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Shaping the Future

10 reasons why you should be a lifeguard this summer

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

This week’s weather probably has you thinking that WINTER is finally here, but believe it or not, here at Parks and Recreation, we are already starting to think about SUMMER!  

We are diligently planning for summer camps, swim lessons, special events, and the 20th year of operation at Signal Bay Water Park! One of the major components in planning for summer is making sure we have the right staff to carry out our plans. It takes us months to interview, select, and train all of our employees, which is why we start in the dead of winter!

Within our department, we have many different options for part-time employment. For those who love working with children, we have summer camps leaders and aides. 

If you are passionate about a specific sport or hobby, you may be the perfect fit as an instructor for one of our athletic summer camps. Enjoy spending time outdoors? Perhaps working as a park laborer or lifeguard is the job for you. (more…)

Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

Announcing the new 55+ Active Adult Membership at the Manassas Park Community Center

The Manassas Park Community Center is very excited to announce our new Active Adult membership.

This membership is exclusively designed for individuals 55-64 years old and is only $15/month with 6 and 12 month options. The membership includes access to the gymnasium, pool, and wellness centers as well as all land and water group exercise classes, one fitness orientation, one fitness assessment, and two 30 minute personal training sessions.

This exciting new membership was created based on member feedback and proven demand over the last couple years. Until now our only Active Adult membership option was our Senior Passport membership which is only $30/year. However, this membership is only available for individuals 65 years and older.

As the senior programming became increasingly popular requests to expand our membership offerings also grew. The result was the creation of the new Active Adult membership.

Trying to stay fit? The Active Adult membership includes a number of wellness based classes!

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Senior Strength and Stretch offers a challenging workout that is low impact, but still meets your fitness needs.

Mixed gentle yoga focuses on your core and improves balance with easy-going, gentle yoga poses.

Aquasize is a water based exercise class that offers muscle toning in a low impact environment.

One of our most popular programs is Pickleball which is described as a combination of tennis and badminton.

Looking to learn something new or meet new people? Going Global is an opportunity to experience the diversity within our communities where you can learn about a variety of cultures through photos, stories, and food.

Piano/keyboard lessons offer a chance to explore your musical side whether you’re a beginner or a novice.

If you’re crafty, Social Knitting and Crafting for a Cause are two programs where you can learn to knit or crochet while creating projects for yourself or others to donate. The monthly senior potluck allows you to reconnect with friends in a casual environment.

Easy Gourmet is a hands-on cooking class where you learn to make quick and easy fourfive ingredient recipes.

Road Trip 66 State-to-State is a program where you can experience the diversity of our own country – think of it as a domestic Going Global! All of these programs and more are included in the new Active Adult membership!

Come meet our Senior Recreation Specialist, Bethiah Shuemaker, who has been at the forefront of creating all new senior programs for spring!

We hope to see you soon here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

Parades, pancakes, ornaments, & Santa pet photos: Don’t miss holiday fun at the Manassas Park Community Center

 

‘Tis the Season at the Manassas Park Community Center!

There’s just something about the holiday season that makes it one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it’s because this is the season for spreading happiness, togetherness, and well-wishes to everybody you meet. To help you get into the spirit of the season the Manassas Park Community Center has lots of special events lined up!

The festivities kick off on Thursday, December 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. where you and your family can decorate dough ornaments for only $3 a person. You can literally create a lifelong memory to include on your Christmas tree or to keep at your desk all year round.

As a baking enthusiast, nothing brings me more holiday cheer than gingerbread houses! You and your family can decorate your own gingerbread houses Thursday, December 10 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for just $5 per participant. We’ll supply everything but feel free to bring your own special candy to make your houses extra unique.

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Our popular 10th Annual Light Parade is on Saturday, December 12 starting at 5:45 p.m. There’s a new route this year! It will start at the General’s Ridge Golf Course and follow Manassas Drive to the Manassas Park Community Center. There’s still time to have your vehicle be a part of the parade. Contact Tony Thomas at t.thomas@manassasparkva.gov for more details.

Santa will be visiting the Manassas Park Community Center for a pancake breakfast on Saturday, December 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. It’s only $5 per person for Breakfast with Santa and kids 2 years old and under can join us for free. Make sure to bring your wishlist!

Your pups can meet Santa on December 19 as well! From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. bring your dogs to take pictures with Santa during our Santa Paws special event! It’s only $5 per dog and you’ll get a high quality digital photo to keep for years to come.

In addition to all of our special events, our monthly promotion gets in on the holiday action! Get 12% off an annual Basic or All-Access membership or 12% off any rental you book during the month of December! For more details on memberships and rentals you can visit our website at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call the front desk at 703-335-8872.

We hope to see you soon here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

Manassas Park Community Center starts ‘thank you’ pandemic to spread gratefulness

Don’t be alarmed, but in case you hadn’t heard summer is over and the Thanksgiving season is here.

Now is the season where people make a special effort to recount all the things they are thankful for in their lives. For many, it has become a tradition to share this list at the dinner table on Thanksgiving before eating.

Being mindful of your gratitude helps make you a happier person and, as happiness is contagious, it will make others around you happier as well. While it’s a wonderful and fun tradition to practice during Thanksgiving, the benefits of gratefulness can be enjoyed year round.

However, being grateful and focusing on what you are grateful for isn’t enough.

It’s easy to neglect to use the phrase, “thank you,” but those two simple words carry so much meaning. Thank you can reinforce and strengthen bonds we share with others.

