Seattle Parks and Recreation aquatics programs

Stay warm and fit this winter at one of our indoor pools!

Stay warm and fit this winter at one of our indoor pools!

Doggy paddle, breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke. We think it’s important to master one or two of these when you live in a city nearly surrounded by water. Our swimming pools offer swimming lessons, public swims and special events year-round, and best of all, they’re indoors. [Read more…]

Seattle Parks and Recreation winter programs

Register for winter programs today!

Register for winter programs today!

A new year is for new beginnings. Registration for our winter programs and classes is underway, and we have more than 50 new offerings this season. Find a class that’s right for you and start 2016 off right.

Draw and Paint Art Studio: The Draw and Paint Studio class located in the Alki Bathhouse will teach students various techniques for both drawing and painting. Students will acquire the skills to capture light, atmosphere and mood by working with water-based paints from their own drawings and photographs. The classes are intended for people 18 and older. The first session of classes runs Jan. 12-Feb. 16 on Tuesday evenings with a second session running March 1-April 5. Registration for each session is $120.

Innovation Club: Adventures in Coding 101: Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a programmer? Join Rainier Community Center for scratch programming and get your feet wet in the world of coding with projects like interactive stories or even games! The classes are intended for grades 1-3. The first session of classes runs Jan. 6-Feb. 17 on Wednesday evenings with a second session running Feb. 24-March 30. Registration runs from $90-105. [Read more…]

KIDS ‘N’ KEYBOARDS group piano program teaches songs, rhythm and technique

Kids 'n' Keyboards participants

Kids ‘n’ Keyboards participants

Pianist Paul Sklar has made a career of playing for professional dancers and theater audiences. And on Friday afternoons, Paul can be found at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center playing with a much smaller crowd.

Kids 'n' Keyboards participant

Kids ‘n’ Keyboards participant

Paul teaches Kids ‘n’ Keyboards at Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center for children ages 5-11 every quarter. The classes teach note reading, ensemble playing, technique and solo piano. For beginners, special notation is used for playing fun songs, as the students gradually learn more music skills. For younger students, Paul incorporates musical activities and stories. The affordable group program works to achieve all the same results as private, individual lessons. Additionally, when the students play together, the timing and musical interaction really improves.

“When a group of children come together, the good chemistry really helps them learn from each other,” Paul said. [Read more…]

Seattle Parks and Recreation planning for the future of community centers

Seattle Parks and Recreation is developing a Community Center Strategic Plan. The department is creating a vision for the future of community centers and considering options for future staffing and programs. Seattle Parks is seeking public input to inform the plan. There will be a community meeting on June 20 to explore the following questions:

  • What community center programs and services do you value most and why?
  • How can Seattle Parks and Recreation improve our programs and services?
  • What are the barriers to using community centers?

[Read more…]

Find New Year’s resolution success; try a new Seattle Parks program

As December begins to slip away, Dance04-X2many of us start to plan for the year ahead. What changes will we make in 2015 to get a little bit closer to finding happiness and how will we stay on track?

When talking New Year’s resolutions strategies for success, common tips include employing the buddy system and scheduling time for your resolution. We suggest finding a resolution that is incorporated into one of our new winter programs. We’ll provide the buddies and the structured time, you just need to show up!

Registration for winter Seattle Parks and Recreation programs and classes has begun and we’ve added more than 60 new activities to the mix. Take a look at our new winter offerings and find something that’s in line with your 2015 goals. Resolutions can be fun. We promise.

Learn a new skillpottery 2
-Teen and adult photography workshops, ages 13+, Northgate Community Center
-Jujitsu (martial art developed from ancient Japan), ages 15+, Queen Anne Community Center
-Daytime pottery, ages 18+, Ballard Community Center
-Art sampler classes for adults, 18+, Green Lake Community Center
-Kids carpentry, ages 5-10, Magnolia Community Center
-After-school theater group, ages 7-10, Delridge Community Center
-Self -defense, ages 55+, Alki Community Center

Get fit
-Boys volleyball league, ages 10-17, Citywide Athletics
-Nia fitness (a no-impact cardio workout that combines martial arts, dance and yoga), ages 15+, Laurelhurst Community Center
-MixxedFit (fitness program that mixes dance training and bootcamp-inspired toning), ages 16+, Loyal Heights Community Center
-Basketball for Little Hoopers, ages 3-5, Yesler Community Center
-Pilates mat class, ages 18+, Magnolia Community Center
-Adult aerobics with optional childcare, ages 18+, Alki Community Center

