Signal Bay Waterpark Doggie Paddle Made a Splash with Owners and Dogs Alike – By Maria Bosack

doggie paddle 2016 1

Their big eyes look up to you as you pat their furry, little heads.

“Go ahead, it’s alright.”

“Come on, jump in, it’s hot–you know you want to.”

“After all, who wouldn’t want to get wet on a day like today.”

These were the most often heard comments at the recent Doggie Paddle event, sponsored by the Manassas Park Dog Park Committee, held on Saturday, September 10th from 10am to 2pm at the Signal Bay Waterpark.

Dog owners brought their dogs for some fun in the sun; however, the dogs were there to get wet! Whether the dogs wanted to run through the sprinklers, swim in the shallow pools, or paddle around the lazy river, dogs of any breed enjoyed their day at Signal Bay Waterpark.

Dogs play in sprinklers at SBWP doggie paddle 2016

As the dogs, and their owners, entered into the waterpark, staff checked for necessary paperwork showing proof of Distemper, Parvo and Rabies shots. Each dog received a waste bag, and assurance that today it was okay for the dogs to run, jump, and splash in the water!

Dog owner, Kim Hines was happy her dog was enjoying herself. “She really is an independent dog and usually doesn’t like public places or dog parks, but she loves the water, so I thought I would give this a shot,” she said, “Boy am I glad I did because she is having a great time.”

Two teachers from Cougar Elementary School brought their dogs for the festivities. Teacher, Kim Edwards said she hadn’t been to the Doggie Paddle before. “I have a puppy, so I was concerned that there would be a little too much excitement for my little dog, but I was wrong. This was so much fun, and I am happy for the chance for my pup to socialize with other dogs.”

Jen Braunschedel, also a teacher at Cougar Elementary School added, “My dog loves to run off leash, and there are not a lot of places where we can do that since we live in an apartment building. So for us, this is ideal.”

dog with ball at SBWP doggie paddle 2016

Ed Welsh said this was his second time attending the Doggie Paddle. “We came here a few years ago because we remembered what a great time our dogs had, and we remembered the staff was very polite too.” Welsh brought his 2 pugs to splash around in the kiddie pools and sprinklers. “It never ceases to amaze me because you see a completely different side of your dogs’ personalities when you attend social functions like these. Today our little guys have made friends with some large fellows,” he chuckled.

“Maybe it is the water, but my dogs really aren’t used to playing with strange dogs, and look at them now, they are having the time of their lives,” agreed Jennifer Mazhari, a teacher for Prince William County, “I live in Manassas Park, and have brought my dogs over to the doggie park because I want my dogs to socialize with other dogs.”

“It’s because I am a teacher, and I have worked with kids for years building a sense of community and positive socializing, but an event like this, specifically for our pups really is special. It gives our dogs a chance to socialize, and we owners can socialize too,” Mazhari added.

dog swims in lazy river at SBWP doggie paddle 2016

There were 73 dogs who attended this event and most of their owners commented that the dogs really had a good time. They noted that their dogs would be tired from all the splashing, swimming, running, and the socializing. Mrs. Mazhari, summed up the sentiment of the dog owners in attendance by saying, “I know I am not alone when I say a tired dog equals a happy owner.”

The Manassas Park Dog Park Committee sponsors several events like the Doggie Paddle where dogs and their owners can socialize, and meet fellow dog owners. Most events are held at the Manassas Park Dog Park at Costello Park. Look for more Manassas Park Dog Park events such as BeagleFest on October 15th from 12:00pm to 4:00pm and Santa Paws on December 17th from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Check out the Manassas Park Community Center’s Facebook page for more pictures from this year’s doggie paddle. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be notified of upcoming dog park events.

Maria Bosack is the Writer/Content Specialist for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 x0393 or via email at M.Bosack@ManassasParkVA.gov.

Posted in Aquatics, Dog Park, Programs, Special Events | Leave a comment

Keeping Teens Active and Social – By Tony Thomas

teens at the Manassas Park Community Center

Here at the Manassas Park Community Center, the staff prides ourselves on offering a diverse array of programs and classes for people of all ages. Our programs serve residents and non-residents, from ages 6-weeks-old to senior citizens. We create appropriate programs for each of our age groups, and one of the populations that we are most excited about is our teens. Teens, ages 12 to 18 years old, are often stereotyped, or worse, overlooked. We strive to include all teens, regardless of their backgrounds, at the Community Center.

