2016 Year in Review – By Sarah Barnett


“Five Hundred, Twenty-five
Thousand, six hundred
Five hundred, twenty-five
Thousand, moments so dear.
Five Hundred, Twenty-five
Thousand, six hundred
How do you measure,
Measure a year?
In daylights?
In sunsets?
In midnights?
In cups of coffee?
In inches?
In miles?
In laughter?
In strife?
In, five hundred, twenty-five
Thousand, six hundred minutes.
How do you measure, a year in a life?”

The lyrics from Rent’s “Seasons of Love” came to mind while I was thinking about the our “Year in Review” here at the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. As another year comes to an end, I can’t help but take the time to reflect on the great year we have had here at the MPCC (Manassas Park Community Center). Given the array of services that Parks and Recreation has to offer, how do we measure a year? Anyone can measure a year in sunsets, daylights, and cups of coffee. Here at Parks and Recreation, we can measure a year in a plethora of different units! Here are just a few:

1,968.5—Inches that the Junior Division swam in this year’s Youth Triathlon

21,359—Number of people through the gate at Signal Bay Water Park this summer

1,152—Programs offered through Recreation Services Division

1,011—Students enrolled in Swim Lessons

950—Number of new Manassas Park Community Center members

960—Total indoor rentals held at the Manassas Park Community Center

50—lifeguards hired to run Signal Bay Water Park during the summer

235,411—number of visitors to the Manassas Park Community Center

3.9—distance (in miles) of the Light Parade route

5,588 –hours of pool lane rentals

402,904—Webpage views

40—number of Preschoolers who graduated in June

These numbers are just some of the numbers that made this the best year we’ve had in a long time.  Here some of the highlights from the year:


The Community Center turned 6 years old in January.  As you may remember, we had record snowfall in the middle of the month, which caused us to be closed for 5 and ½ days.  As a result, we had to scramble to cancel or reschedule programs, basketball games, and swim meets. Between nightly Manassas Park Youth Basketball League’s practices, games, and several swim meets each Saturday, the Community Center was a busy place.


The Manassas Park Youth Basketball League continued their nightly practices and weekly games. Around Valentine’s Day, we had our annual Cookie Hearts event. Additionally, we released the first of our now QUARTERLY MOSAIC Program catalog which featured programs and events from February to May. Prior to this, our program guide was always released every 6 months. Now we release them every 3 months. This has shown to help increase participation and customer enthusiasm.


Since Easter was in the middle of the March, we had both our Annual St. Patrick’s Day Pool Treasure Hunt and our Easter Egg Hunts on back-to-back weekends. We also had a great turn out for our Annual Summer Job Fair. We conducted on-the-spot interviews for our various summer employment opportunities. Finally, we hosted the Regional SeaPerch Competition, where hundreds of local high school students build underwater robots and compete against each other through various underwater challenges.


In April we switched our internal computer software. This transition was MONTHS in the making and took a lot of leg work on our end.  We hope that our customers notice a new and easy way to register for our programs online.  Along with the launch of our new registration software, we also released our Summer MOSAIC, which was jammed-packed with summer camps and other activities to keep our customers engaged all summer long. During the early spring, we also released our Wedding Rental Packages so that more couples to celebrate their weddings in our beautiful banquet hall.  In April, several of us even set up a booth at the Wedding Experience’s Bridal Expo at the Dulles Convention Center.


The month started out with our Spring Yard Sale and our Mother’s Day Contest and Big Reveal.   Kyung Sook Kim was our First Annual Mother’s Day Contest winner. She received over $1,000 worth of free services and gifts from local businesses.  May also brought our Kite Festival which saw record attendance at 350 participants!  Finally, on May 28th, Signal Bay Waterpark opened for its 20th season of operation.


The beginning of the month was spent getting ready for summer camps.  Supplies were bought and employees were trained.  In addition to the summer camp preparations, we held our annual Father-Daughter Dance, and the waterpark opened full time on June 16th.  On June 18th, Signal Hill Park was the site of the IBEW Union Picnic for the 6th year in a row, which is one of our largest rentals!  Finally, towards the end of the month, summer camps began, and we started our final preparations for our annual July 4th Fireworks celebration.


In addition to weekly summer camps, we also held our Annual July 4th Firework’s at Signal Hill Park.  July 21st, also marked the 20th Birthday of Signal Hill Park and Signal Bay Waterpark. We celebrated by showing Space Jam, which hit theatres in July of 1996 (20 years ago!)


This month started out with the popular National Night Out event at Signal Hill Park organized by the Manassas Park Police Department. August also brought the conclusion to our summer programs. We also held our fourth annual Kids Triathlon with record number of participation with 45 kids! The waterpark reverted back to being open on weekends only on August 22nd.  We also had our annual Shutdown (cleaning) Week from August 21-24th.  The Community Center building was deep-cleaned the floors were stripped and waxed.


September began with the final weekend of operation at Signal Bay Waterpark followed by our Annual Dog Swim. Then begins the task of getting the waterpark ready for the harsh winter months. This includes draining the activity pool, moving pool furniture, shutting off water, and dosing the pool with special combination of chemicals. We also had our Fall Yard Sale in September. September also ushered in our new fall programs.


October was another busy month for Parks and Recreation. We started the month with our Arts and Crafts Festival on the 15th, Floating Gourd Night on the 21st, and our Fall Family Fun Night on the 22nd. Finally, the end of the month brought our annual Trunk-or-Treat event, in which hundreds of children trick-or-treated in the safety of our parking lot.


November brings the start of high school swim season, so pool lane space is at a premium. Additionally, the Manassas Park Youth Basketball League began its draft/team development process. Our Preschool program also puts on their annual Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner. Additionally, our Gymnasium and Banquet Hall was the site of the Bando Association National Event, in which diplomats from all the over the world were in attendance. Finally, the end of the month brought our annual Black Friday Dive-In Movie. This year’s movie was Finding Dory!


December may be one of the most jammed packed, busiest months for our Department. In addition to many holiday party type events, we also host many high school swim meets. The Manassas Park Youth Basketball League also started its nightly practices. On the special events calendar we had our Annual Light Parade and first Annual Tree Lighting. This was followed quickly by Dough Ornaments, Gingerbread Houses, Breakfast with Santa, and Santa Paws. It is so exciting to see so many of our customers getting into the holiday spirit.

We would like to thank everyone of our customers for their patronage over the last year.  It truly has been one of the best years in the history of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation.  We look forward to what 2017 will bring.

If you have any suggestions for ways to improve, services to add, or programs to launch, please do not hesitate to let us know! As we always say here at MPCC, “It’s a great day here at the Manassas Park Community Center”. Let’s make 2017 our best year yet!

Sarah Barnett is the Operations/Aquatics Manager for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at S.Barnett@manassasparkva.gov

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