Highlights from 2016’s Fall Arts and Crafts Festival – By Maria Bosack

DSC_2050.jpgMaria Bosack, writing/content specialist for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation

The smell of the freshly mowed lawn lingered and the brilliant, blue sky provided the perfect backdrop to the colorful vendor tents for the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival on October 15th from 10am-3pm at the lower parking lot near the Stone House at Costello Park.

Upon entering the area, folks were greeted by Monica Ventura and Emily Compton. These young ladies are members of the teen MP3 recreation program at the Community Center. The MP3 program is a lightly supervised place for teens to gather after school for fun, safe, and challenging group activities.

Today, both girls were volunteering and were also hoping there would be l
ots of small kids at this event because they love working with kids. The girls told everyone entering about the special area set up for kids with a moon bounce, face painting, and lots of games. “We all want to be with the kids,” Ventura explained.

After saying hello to the greeters, you couldn’t help but to notice the variety of crafts including handmade, one of a kind jewelry, tutu’s, make-up, clothing, aprons, dreamcatchers, and wreathes of all shapes and sizes glittering in the sun! There was even a children’s author who was there to talk about and to personally sign copies for anyone who bought her book.

Kaitlyn Collier, Special Events Assistant who had been planning for events for several weeks, said she was happy with the results. “We received such positive feedback from the people attending (who were thrilled with their purchases) to the vendors who were happy to make lots of sales!” Collier added.


“It’s all about the attitude, and if you spice up a good attitude with some sass, you really can’t lose!”  said Shelia Logan of Shelia Logan Designs. She added, “Go sassy—that’s what I always tell everyone who looks at my pieces.” Her jewelry included many beaded earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, but what really caught your eye was the pieces she made from different kinds of metals.

The smell of fresh vanilla enticed patrons towards Jessica Arnold and her Perfectly Posh naturally based pampering products including hand-made make-up and lotions. “I love selling these items because I believe they truly help you look great,” said Arnold. “And some of our product names really crack me up like this gender-bender lotion called hunk junk or our stripper body detoxifier,” she added with a grin.


Shannon Diaz lives in Manassas and began making tutus for her three daughters who are all dancers. “Wow, these are too cute for words,” exclaimed Manassas Park resident Darilyn Gould.

Another Manassas Park resident, Stephen Bruestle, was there with his 2-year-old daughter, Merrie. They were taking off Merrie’s shoes and getting ready for her turn in the moon bounce. “I was driving by, saw the tents, and thought this looked interesting. I am so glad we stopped in,” he said, “My daughter spent the summer splashing around at Signal Bay Water Park, and has discovered that she loves to tumble.”

Mother and daughter Cindy Short and Paula Weissend like to come to all the events at the Community Center. They planned to attend before their kids and grandkids had their tee ball games. “We came early to beat the crowds,” said Paula. “We enjoy this because there is a fun, safe place for the kids to play while we get to shop!” they said while giggling.


Anthony Macias, owner of Potomac Candle, said his company is veteran-owned and that his bestsellers are the citrus basil, grapefruit vanilla, and lavender lemonade candles. “I do a lot of my business online, and I like to get out and talk to people to get ideas for new scents,” he said.

Children’s book author Takisha Payne, said she loves interacting with the children. “My book titled, Bitsy Bop wants to Hippity Hop, is a book with a positive message to believe in yourself no matter what. “I grew up in this area, and this character is a compilation of the many people I have encountered along the way. I love to see what the kids think after they read my book and I am hoping to turn it into a series because I feel kids can never get enough positive influences in their lives,” she added.

Residents Brenda Blair and Coralle Burge really enjoyed speaking with the author and said they really agreed with her message. Brenda said she wasn’t planning to buy anything, but saw earrings and a necklace, and ended up buying both. “This was handmade and I got a great deal,” she explained.

So, next time you see a sign or a Facebook post about the craft festival at the Community Center, plan to attend. You will be really happy you did!

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, or via email at M.Bosack@manassasparkva.gov

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Jump In and Get Fit -By Sarah Barnett


Manassas Park Parks and Recreation Operations Manager Sarah BarnettLooking for something new to spice up your fitness routine? Want to find a fun, effective INDOOR activity to keep you fit this winter? Do you have knee and joint pain while participating in land aerobics classes?

