July 25, 2002
As summer nears its midpoint, the Alexandria Department of Parks Recreation and Cultural Activities still has a lot to offer for children and adults alike.
"We have a professional staff that is planning and implementing programs for every age and interest in the city,” said Janet Barnet, the department’s deputy director for operations. “I hope that everyone will come out and take advantage of one or more of our activities.”
The neighborhood recreation centers have summer programs that include arts and crafts, sports, games, special events and field trips. The hours at all of the centers are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Each center has tailored programs to fit the population that it serves and to take advantage of the facilities.
Charles Houston, for example, reads with the Queen Street Library on Tuesdays, for youth ages five to eight, and Thursdays, ages nine to twelve.
William Ramsay is conducting a performing arts program on Mon- days and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This program teaches youth music, movement, drama, costume design and production. The program will conclude by performing in the city’s Performing Arts Festival at Market Square on Aug. 10.
Mt. Vernon offers “Family Thursday” when the youth participants have the opportunity to invite parents or guardians to join them on Thursday afternoons to see them participate in special program activities such as art shows, a history docu-drama, a math and language exhibit, a carnival and barbecue, and a musical.
Charles Barrett summer campers have the opportunity to participate in Tae Kwon Do classes coached by Gloria DuBissette, a member of the Olympic Committee in the Washington Metro Area. Introductory classes in Tae Kwon Do and Women’s Self-Defense are also available to teens and adults.
Patrick Henry Recreation Center is reaching out to the community every Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. at Ewald Park. Activities include horseshoes, basketball, football, and soccer for the whole family. Free lunches and snacks are available at Nannie J. Lee, Mt. Vernon, Cora Kelly, Charles Houston, William Ramsay and Patrick Henry through Aug. 16. The centers serve 50 to 150 children at each location every day.
“These programs are voluntary, which means that children do not have to attend every day, but there is certainly some accountability,” said Margaret Orlando, the program supervisor for Centers and Youth Sports. “The staff ensures that children are safe and have a wide range of activities. All of the daily activities are free except that there may be some fees for certain field trips.”
IN THE AREA of youth sports, there is also a lot happening. Boys between the ages of 12 and 14 can take advantage of a junior player development program. It is designed to teach the fundamentals of tackle football, including tackling, blocking and skill instruction. This program is held on Tuesday and Thursday through August. The program was developed by the National Football League and is being conducted by the recreation department and T. C. Williams High School staff.
The Titans Track Club is currently forming. Youth who want to participate must be city residents, between the ages of seven and fourteen. Children can register at any of the city’s recreation centers. The Track Club will represent the city of Alexandria by competing in local track meets around the metropolitan area. Participants will receive instruction in the basic skills and techniques in track and field events, with an emphasis on teamwork, sportsmanship, commitment and healthy competition.
Once again this summer, the National Junior Tennis League is offering tennis instruction for 100 Alexandria children. The final tournament will be held on July 26.
Six teams are competing in a summer basketball league for children 14 years of age and younger. The league began on July 15 and will run through Aug. 7.
The 2002 summer playgrounds program offers fun for children six to twelve years of age, including games, arts and crafts, swimming and field trips. These programs are available at Jefferson-Houston, Ben Brenman Park, Four Mile Run Park, MacArthur, Warwick Village, Tancil Court, John Adams, Stevenson Park and Maury. Playgrounds operate Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Aug. 9.
THERE ARE SOME spaces available at the remaining Chinquapin camps. There are openings at the George Mason Day Camp, at Inline skating camp and basketball camp. The average fee is $150 per week.
Music, singing and dancing are featured at the Lunch Bunch concerts each Wednesday at Market Square. There are also concerts at Waterfront Park on Monday, King Street Gardens on Tuesday and Ben Brenman Park on Wednesday and Fort Ward Park on Thursday. King Street Gardens will host dinner and concerts in August.
The city’s pools are also open. Old Town Pool is open daily from noon until 7 p.m. Children, seven years of age may swim on their own. The fee is $1 for ages seven to 17 and senior citizens over 60. The fee for all other people is $2. Warwick Pool is open Monday through Friday from noon until 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mini pools are located at Charles Houston, Colasanto Center, Ewalds Park and Nannie J. Lee for ages 12 and under are free and operate from Monday through Friday from noon until 6 p.m.
“It’s been an exciting and busy summer and we hope that everyone is having a good time in a park, on a trail, at a pool or in one of our centers,” said Sandra Whitmore, the department’s director.