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Parks classes help bring community together


January 22, 2013

Wood carvers

Marysville's community classes are not just about learning new skills, but also about being a part of your community, said Maryke Burgess, Marysville's recreation coordinator.

Burgess says one of the best things about the classes and the Ken Baxter Community Center, where many of the classes take place, is finding a community where it is easy to make friends.

“They're so dedicated and friendly,” she said, referring to those who regularly take classes at the center. “They lift each other up. They care about each other outside of just the topic that they're there to learn. If someone is not feeling well or someone's having a challenge in their life, they support each other, which is what I think gives this place a lot of heart.”

It is easy to connect with people when a class brings those with similar interests together, she said.

The center has had many classes that have been popular over the years, including the driftwood sculpture class. It involves taking a piece of driftwood, cleaning, oiling and finishing it.

“You don't need to be very artistic. You just learn the basic steps and eventually you see the art in it,” said Burgess.

Kettlebell fitness is another class that it is popular. It is a new exercise program that has been quickly growing, said Burgess. Kettlebells, which resemble iron weights with a handle at the end, help burn calories quickly. Burgess praised the instructor of the program. “She's really transformed people's lives in the sense that she inspires people to be consistent with their exercise, and keep coming back.”

“The kettlebell workout kind of speaks for itself with the results it’s been getting,” she continued.

The genealogical group has been among the successful classes they've run as well.

The free genealogy classes started out as a small group, but have increased to nearly six times the size now, said Burgess. “I'm proud of what they have accomplished. We have become one of the premiere groups in genealogy in the county,” she said.

Marysville Parks and Recreation offers many more types of classes. For kids there are classes in kung-fu, ballet and tap, bowling and cartooning. Adult classes include Zumba, belly dancing, kettlebell exercise, meditation, business classes, gourd carving/decorating and fused glass. There are low-impact exercise classes for seniors, like Zumba gold or yoga gentle.

The community center is looking for more instructors for this summer. The application process is pretty loose, as long as the class looks like it will attract some students, said Burgess.

“If it appears the public will be interested, we usually give it a try,” she said.

In recent years the need for 'saving money' and 'coupon clipping' classes has been rising; however, there are not a lot of people offering to teach those, said Burgess.

One-day workshops are also good to propose because they are convenient for people with limited free time, she said.

Those looking to join classes should not be intimidated, said Burgess. She encourages people to come to the center and to the classes if they are in search of more involvement with the community.

“A lot of people just assume that everybody knows each other and I would say that 70 percent of the people that started here didn't know anyone. They're a new transplant to this town that have come to live closer to their children, or they lost a spouse and now they don't have many people in their lives. So if you're alone or have been thinking about getting involved with something, I would encourage people to come in here,” she said.

For more information on Marysville's community classes go to


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