It’s time to jump into the indoor pool here at the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) and try one of our water aerobics classes!  Water aerobics is not just for the elderly or for pregnant women!  There are so many different intensity levels and benefits to water workouts including burning calories and helping your heart to work more effectively.

Since water creates resistance, you burn more calories. An additional bonus is that you also build more muscle in the pool than you would if you were doing the same exercise on land.  There is also much less impact on muscles and joints due to buoyancy, which results in less strain on muscles.  Water works the opposite of gravity, and acts as a cushion for the body.

The water pressure on the body helps circulate the blood through the body.  This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. This is a major reason why cardiologists tend to recommend water exercise to patients who need to start a workout regime.

Perhaps the thought of getting into a bathing suit is enough to deter you from jumping in, but the benefits far outweigh the bathing suit factor. Don’t forget you could always buy some very conservative wetsuits or modesty swimwear!

Water aerobics is actually more discrete as the water alone helps to hide any missed choreography, sweat, or jiggle.  Additionally, you can easily increase or decrease your own intensity level by speeding up or slowing down your movements.

Study after study also prove that working out in the water can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Some people equate water exercise to the soothing feeling they get while watching the waves crash at the beach.

It also decreases your risk of illness.  According to the CDC, just 150 minutes of water exercise per week and decrease your risk of chronic illness.

We have several different options for Group Water Aerobics classes here at MPCC. There is Aquacize on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:30am-10:20am

There is also Restorative Aquafit on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am-11:30am, Aqua Zumba on Tuesdays at 8pm-8:50pm, Thursday at 9:30am-10:20am, and Saturday from 10:30am-11:20am, and Water Walking Mondays-Thursdays from 6:30pm-7:20pm.

Each of these classes offers a slightly different intensity level and skill, but all of them are fun!  Don’t worry If you can’t make one of our group classes, just hop in the pool during open swim and water walk or water jog.

Performing these exercises in the water alone increases caloric burn, decreases joint impact, and reduces stress! And you will have lots of fun too! I hope to see you in the pool soon!

Sarah Barnett is the Operations/Aquatics Manager for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at S.Barnett@manassasparkva.gov


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There’s no I in Team – By Mike Arrington


Manassas Park Community Center Athletics Specialist Mike ArringtonHow many of us really work in a place where you truly feel like a valued member of the team? During my time as an employee of the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation, I can honestly say that not only does the staff operate as a team, but I really feel like a valued member of this team.

I can honestly say that this place is, by far, my favorite place of employment. One reason I enjoy working here is because each team member is working towards a common goal: to provide a variety of high quality, diverse leisure opportunities, foster our city’s parks and natural resources, and support the individual growth and well-being of our citizens.  We all work together and strive for excellence as we create and implement the programs and classes here at the Community Center.

Let me briefly tell you about our team. Our diverse backgrounds and levels of experience enable us to create optimal solutions every day. We often meet to discuss how to effectively and efficiently solve Department issues. With our system of research and checks and balances, we are able to provide our patrons with the best solutions to their many needs. In fact, it is not uncommon for us to go above and beyond to satisfy our patron’s needs. And each of us on this team is happy to do so!

Our Director allows us to feel comfortable in offering suggestions and solutions to benefit both the Department and the community. The trust built in us and the direction provided by our Senior level management staff creates very important bonds. These bonds are particularly important when we face a difficult challenge or if we are forced to deal with the loss of a team member while still trying to maintain productivity.

Behind the scenes we laugh, cry, and even joke around while we work hard toward maintaining our goals! At the end of the day, we know we have used all our resources to make sure our programs and services are top quality.

We are a team and everyone plays their role and does their job. In athletics (as well as in business) working together successfully provides the foundation for a successful organization – a group of diverse, talented individuals working together to reach our objectives and goals.

I believe teamwork is essential to what we do here. Teamwork is not only important and vital to the success of our Department but also to the development of each and every employee. Teamwork is defined as follows: (noun) (1) cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a TEAM or in the interests of a common cause; (2) work done with a team.

I think our team is not much different than a professional sports team like the Yankees, Lakers, or the Steelers. No one individual tries to outshine the rest as we all put egos aside to make this organization great for our members. I invite you to stop by the Community Center when you can, and just watch the interactions of the MPCC team. I think you’ll agree– it’s pretty impressive.

We believe that teamwork makes the dream work!

