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For Family Fitness Try Body Pump

Whether you're a weight training rookie or a seasoned athlete, practically everyone can benefit from Body Pump. With choreographed, barbell routines to popular music, Les Mills Body Pump gives you all the benefits of weight lifting in a fun, group setting. For the Lewallen sisters, it's also an opportunity to stay connected with family.

"Wednesday is family night," said 22-year-old Sarah Lewallen of Burke. That's the night she, her twin sister, Ashley, their mother, Colleen Regan, and their aunt, Mary Maver meet at Audrey Moore RECenter for their weekly Body Pump class. "It's on the way home from work, and Audrey Moore is centrally located for everyone." Their cousin, Maggie, also joins them for class when she's home from college.

"The instructors are awesome," said Regan, who was the first to enroll in Body Pump. She encouraged the others to join her, and it quickly became a family tradition. "The music is constantly moving and the class is fun, not like drudge work, and an hour goes by in a heartbeat," Sarah said. Ashley agreed. "It keeps you in shape, and we motivate each other by making it a friendly competition. After one year, I feel much stronger and better. The biggest factor is that we get to spend time together and workout." Another motivation to show up is the promise of dinner after class at one of their houses. "If you don't go to Body Pump, no dinner," Regan joked.

Body Pump was developed under the supervision of physicians, physiologists and physical therapists with a goal of giving participants a safe, total-body workout that tones and builds muscle, burns fat and improves overall wellness. The level of challenge is up to each student because he or she controls how much weight to put on the bar.

Colleen Regan, Sarah Lewallen"I love it," said the Lewallen sisters' aunt Mary Maver. "I always get a great workout and I wouldn't lift weights if it weren't for this class." Regan agreed.

"It's important for females to lift weights instead of just running to prevent osteoporosis," and they find that working out together makes them more accountable because they know their family is counting on them to be in class.

They're not the only ones enjoying family fitness time at Body Pump class. Next to their group, a father and his middle-schoolage son seem to enjoy sharing fitness time together, and in the middle of the class, a husband and wife encourage each other throughout the routines.

These families know that by working out together, they're getting more than just the heartpumping, calorie-burning benefits of exercise. They're helping each other reach a common goal and creating family bonding memories that will last a lifetime.

Set Sail for the Nautical Cove

Set Sail for the Nautical Cove!

Children ages 2 to 5 will delight in Lee District Park's newest playground, the Nautical Cove.

The latest addition to Chessie's BIG Backyard features a fully accessible pirate boat, sea animals and a working lighthouse, all of which complement the park's other Chesapeake Bay-themed attractions; the Tiki Village playground for ages 5 to12, Our Special Harbor spray ground and an accessible tree house for all ages. The Nautical Cove also features a colorful, soft surface to help ensure safety for toddlers at play, and it will eventually feature a shade covering to make all-day use comfortable and to help protect young children from the sun. The playgrounds are open year round. Our Special Harbor spray ground opens in May. General admission is free. Spray ground admission for groups of 12 or more is $3.00 per person.

Chessie's BIG Backyard is being constructed in phases as funding becomes available through a publicprivate partnership between the Fairfax County Park Authority and generous private and corporate contributions through the Fairfax County Park Foundation.

Young Scientists "Dig" Archaeology Camp

Young Scientists Dig Archaeology Camp

Who knows what treasures lie buried beneath the ground in Fairfax County?

Archaeologists have uncovered artifacts dating back thousands of years, and one of the Park Authority's newest camps gives kids age 8-14 a chance to try their hand at the scientific discovery! In Dig It: Archaeology Adventures, campers discover treasures and learn how our ancestors live. They even get to spend time on an active Fairfax County site working alongside archaeologists and learning from the experts. The camp was first offered last year, and it was an experience to remember. "My son had a great time at this camp. He especially liked the dig they did on-site and meeting a real archaeologist," wrote one parent in a post-camp survey. "My two children had a great time! They really enjoyed the hands-on, digging and discovering," wrote another parent.

The camp will be offered again this year at Huntley Meadows Park and at Riverbend Park. For registration information, and to discover more camp offerings, visit the Camps section of Parktakes Online.

Celebrate Spring on the Farm Celebrate Spring on the Farm

Celebrate Spring on the Farm

Mark your calendar for Spring Farm Day May 10 at Frying Pan Farm Park. Create a great family memory celebrating Fairfax County's rich farming heritage on this 1930s-era working farm. Watch sheep shearing and antique farm equipment demonstrations. Try your hand at milking a cow or a goat. Meet the baby farm animals. Make crafts, play games and watch a puppet show. Register by May 9 and save $1.00 per person. Children younger than 2 admitted free. Carousel and wagon rides are also available for an additional fee.

Golf – A Family Tradition

Golf – A Family Tradition


Stop by Burke Lake Golf Course, and there's a good chance you'll cross paths with the Davis brothers: Todd, 12; Eric, 10; and Trey, 8. Each has a passion for the game their grandpa first taught them, and the course's Junior Golf program helps keep them linked to their family tradition. "The first one got clubs when he was 5 and then passed them down to his brother when the time came," said the boys' father, Mark Davis. Those clubs have long since gone, but play continues for the Davis brothers thanks in part to Junior Golf. "I've seen improvement in their confidence and skill level. They learn the technical aspects of the game a little better, they listen better and we play as a family," Davis said.

