioned the groundbreaking for new homes in the small community of Anthem just a few miles away.
Anthem had just opened up development west of I-17, so the couple decided to take a look. There were no models to look at yet, just one small sales trailer. Despite the barren landscape, the Sichrovskys felt they had found their future home – and they signed a contract that same day. To them, being a pioneer of Anthem’s west side help shape the identity of the young family.
Take it outside
“We still have pictures of us playing on the dirt,” recalls Abby Sichrovsky and the fun times she shared with her sister Margaret.
Abby was two years younger than Margaret when the Sichrovskys made the move to Anthem. Since then, Tommy and twins Charles and Chelsie became part of their clan. All five children have special memories of their time growing up in Anthem.
Tommy has enjoyed playing with friends at Opportunity Way Park, both before and after it was built. “I remember before the park was built, there was just one slide. Me and my friends would ride over there and have a lot of fun,” recalls Tommy.
The Sichrovskys are animal lovers, and they’ve seen their share of Anthem wildlife. Charles recalls one of his favorite memories involving four-legged furry friends.
“Once, we were all sleeping, and Tommy just yelled out that he saw donkeys,” he explained. “We all got in the car and drove and saw 15 donkeys in one pack.”
Chelsie has her own story of close encounters with animals, but it involves those of the amphibian variety.
A large number of toads decided to call the Sichrovsky’s pool home for the summer. Chelsie didn’t hesitate to jump right in with a bucket to help safely relocate her new green friends. “It was a lot of fun,” she exclaimed excitedly.
Shaping Anthem memories
The stories about the family and the animals they’ve encountered serve as a metaphor for their time in Anthem. Love, compassion and a whole lot of fun seem to be the major themes that have shaped their experience in this community.
It’s not an everyday occurrence that kids grow up at the same time their community does, but that was the case here. Anthem was young and growing, with new businesses, schools and amenities added every year. Margaret and Abby’s experiences were vastly different their younger siblings. But that was part of the fun.
“A couple of days ago, Margaret and I went to the water park with the little ones,” Abby said when referring to her younger siblings. “We were teaching them the tricks we used to do on the slides.”
That sense of appreciation and fun isn’t limited to just the kids. Tom and Jodi have spent their fair share of time enjoying what the outdoors has to offer. To be so close to trails like Daisy Mountain and to hike out there,” said Tom, “I just think to myself, ‘wow, this our backyard.’”
Jodi also takes advantage of the nature and trails that intersect through Anthem. She and Tom get up at 5 a.m. three times a week for a peaceful, morning jog. “Some of the sunrises we get to see are incredible,” said Jodi, “I just love it.”
The family’s time on Anthem trails and atop Daisy Mountain have also shaped Margaret’s future. Now a student at Northern Arizona University, Margaret “get[s] to come back from living in a forest and it’s desert.”
In fact, she’s pursuing a degree and career as forest ranger—not something she can do in Anthem once graduated, but she’ll always come back home. “I told her she can always be a park ranger at Lake Pleasant, but she just laughs at me,” Tom said.
“For me, it’s the uniqueness of living in a desert ecosystem,” reflects Margaret, “there’s so much beauty in the desert…in all of its rawness and uniqueness…and it’s amazing to see.”
All in all, the Sichrovskys are happy with the way Anthem has grown. When asked what they’d like to see added to the community, the answers varied. A movie theater, Dutch Bros, QuikTrip and a 50%-off trampoline store (that’s a good one, Tommy) were answers given.
Margaret thinks the diversity of Anthem’s environment is certainly a positive and doesn’t want to see too much more development. “Let’s leave the desert a natural habitat,” she said.
Tom and Jodi still feel that the family made the right choice to call Anthem home. “Anthem is still a nice, safe community to have a family and raise your kids,” said Tom. “It’s just a beautiful place.”
That sentiment rings true no matter where you live in Anthem. But the Sichrovskys will always be happy that their family has written their own west-side story.