Mike Arrington is the Recreation Specialist for Athletics for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703.335.8872 or via email at M.Arrington@manassasparkva.gov.

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Loving My Time Working at the Community Center – by Sue Jurjevic

fall family fun night bowling 2015

Bowling fun at Fall Family Fun Night 2015

Sue Jurjevic Senior Recreation Specialist Manassas Park Community CenterOne thing I have always enjoyed about working here at the Community Center is seeing our families return year after year, enjoying all the holiday fun, and I also love seeing how much the kids have grown with each passing year.

It’s hard to know about all the work that goes on behind the scenes here, so please, let me take a moment to tell you a little about what we do.

Each season, we plan and develop new programs for all of our residents from preschool age to seniors. After we finalize those plans, we write descriptive blurbs to best describe the programs we have to offer for the season. Each program is designed for maximum participation and we really hope that everyone participating really enjoys themselves. We run the programs then discuss what worked and what didn’t.  Each season we try to expand and develop new programs while keeping our more popular programs and tweaking them to make them even better.

As we approach the busy holiday season, we are in the midst of non-stop action as we prepare for numerous holiday-themed events. Unlike the summer where we go from week to week with a variety of camps, our holiday events are not planned weekly.

We encourage you to join us this year here at the Community Center. Whether you paint some holiday-themed pottery, or volunteer to hand out treats at our Trunk or Treat event, or if you want to join in as we decorate gingerbread houses, we feel like we are a family here at the Community Center, and we encourage everyone to come and join the fun!

Not only have I been a resident of Manassas Park for most of my life; our community is special to me and huge part of why I love doing what I do. So again, I invite you and your family to join us here at the Community Center as we enter upon the holiday season. Think of it as a time to create new memories, or a time to try something new, or to continue family traditions.

Sue Jurjevic is the Senior Recreation Specialist for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 or via email at S.Jurjevic@manassasparkva.gov.

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Family Fun for the Fall – By Kaitlyn Collier

trunk or treat at the manassas park community center 2015

Business and volunteers dress up and decorate their cars for trick-or-treaters during Trunk or Treat

You know its fall when you start thinking about bonfires, festivals, Halloween, and all things pumpkin spice. While we don’t have pumpkin spice lattes, we have all the rest of the fall fun your family looks forward to every year! Fall is such a great season to spend time with your family. At the Community Center we have fall events for you and your friends and families to enjoy every weekend!

To kick start your fall celebrations we have Fall Family Fun Night on October 8 from 6-8 PM for only $12 per household. Your family will be able to play games, get their faces painted, and even make delicious s’mores! Don’t forget to go around the park for a hayride as well! It’s a perfect way to have some fun quality time with your family and enjoy the beginning of the crisp autumn weather!

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

We will be holding our annual Fall Arts & Crafts Festival on October 15 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM! Make sure you add this FREE festival to your calendar! We will have a variety of vendors showcasing their paintings, handmade jewelry, home goods, clothing, and more. While you look for the perfect homemade crafts to add to your home or for presents this coming holiday season, your children will be able to play in the “Kids Zone” which will have a moon bounce, bowling, a variety of games to play, and prizes to win!

After last year’s success, we are so excited to have our annual Floating Gourd Night on October 21 from   7 – 8:30 PM for only $5.00 per participant! If this isn’t already your children’s favorite event, it will be! Not only will your child be able to take home a pumpkin to give your home that fall feeling, they get to dive into the pool to pick their perfect pumpkin. After some swim time the children will be able to decorate their pumpkin to bring their creative touches to your new fall décor!

If you love to swim and to decorate pumpkins, you'll have a blast at Floating Gourd Night

If you love to swim and to decorate pumpkins, you’ll have a blast at Floating Gourd Night

To finish off a magical fun filled October, we will be holding our annual Trunk or Treat on October 31 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. This FREE event is a safe and easy way to celebrate Halloween. We’ll have lots of volunteers and businesses handing out candy for every trick-or-treater from their decorated vehicles. We will also have plenty of games, crafts, and a moon bounce to help your family have a fantastic Halloween together!

We love being able to provide budget friendly family events here at the Manassas Park Community Center, and I hope you’ll come out to all of our October events! Mark your calendars now so you don’t forget!

Kaitlyn Collier is the Special Events Coordinator Assistant for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703.335.8872 or via email at k.collier@manassasparkva.gov.

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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.

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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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