Spend more time with the kidspottery
-Parent and child SNAG golf (SNAG aka starting new at golf, is all about having fun while learning the basics of the sport), ages 3-5, Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center
-Indoor playground with specialized toys for children with special needs, Montlake Community Center
-Parent and child pottery class, ages 3-5, Montlake Community Center
-Bedtime stories, all ages, Ballard Community Center
-Mix it up! Parent/tot art class, ages 2-3, Delridge Community Center

Reduce stress
-Yoga, ages 16+, Meadowbrook Community Center
Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (vocally guided movement class aimed at reducing tensions), ages 55+, Meadowbrook Community Center
-Tai Chi – Yang Style (slow, soft, circular movements to harmonize body and mind), ages 55+, Green Lake Community Center

See something you like? Sign up now! Registration information and details can be found in our community center brochures here. Sign up for a program here.


Recreation leader takes teen programs to a new level

College Night 3.4.2014

Recreation leader, John Hasslinger, surrounded by teens at College Night.


John Hasslinger started working for Seattle Parks and Recreation six years ago as a teen development leader and has been extremely successful in increasing youth participation.

“Wherever he goes teen programs explode,” Community Center Coordinator Carl Bergquist said.

When Hasslinger worked at Bitter Lake, Bergquist said he had 30-40 kids actively involved in programs and events. At Hiawatha he took a program attended by virtually no youth and transformed it into a program attended by “dozens if not hundreds.” He has supervised as many as 12 youth employees at once, actively engaging them in a broad range of activities.

“John makes sure to get youth out of their neighborhoods and meeting other youth,” Bergquist said. “I could go on for days about the amazing stuff he does.”

Hasslinger has served 12 community and teen life centers and currently is the recreation leader at Hiawatha. He said he is proud of his staff’s cooperative spirit and their work to make the community center a hub of teen opportunities.

“There’s such a large number of youth who leave school at 2:30 and have idle hours,” Hasslinger said. “This can lead them into trouble or it can lead them to a place where they can make friends, find mentors, develop useful work skills, seek homework help, recreate without safety concerns and feel a sense of belonging to a group. Hiawatha is that place for many.”

Hasslinger said he feels fortunate to have spent several years in West Seattle building lasting relationships with youths, developing more consistency in teen programming and bringing unique outside opportunities into the neighborhood.

With the support of Southeast Late Night staff, Hasslinger has helped 10 West Seattle youths participate in daily work-shadowing at the community center through the Youth Career Training Program. This month, each of those 10 students will have served 120 hours and completed 12 weekly training sessions to develop life and work skills.

“Partnering with fellow Seattle Parks staff to deliver such programs is super rewarding and a good reminder how much our youth benefit from our community center teamwork,” Hasslinger said.

Before joining the department, Hasslinger taught English in public schools in Japan and served as a Professional Golfers’ Association instructor and head golf professional.

Seattle Parks and Recreation rewrites the story of memory loss

Dementia 2

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 68 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s estimated that by 2050 someone will be diagnosed every 33 seconds. It’s hard to change the statistics regarding memory loss, but Seattle Parks and Recreation is trying to change the memory loss story.

“We are part of the movement to transform what it means to be living with dementia,” Recreation Specialist Mari Becker said. “We’re telling a new story, not a story of fear, but a story of hope.”

Last year Seattle Parks began walks for persons with memory loss and watercolor classes, and this spring the department will work with community partners to offer a variety of dementia-friendly programs across the city.

Becker said the participants in the pilot activities appreciated the social aspect of the programs. “Living with memory loss doesn’t have to mean staying at home, feeling isolated,” she said. “It’s important for people to be active, connect with other people and feel like they’re still able to contribute to society.”

This month, Seattle Parks hosted dementia expert Teepa Snow and the home healthcare business CareForce at Jefferson Community Center to teach staff and community members the skills needed to work with persons with memory loss.

“Someone came up to me and said ‘Seattle Parks and Recreation and dementia? That’s an interesting combination,’” CareForce owner Sam Miller said. “I love that comment because it gives Seattle an opportunity to shine. We’re giving everybody in the community an opportunity to interact with people with dementia.”

Dementia expert Teepa Snow teaches Seattle Parks and Recreation staff about the signs of dementia.

Dementia expert Teepa Snow teaches Seattle Parks and Recreation staff about the signs of dementia.