Our Teen Passport is a program designed just for teens. It allows them access to the building and to our programs. Through the teen passport, teens participate in classes designed just for them, while also receiving the same benefits of our basic membership package.

The best part about the teen passport is the price. The cost is $20 per month; however, it is up to the teens to determine how much they pay each month.

This means when a teen does community service, volunteers, or earns good grades, it equates to a point value within in the passport. If a teen gets 20 points for one month, that means that their next month is free of charge. If they get 10 points, this means that they only pay $10 for the upcoming month.

This system truly encourages teens to pay it forward and become future leaders in their community. Each teen controls how much they pay month-to-month. If a teen cannot commit to the Teen Passport, we also have a daily drop-in fee of $2.00.

Teen programs include Movie Monday, Gardening, Mexican Cooking, Journaling, Volunteering at the Fairmont Senior Home, Kickball, and various sports. In addition, there is a teen center with computers, a big screen TV, a pool table, an air hockey table, foosball, and all the board and card games they could ever imagine. Most of our programs are scheduled after school.

Studies prove that busy teens are productive teens so it is our goal to keep our teen population active by encouraging them to stay busy. When school is dismissed for the day, it has been proven that it is the peak time for issues amongst teens. We want to change that narrative and make afterschool a peak time for teens at the Community Center. We want to keep them busy, engaged, and happy socializing with their friends.

Much of the responsibility keeping our teens active falls on our Recreation Leaders for Teen Programs. This fall, we have two new employees in addition to our two previous employees. If you ever want to stop by the teen center and say hi to one of our Recreation Leaders, they would be happy to speak to you and tell you what’s happening in the center. Our staff is as follows:

Manassas Park Community Center Teen Recreation Leader Janet LunaJanet Luna –  She is considered the face of the teen center! Janet has been with the teen department for two years and implements tons of classes and programs and often times represents the teen center and Parks and Recreation at community events.

 

 

 

 

javonte-murrayJavonte Murray –  He has been with the Department for four years and has worked with school age camps and has decided to impact the future in a positive way by helping teens.

 

 

 

 

 

Jenyfer Rosales - teen recreation leaderJenyfer Rosales – Our most recent addition in the teen center, however, she is no stranger to the Community Center. Jenyfer has worked in various capacities within Parks and Recreation and now can add teens to her list of responsibilities.

 

 

 

 

Makayla Cooper – She has stated that working in Parks and Recreation is her dream job because she has been coming to the teen center for years as a participant and now can call this her job. She is a teen that can relate to teens and offer insight!

If you are the parent of a teen, or know a teen, the entire staff here encourages you to please tell the teens in your life about the fantastic programs just for teens at the Manassas Park Community Center. We hope to see them in the teen center soon!

Tony Thomas is the Recreation Services Supervisor for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703.335.8872 or via email at t.thomas@manassasparkva.gov.

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We Accomplish More Together – By DC Webb

Our Group Exercise classes encourage teamwork to help motivate you and achieve goals you never imagined you could reach

Our Group Exercise classes encourage teamwork to help motivate you and achieve goals you never imagined you could reach

My name is DC Webb, and I am the Park Manager at Costello Park. I am a guy who has worked here for several years, and every once in a while, something happens to remind me why I am so happy to be a part of the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation team.

I’m going to talk about something today that is really, really, really important to me. I am talking about helping one another and working together as a team. Coming together is the beginning of a good team, staying together is the development phase of your team, and working together on any and all projects is the key to your team’s success.

Sometimes, I know, we take our team for granted, and we might even think we might accomplish more by working independently, but I believe when we don’t help each other, we are nothing.

Recently, during shutdown week here at the Community Center, all staff joined together to clean up the building. You saw the Director painting walls, Preschool staff taking out trash, and Marketing staff moving chairs! Every staff person was performing additional job duties that were completely out of the realm of their normal job duties. By rolling up their sleeves, and working together, we accomplished our goals!

This team of staffers at the Community Center never disappoints me. In fact, I was recently asked to be part of an additional customer service opportunity and every single person I asked for help was able to do so! It didn’t matter if my coworkers were part-time or full-time staff, every single person had other obligations, but they all came through anyway. Again, by working together, we accomplished our goal, which truly takes a real team!

