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New programs springing up at Brookhaven Recreation Department

With the arrival of spring and summer, the Brookhaven Recreation Department is tending to its offerings, which will begin to sprout up in the next few of months.

Matt Shell, director, said registration is happening now for activities and sports that will be of interest to many different age groups.

“Our most popular activities are our sports programs such as cheer, tee-ball, dance and flag football. These activities have become community events over the years,” Shell said.

Involvement in the Recreation Department ensures that participants spend time with others also interested in the same activities. Shell said many friendships have been formed through sports and classes as students return year after year to join.

“The sports fields and competitive competitions become family gatherings where grandparents, aunts and uncles can come out and support these children,” he said.

As some of the new classes and activities return each and every year, the department tries to introduce new outlets. This year a new program, called “Tiny Tee-ball” is opening up for 3- and 4-year-olds this summer.

“We are always looking at expanding our line-up of programs,” Shell said. “ In the past year, we’ve added cooking classes, a softball/baseball instructor and a new martial arts teacher.  We are always trying to offer the public a new experience.”

The Recreation Department is more than just classes and activities. The office manages other recreational outlets around town.  Playgrounds and water spray parks are also refuges during the spring and summer for residents. Shell said the programs offered are popular starting with toddlers and all the way into retirement.

“The Recreation Department has different meanings to different people. We have activities for children as young as 3 and our programs can last a person an entire lifetime. These programs will keep you physically and mentally challenged,” Shell said.

The programs — numbering about 40 annually —  range from the competitive to the arts, dance and voice lessons. They also have senior citizens programs that are directed out of the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizen Center.

“Our Senior Center has an exciting array of programs from card games and computer classes to dancing,” he said.

In the past few years, significant upgrades have been made to all of the ball fields and the website has a new look. Shell said he encourages the public to look at the new website and get more information about everything the department offers the community. In the future, the Recreation Department plans to share new video tours of the four rental facilities, walking trails, and parks.

“The new webpage will be a great place to browse our programs list and to look at all the amenities our parks have to offer,” he said.

Below is a listing of the current classes and activities offered to residents:

• Summer gymnastics — one week session in June for ages 3 and up. Instructor is Lisa Pruden.

• Summer youth art — two day camps for girls and boys aged K5-6th grade. Beginning in July. Supply fee includes T-shirt. Instructor is Debbie Keene.

• Youth ballet workshop — one week session (Monday-Thursday) in July, 9-10:30 am for ages 3-6 and 10:30 a.m.-12 noon for ages 7-9. Instructor is Kathy Swalm.

• Summer cheer tumble — four week workshop on Mondays for age 4 and up in June. Instructor is Robin Smith.

• Spray parks — open May 1 at City Park, Bicentennial Park and Bethel Park from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Close Sept. 30.

• Boys boot camp — one week session in June. For boys ages 5-9. Instructor Lisa Pruden.

• Youth and adult clogging — once a week on Monday at 6 p.m. Ages 4 and up. Instructor is Robyn Breakfield.

• Martial arts class — Tuesdays and Thursdays for boys and girls aged 5 and up. Register by calling Steve Kincade at 601-835-2773.

• Voice lessons — ages 3 and up. Private or group lessons available. Instructor is Ashley Jackson.

• Acting lessons — ages 3 and up. Group lessons. Instructor Ashley Jackson.

• Piano lessons — ages 5 and up. 30-minute private lessons. Instructor Vidalia Sanders.

• Soccer camp — ages 3-14. June 18-22. Register online at challengersports.com

• Cooking classes — entering second-sixth grades. Two sessions in June. Instructor Karen Vinson.

• Science camp — one week session in June. K5-third grade from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and fourth-sixth grades from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Supply fee payable to instructor Blaine Myers.

• Summer dance — sessions are in June for ages 3 and up. Instructor is Laura McDaniel.

For more information about the Brookhaven Recreation Department call 601-833-3791 or visit www.brookhavenrecreation.com.

Story by JoAnna Sproles