Snow said the reason dementia is becoming such an issue is because the baby boomers are reaching their mid-60s and the number of people exhibiting signs of memory loss is growing rapidly. She said that 10 percent of people age 65 have some sort of dementia brewing.

Snow said it’s easy to want to correct people suffering from memory loss or, as a caretaker, to become overwhelmed or frustrated. “The goal of a conversation with somebody is not to be right, but to allow yourself to establish a relationship,” she said.

Becker agreed and wants Seattle Parks to help lead that positive narrative. She pushed for a task force to be created in 2013 to explore what successful programming for people with memory loss could look like. She is preparing for a full launch of Dementia-Friendly Recreation in 2015.

“It’s so great that we’re all learning how to better communicate with persons with dementia and how to keep them better engaged in life,” Becker said.

For a listing of upcoming 2014 memory loss programs, click here and select the winter brochure. If you’d like to volunteer for the programs, call Mari Becker at 206-684-4664.

Parks and Recreation cancels programs, closes some facilities

Seattle Parks and Recreation has taken these weather-related actions:

• All community center programs scheduled after 6 p.m. are canceled.

• All pool programs are canceled.

• Pools and community centers will be open for drop-in use until their regularly scheduled closing times: and

• All athletic fields are closed.

• All evening recreation programs are canceled.

• Parks and Recreation’s middle-school learning centers are closed.

• Late night programs will not take place tonight.

• Golf courses are closed but not open for sledding because there is not enough snow.

• School age care camps are in session today at these locations:
o Jefferson Community Center
o Rainier Community Center

o Rainier Beach Community Center
o Van Asselt Community Center
o Delridge Community Center
o Hiawatha Community Center
o Hiawatha program at Schmitz Park Elementary School
o Hiawatha program at West Seattle High School
o High Point Community Center
o South Park Community Center
o Magnolia Community Center
o Queen Anne Community Center
o Garfield Community Center
o Montlake Community Center program at McGilvra Elementary School
o Yesler Community Center
o Ballard Community Center
o Bitter Lake Community Center
o Meadowbrook Community Center
o Meadowbrook program at John Rogers Elementary School
o Northgate Community Center
o Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center program at Wedgwood Elementary School

Seattle Park Board to Hold Regular Meeting on June 24

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners will hold its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24, in the Park Board Room at the Parks Administration Building at 100 Dexter Ave. N (the corner of Denny and Dexter in Denny Park). 

The agenda includes:

Parks and Recreation 2010 operating budget.

Parks staff will brief the Board on the recent mid-year 2010 reductions to the Parks and Recreation operating budget, announced by Mayor Mike McGinn on Monday, June 14. 

Budget impacts on summer park maintenance.

Parks staff will brief the board on the impacts of mid-year 2010 budget reductions, which include keeping three positions open in each of eight districts, for a total of 24 positions. There will be impacts on Parks’ ability, for example, to collect litter and garbage, pick up recycled material in parks, maintain play areas, take care of the turf, maintain plant and flower beds, clean comfort stations (outdoor restrooms), and provide support for special events and volunteer projects. 

Center City Task Force.

Parks staff and members of the Center City Task Force will brief the Board on its recent reactivation and new recommendations. Originally created in 2006 by then-Mayor Greg Nickels, the Task Force’s original charge was to advocate for the parks, implement strategies for park improvements, and guide the expenditure of funds proposed in upcoming capital and operating budgets for the upcoming support of center city parks. The City has carried out many of the recommendations, including the funding of park rangers, active programming in the parks, physical improvements, and better coordination with police.

The newly constituted Task Force has been meeting since 2009, and has made new recommendations. Among them are the creation of an “Umbrella Coalition” to advocate for downtown parks and the possible creation later of a nonprofit organization to empower neighborhood groups, reach out to underserved populations, raise funds, create programming, and other tasks related to improving and enlivening downtown parks. 

Parks and Recreation summer programs.

Parks staff will brief the board on the broad array of recreation programs Parks and Recreation offers this summer. 

A briefing paper on the work of the Center City Task Force will be available on the web at on Friday, June 18. 

The Board of Park Commissioners is a seven-member citizen board created by the City Charter. Three members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council; three members are appointed by the City Council; and one member is appointed by the Park Board. The Board meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month to advise the

Parks and Recreation Superintendent, the Mayor, and the City Council on parks and recreation matters. For more information, please contact Sandy Brooks at 206-684-5066 or