When you say thank you to the person who makes your lunch in the morning, to your child who finishes their chores, or to your favorite cashier ringing up your purchase you express that you value that individual. Regardless of how monotonous, simple, or mandatory the task is, it should always be acknowledged and appreciated verbally.

Remember, gratefulness spreads happiness, but how can you express gratitude if you never say “thank you?”

Why do people neglect to say thank you? There are probably a myriad of reasons beyond my scope of knowledge and it’s easy to compile a list of cynical reasons – but let’s not create an anti-grateful list during the season of gratitude.

Instead let’s challenge each other to say a sincere and genuine thank you every day. Say it 10 times. Say it 100 times. Thank you is a rare phrase that has meaning no matter how frequently it is repeated.

Once you start saying thank you to others you’ll instantly notice others will start saying thank you to you. If happiness is contagious, and gratitude creates happiness, then it shouldn’t be surprising gratitude is contagious as well.

I’d like to start this gratitude pandemic. From me and on behalf of the entire City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, we’d like to thank you for all that you do. Even if we haven’t met yet, thank you. If we have met, thank you. Thank you for visiting our parks and our community center and giving value to the work that we do here. You are our community and we are here to work together to build our community up together.

To add further meaning behind our gratitude and to help spread our gratitude we are offering two specials this month. On Thursdays (through November 19) you can donate 10 non-perishable food items in order to receive 10% off a Basic or All-Access membership at the Manassas Park Community Center.  

From November 27 through December 4, we will be launching our ‘Friends and Family’ promotion where we share our employee discount with all of you. During that week only, you can get a Basic membership for 25% off.

For more details please contact us at 703-335-8872.

Find arts & crafts vendors, hayrides, food trucks at Manassas Park Fall Arts and Crafts Festival

The Manassas Park Community Center is excited to announce their first annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival to be held on Saturday, October 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. This festival will feature arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, games, hayrides, and a moon bounce.

The festival is the culmination of the tireless work of many individuals. For the past four years the community center has hosted the Fall Arts and Crafts Cornucopia which focused on vendors, but the community challenged the Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation staff to create a full feature festival.

Met with the opportunity to better serve the community, the Parks and Recreation staff envisioned a festival that combined the hometown charm of art and crafts with family friendly entertainment. There has been a lot of excitement in anticipation of the event as seen in the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival Facebook event where you can also see previews of the merchandise vendors will be selling.

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Parking next to the festival, located at the Stone House off of Old Centreville Rd, will open at 9:30 a.m. Additional handicap parking will be assigned at that parking lot. Parking in front of the community center is encouraged as the hayrides will also shuttle participants to and from the festival. The community center parking lot will be open at 7 a.m. All are welcome to attend this free event.

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street, Manassas Park, VA 20181. The community center features an indoor swimming pool, two fitness rooms for aerobic and strength training, and two full basketball courts. The community center also provides recreational opportunities such as programs and classes for all ages. For more information visit www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com.

Reduce, reuse, repair: How yard sales can make our community a greener place

When it comes to exploring options to improve our personal impact on the environment the old adage, “Reduce, reuse, recycle” rings as true as when it was first heard in kindergarten.

Looking from the outside, one might not make the connection on how the three R’s apply to yard sales. The R’s are indeed there having an impact even if it is simple or subtle.

The greatest impact one can have when going green is to reduce.  Typically this means that one should avoid purchasing new items or reduce consuming resources like water or electricity.

Another perspective is to reduce clutter within the home. Clearing out unused appliances, for example, means fewer items plugged into power strips slowly using energy.

Even turned off appliances can still be using energy to run background tasks or maintain WiFi connectivity. A half-empty chest freezer, a TV that is never used or a treadmill bought with the best of intentions can all be slowly consuming energy without providing any real benefit.

Reduce their impact by clearing them out!

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Clearing out is just the first step. Now the question becomes what to do with it. Properly disposing of the item is an option.

For example, there are facilities and services that take electronics like computers to break down for their components. Another option is to reuse it! The more items kept out of landfills; the healthier our environment becomes.

Reusing also reduces the pressure to gather new materials and harvest new resources. A great place to see reusing in action is at a yard sale. If somebody is looking for a chest freezer to store their bulk purchased frozen foods then a yard sale vendor selling their underutilized chest freezer is a perfect match!

The vendor makes a little money, the purchaser gets an item they were seeking for a discount and less pressure is applied to the environment.
That’s a win all the way around.

Sometimes an item is in disrepair or functions poorly. The piece overall is still in good shape, but perhaps there’s a tear in the fabric of a chair.

The handier people in our community can reach out and enact the third R – recycle. Suggesting somebody reupholstering a chair is the same as recycling may be a bit of a stretch but all one has to do is look at the myriad of Pinterest projects to see how well reusing and recycling go hand in hand.

Maybe for the purposes of this article the third R should be repair. The underlying fact still remains true: The less pressure that is put on the environment to supply brand new items the greener it will be for future generations.

Come see how you can apply the three R’s at the upcoming yard sale at the Manassas Park Community Center on September 19th from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Will you be a vendor reducing the clutter in your home?

Perhaps you’ll be a shopper looking to reuse, recycle and repair? Whichever role you assume, hopefully from now on you’ll look at yard sales with green tinted lenses.

This promoted post is written by Jason Shriner, at the Manassas Park Community Center.

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