I have mentioned how I have asked others for help, and that they have reciprocated quickly and efficiently. I would like to think that this happens because I have also been helpful to others to get their jobs finished. I know helping others is a two-way street, and I am happy to do my part because I believe no one among us is as smart as all of us are by working together!

The next time you have a job duty that requires some time, or is out of the realm of your normal job duties, please don’t hesitate to ask others in your department for some help or tips. I think you will find that there is always someone willing to help.

If we are all moving forward together, then our success is guaranteed. By coming together, staying together and working together, your team will be able to handle anything! I’d also like to say thank you to my team here in the Department of Parks and Recreation for your hard work and for making me so proud of what we do here every day!

DC Webb is the Costello Park Manager for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703.335.8872 x3138 or via email at D.Webb@manassasparkva.gov.

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10 Reasons to Take Our Guided Meditation Classes – By Tiffany Olsen

10 Reasons to Take a Meditation Class

Get a moment to yourself
In a world of rush hour traffic, smart phones and on-the-go lunches, it’s easy to forget the pure joy of quiet stillness.  Relax in a calm, low-pressure setting, and re-connect to yourself.

Sleep better
People who meditate are able to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up more refreshed.

Focus
Meditation teaches the art of focusing the mind, and this ability will translate to all aspects of your life.

Live healthier
Reduced blood pressure, better immune response and fewer cardiovascular complications are all proven benefits of meditation.

Increase your pain tolerance—a lot
Every method of natural childbirth is based on the principals of meditation.  If women can give birth without drugs using meditation, it will surely help you get through your next headache.

Strengthen your will power
Meditation teaches you to control your mind, and by extension, better control your impulses.

Deepen your sense of calm
Simply learning to pay attention to your breath in meditative way dramatically reduces stress.

Be more creative
Quieting the mind makes room for new perspective. Don’t be surprised if your next best idea comes during a meditation session.

Get along better with others
A regular practice of meditation makes it easier to forgive and tolerate minor interpersonal difficulties.

Develop your mind/body connection
Taking the time to tune into your body may alert you to aches, tension, and pain you may not notice otherwise.  Focus on relaxing tense muscles and releasing stress.

Tiffany Olsen is an instructor at the Manassas Park Community Center. She teaches belly dance, barre, meditation, photography, and more. You can follow her on Facebook at Purple Veil Belly Dance. Her meditation class is on Thursdays starting 9/8/16-11/10/16 from 7:30pm-8:20pm. You can register online and find more information, including pricing, by clicking here.

Posted in Adults, Instructors, Programs | Leave a comment

My Summer Recap – By Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry

Camp Leaders and Aides sit in for a staff training at the beginning of summer

Camp Leaders and Aides sit in for a staff training at the beginning of summer

Manassas Park Parks and Recreations School Age Recreation Specialist Jacquelyn-Tyre PerryWhile I am extremely glad the summer heat is almost over, it’s also very bittersweet for me to see the summer end. With another successful year of summer camps under our belts here at the Community Center, I can’t help but reflect on some of this summer’s highlights.

We always ramp up for summer with an employee training week. We review uniforms, CPR procedures, employee expectations, and customer service – just to name a few items we discussed. This year, the Recreation Services team revamped the employee training to include more hands-on and active learning opportunities, as well as more scenario-based training. This new approach was well received by new and old staff, and the consensus was that everyone felt prepared and ready for their jobs this summer.  We ended our employee training week with a potluck to allow staff to get to know each other, and it was a hit!

Campers investigate the scene of the crime searching for blood, hair, fingerprints, and more

Campers investigate the scene of the crime searching for blood, hair, fingerprints, and more

The following week, our Summer Camps finally kicked off, and everyone on our staff was ready. There were several unique camps, but Forensic Files was definitely an all-around favorite! During this week long camp, the kids worked on solving a crime by lifting fingerprints, collecting hair and dust samples, studying particles under a microscope, and interviewing their suspects.

To everyone’s surprise, I was the culprit who ransacked the older kid’s classroom leaving behind a string of lunchboxes and a broken flower pot as clues. My ransacking came to a halt when I found cookies in the younger kid’s classroom. I left cookie crumbs and clues for the kids and staff to figure out “whodunit.” Both classes did a fantastic job acting as Special Agents for the week by putting their investigative skills to work solving the crime—and they had a blast too!