The Junior Golf program is tailored for students ages 8 to 17 and is offered at all Park Authority golf courses. Annual membership is $20, which entitles members to discounted greens, range and tournament fees and access to free golf clinics at all Park Authority golf courses. The clinics are taught by USGA and PGA golf professionals and cover all aspects of the game. "We start out with rules and etiquette, followed by putting and chipping, short-iron play and long-iron play," said Nea Treynor, Burke Lake Golf Course assistant manager. The final round of golf instruction involves every young golfer's favorite club: the driver. "They love to smack those balls on the driving range," Treynor said with a grin.

For high-school-age students like James Carter and Hanora Lincoln, the Junior Golf program is a means to an end. "I wanted to make the golf team at Lake Braddock High School and thought this was a good way to get ahead and do better," Carter said. "The best thing about the program is being able to hit a lot of balls and get in a lot of good practice."

Lincoln, who also attends Lake Braddock, had the same golf-team goal in mind for herself when she became a Junior Golf member. She got what golf enthusiasts call "the bug" when she was 12. "My whole family golfs," she said. "They're competitive, too. Sometimes I hit better than some of them, and I can tell they don't like it," she said with an accomplished smile. "The free clinics work on things that need to be worked on."

Golf – A Family TraditionLincoln's mother, Pam, says the benefits of the Junior Golf program extend well beyond instruction. "It's very family-friendly, there are reduced rates at certain times for the whole family to play, plus it's a sport she can play for life," she said.

To register for the Junior Golf program, stop by any Fairfax County Park Authority golf course or contact Lennea Treynor at 703-323-1641. In addition to children's golf programs, adult classes and private lessons are offered at many of the courses.

Step into Jahee Oh's Paint in Oil or Acrylic class, and you instantly become captivated by her creative energy. "Feel the gesture from the picture," she said enthusiastically while explaining how to capture the emotion of a photograph in an oil painting during a class at Spring Hill RECenter. Quick brush strokes convey the fast pace or movement of a city scene, she explained, and color scheme, texture tools and composition are also important.

"It's amazing what comes out of this class," longtime student Susan Berkey said. "We sometimes average one small painting per week with everyone addressing the same subject. It's fascinating how many different interpretations of a subject there can be."

Oh has a passion for tapping into her students' creative talents and sharing their artistic interpretations with others. Whether they're beginners or advanced in their skills, the 20-year veteran fine arts instructor has a knack for putting everyone at ease. At the end of one recent session, she showcased her students' best works in an art show at the Fairfax County Government Center. Roland Stephenson, whose portrait of Abraham Lincoln was featured in the show, is amazed at the way his skill level has expanded over time.

"To be able to depict a human face is probably the most difficult thing you can do in the art world," the Annandale retiree said. "Once you accomplish that, things like landscapes are easy." Student Carol Widmayer admits she was intimidated when she first enrolled in a Park Authority painting class 10 years ago. "I took a beginning class to learn the basics and the mediums like watercolor, acrylic and oil," she said. These days she works in oils and enjoys the opportunity for creative expression and learning from others. Berkey agrees. "The group is good. Communication is good, and we always follow up and discuss each session by discussing everyone's work. By doing that, one can expand and learn to do other things."

Stephenson says he has found inspiration in his classmates' experiences, too. "One thing that comes along with this class is you meet some very interesting people," he said. "In this class, there's a lady from Iran, and from her we learned something interesting about Middle Eastern music." He says he also met a famous astronomer in a Park Authority pastel class and was fascinated by his life's work.

Whether your interest is creative expression or connecting with culture, Park Authority art classes are sure to help you see practically everything from a new perspective.

Oh will be teaching at Providence RECenter this spring. The Park Authority offers a broad range of art classes. Find one that matches your creative interest in the Fine Arts section of Parktakes Online.

For Year-Round Recreation, Take a Hike!

Hiking is a form of exercise that anyone can take up at any age, and Fairfax County is well-known for its picturesque and diverse system of trails. Now, there’s an online tool to help you map your route! Fairfax Trail Buddy helps you navigate the county’s 900 miles of trails, bikeways and sidewalks for nonmotorized transportation, including a smart phone app that enables you to take Trail Buddy with you on a hike. Connect with Trail Buddy today and start mapping your hike along one of the best trail systems in the country!

Figure Skater

Celebrate National Skating Month!

Warm up your winter and celebrate National Skating Month with discounted public session skate passes at Mount Vernon RECenter in Alexandria. Purchase a skate book from now through Feb. 14 and save 15 percent. Passes can be purchased at Mt. Vernon RECenter or online. The RECenter also offers skating programs, classes, lessons, ice hockey and more. To learn more about skating and ice hockey programs, turn to the Ice Skating section of Parktakes.

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