Recreation Is Not Just Fun, It’s a Career – by Heather Henry

Heather and her sister Stephanie help with the 2017 Bethiah Shuemaker Pickleball Tournament
Heather and her sister Stephanie help with the 2017 Bethiah Shuemaker Pickleball Tournament

With winter season kicking off here at the Manassas Park Community Center, I can’t help but think about how time flies by when you are having fun.

I’ve learned so much in the last few years working as the Athletics Assistant. When I was younger, I remember watching sports on TV and thinking to myself, how do leagues coordinate everything that goes on behind the scenes. Who makes the schedule? What kind of work goes into organizing it all? Who hires and takes care of managing camera crew, referees, emergency responders, etc.?

Although our league does not require all of these things, I have learned a many aspects about running athletic programs. Managing a league involves quite a list of tasks! Picture day, game schedules, practice schedules, drafts, coach selection, updating standings, and championship game schedules are just a handful of these tasks. I’ve also learned how to run programs, specifically the Manassas Park Youth Basketball Leagues Cheer program.

It gets a little overwhelming, but with the guidance of my supervisor, Mike Arrington, I’ve learned to make my job rewarding no matter how challenging it gets. Under his leadership, Mike has taught me the importance of teamwork and the need to be active in the community. I’ve participated in a number of community events such as the Northern Virginia Special Olympics hosted at Manassas Park City Schools, the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, and the Northern Virginia Metro Managers Meeting. Along with that, I’ve helped orchestrate the Athletic Division’s summer camps and have co-hosted our first annual Volunteer Appreciation Social here at the Community Center.

Some of you reading this may have even seen me at the front desk where I continue to develop my customer service skills. This year I’m learning about the ins and outs of a youth travel basketball league. This will be our second year participating! Just when I thought I couldn’t love my job anymore, it just keeps getting better.

As I reflect on the knowledge and experiences I’ve gained through the years, I can’t help but be appreciative of the opportunities that I’ve had here at Parks and Recreation. These opportunities have allowed me to continue improving both professionally and personally. With this new season starting, I’m inspired to set a few new goals and challenges for myself. I plan to work harder and smarter to obtain them and to continue to ask Mike questions so I can learn all that I can. I’ve enjoyed the last years working as the Athletics Assistant and I look forward to another season of growth, opportunity, and most of all, fun.

Heather Henry is the Athletics Assistant for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at (703) 335-8872 or via email at

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