This summer, we also had a lot of new employees, who reported they had an amazing time working here. They loved interacting with the kids, doing the crafts and activities alongside them, and making new friends with other staff. Thankfully, we will be welcoming them all back next summer…if they’ll have us!

Returning this fall is Fall Family Fun Night where families can roast marshmallows, take hayrides, play games, and more

Returning this fall is Fall Family Fun Night where families can roast marshmallows, take hayrides, play games, and more

Right now, we are gearing up for fall at the Community Center so be sure to check out the newly released Manassas Park Community Center Fall Mosaic! We’re busy preparing our Extended Care program for the new school year. We are bringing back our popular fall Special Events and are hiring more Recreation Services staff. So, even though the summer is ending, the fun isn’t. We truly appreciate and thank all those who helped to make this summer so memorable and successful.

Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry is the Recreation Specialist for School Aged Programs for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 x3928 or via email at J.Tyre-Perry@ManassasParkVA.gov.

Posted in Programs, School Aged | Leave a comment

Kids Triathlon Wrap Up! – By Maria Bosack

A handful of participants from this year's kids triathlon

A handful of participants from this year’s kids triathlon

Maria Bosack, writing/content specialist for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and RecreationManassas Park Community Center, Costello Park. It’s early, about 8:15 am on Saturday, on August 13, 2016 and, according to the WeatherBug app, the outside temperature is already a sticky 88 degrees, but it truly feels like 100 degrees! This morning is the Manassas Park Kids Triathlon where kids will compete in swimming, biking, and running. This year a record 45 kids signed up for the triathlon – a huge increase over last year’s 17. The participants are separated into two groups: ages 8 and 9 and ages 10-12. The triathlon begins in the pool where each swimmer will swim laps, then they’ll transition to cycling, and each child will finish the triathlon by running across the finish line.

Recreation Services Supervisor, Tony Thomas, energizes this year's kids triathlon participants

Recreation Services Supervisor, Tony Thomas, energizes this year’s kids triathlon participants

Tony Thomas, Recreation Services Supervisor, smiled as he set the stage for the participants. “Go out there and have fun,” he said, “We are so happy to see such a great turnout. I know it is hot out there — just do your best.”

kids triathlon 2016 swimming

Several participants had never participated in a triathlon and were unsure what to expect. Nine-year-old Ryan Minogue was a first time participant. “It’s my goal to try new things,” he said, “I am going to push myself to see how fast I can go as I try to pace myself.” His dad had been helping him train by taking Ryan on bike hikes near their home in Springfield, and the family ran together during a recent trip to North Carolina. Ryan says he loves sports and plays baseball and is a brown belt in karate.

Nine-year-old Samara Mayland also was a first-timer to the triathlon and admitted she was a little nervous. “I love all of these sports, but my favorite, by far, is swimming,” she said. “I’m also on the running club at school,” she pointed out. Her family was there to cheer her on and knew their participant was a little anxious before the race, so they reminded her of all the activities she does and how proud they are of her. “Yes, this one keeps us busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” her mom, Melissa, added.

Maddy Budd, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant

Maggie Budd, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant

Maggie Budd, a nine-year-old from Arlington, had already participated in another triathlon this summer. Maggie’s mom said, “Maggie never asked what her time or where she finished in relation to the other participants in the race, so I thought she could try another one.” Maggie says she just loves playing sports and is on her school’s running club. She also plays field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. She admitted, “My whole family loves sports and fitness is a big part of my life.”

Kohana Henry, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant

Kohana Henry, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant

This was also the second triathlon for Kohana Henry from Prince William County. “In school, I like computers, but I love to ride my bike so I asked my mom to let me ride my bike super-fast in this year’s triathlon,” she said. Her mom, Chizu, added, “I love watching the kids as they try their best. This year, I noticed so many smiles. Despite the heat, the kids were having a great time.”

Jonathan Buchholz (left) and Inigo Diz (right) get ready to finish the running portion of the kids triathlon

Jonathan Buchholz (left) and Inigo Diz (right) get ready to finish the running portion of the kids triathlon

Jonathan Buchholz, an eleven-year-old from Fall Church, said he heard about the triathlon and wanted to compete with his friend, Inigo Diz, who finished the race in first and second place respectively. “We like sports and we love to compete,” he said. Inigo’s mom, Ingrid, added, “The staff was very helpful. We realize this triathlon is pretty new and expected the weather was going to be super-hot, so we are glad it was held early in the day.”

The heat sizzled while parents and friends cheered as the participants swam, biked, and ran their way to the finish line. Within an hour, all of the participants had crossed the finish line.

Samara Mayland, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant, gets ready to cross the finish line

Samara Mayland, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant, gets ready to cross the finish line

Samara Mayland was happy she finished the race. “At one point, I was walking and thought I might not get to the finish line, but I did,” she beamed, “It was hard, but I made it!” With her brother and family watching and cheering, she smiled as she ran across the finish line.

Jerry Betz, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant

Jerry Betts, 2016 MPCC Kids Triathlon participant

Jerry Betts, a ten-year-old from Woodbridge, said he participated in the triathlon to help him train for other sports he plays. “I love playing football and I also love riding my bike. I can’t ride my bike at football but I could here and it was great!” He added, “I can’t wait to come back and do it again next year!”

Nine-year-old Andy Lemaster attends a traditional school in Prince William County and loves playing baseball. His mom, Claire, said, “I’ve done some of these triathlons myself and know firsthand how nervous, tired, and anxious these kids are.  Here, the attitude was so laidback and I think my son really had a great time. I saw a sign advertising this triathlon over by the Signal Bay Waterpark. I’m really glad we signed up.”

Maria Bosack is the Writer/Content Specialist for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 x0393 or via email at M.Bosack@ManassasParkVA.gov.

 

Posted in Athletics, Family, Programs, Special Events | Leave a comment

Olympic Fever – By Sarah Barnett

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The Kids Triathlon, scheduled for 8/13/16, is a great way for young athletes to test their fitness!

Manassas Park Parks and Recreation Operations Manager Sarah BarnettI have always been a big fan of the Olympics.  I remember watching the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when I was a kid and begging my parents to put me in gymnastics. I was convinced I was going to be the next Shannon Miller.  Fast forward 4 years, and I was pumped to watch the Magnificent Seven compete in Atlanta.  I watched every minute of the Gymnastics coverage, even staying up until midnight to see the 1996 team win the gold medal!

My friends and I practiced our gymnastics’ skills for hours in my front yard.  However, by the 2000 Olympic Games, my passion had changed to running.  I watched hours of the Track and Field events.  At this point, I was convinced I was going to make it to the Olympics in the 1500m. Sadly, that didn’t happen; however, what did happen was my love for sports continued to shape me into the person that I am today.

As I have gotten older, I have found that my taste in Olympic sports has broadened to not only Track and Gymnastics, but also to Swimming and Diving.  This past week I have been glued to the TV at 8pm, to watch the Gymnastics and Swimming competitions. I have made watching the Olympics a family affair, and even allowed my young daughters to stay up past their bedtimes to watch.  My oldest daughter loves watching swimming while cheering on Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Meanwhile, my youngest is already begging me to put her in Soccer AND Gymnastics!  I am not surprised that, just like me, my girls fell in love with sports by watching the Olympics.

Kids can be exposed to the sports they have fallen in love with watching the Olympics right here at the Manassas Park Community Center.  We have tons of swim lessons to help build efficient and effective swim skills for the future Michael Phelps.

We have Tumble Tots and Lil Rumblers & Tumblers for the future gymnast; Hot Shot Soccer and Strikers Soccer for the future soccer player; and Lil Dunkers and the Manassas Park Youth Basketball League for the future basketball star!  Karate will be in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and we have WCRB Dragon Tots and WCRB Youth Mixed Martial Arts for the aspiring karate master.  For those young at heart, we have an Adult Basketball League and Winter Volleyball League. We also offer adult classes in Karate (WCRB Adult MMA) and Swim Lessons.

Check out our latest program guide, the MOSAIC, that comes out on August 15th for a full list of all the amazing programs that we have to offer this fall!

Sarah Barnett is the Operations and Aquatics Manager for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 x3672 or via email at S.Barnett@ManassasParkVA.gov.

Posted in Aquatics, Athletics, Programs | Leave a comment