The need to do something for recreation or fun is an essential part of our physical health and overall mental well-being. Recreational activities are often done for pure enjoyment. And the social connections we make through fun activities help to make us feel content. Here in July, we continue to salute our Parks and Recreation instructors who enhance our physical and mental state of mind. Dance, fitness, sports, and recreational activities like archery are offered at multiple community centers including Bond Park, Herb Young, the Senior Center, Middle Creek, the Hive, the Cary Arts Center and more. With enthusiasm, expertise, and passion for activities like Dance, Zumba, Shag, Tumbling, Yoga, Gymnastics, Basketball, and Archery, our experienced group of instructors are the quiet heroes who make it happen every day. Once we reopen Town facilities, our Parks and Rec instructors will continue to make the Cary community a better place to live, work, and play. Read on about a few of the passionate and indispensable Dance, Fitness, and Recreational Instructors we are celebrating this week.
This week, we’re focusing on Dance, Fitness, and Recreational instructors that have made a difference in Cary. Click through and get to know a bit about them!
Group Fitness (Zumba)
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: The wonderful staff and participants are my favorites, they always put a smile on my face.
Favorite teaching moment: The look on a new participant face when they get comfortable with the routine and start dancing like no one is watching.
Aside from your employment with the Town, what do you do for work or as a hobby: Outside teaching Zumba and taking care of my family of a husband and two boys, I like to run, hike, and ride bikes.
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: My favorite thing about Cary Parks and rec has to be the people we serve in our program. I look forward to seeing them every class and they are excited to see me.
Favorite teaching moment: I love the funny moments that sometimes just happen during a class. Before every class I ask a question of the students. On this day a student was well prepared for me. Me, “ Are you ready for this?” Student, “I was BORN ready!”
Aside from your employment with the Town, what do you do for work or as a hobby: I am an electronics technician for a major pharmaceutical company. Hobbies: Family time, Archery, mountain biking, golf and anything that takes my family to the beach.
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: I love being able to teach dance to all of the different kids that come in! I love the dance studio in the Arts Building. It is nice to be part of such a great community.
Favorite teaching moment: When the students asked if they could choreograph their own dance. I loved that they wanted to put in their own creative moments into a dance and were so excited about it!
Aside from your employment with the Town, what do you do for work or as a hobby: I am an Event Coordinator for Epic Games (yes the one that makes Fortnite) J As a hobby I still take dance lessons and figure skating lessons. I enjoy spending time with friends and hanging out with my roommate’s dog and cat.
How did you become involved with the Town? I actually grew up in Cary and went to Green Hope high school. After I graduated from UNC Pembroke I missed dancing, I was on dance team at Pembroke and was Co- Captain my Junior year and Captain my Senior year! I saw a job posting for a dance instructor and applied. However, at the time I was working at Sk8 Cary so couldn’t have two jobs with the Town. I quit Sk8 Cary not too long after and Rachel gave me a call and I started teaching!
Group Fitness (Zumba, Zumba Kids/Jr., Strong by Zumba, Preschool Tumbling, Start Smart Sports
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: The people - from the class participates to the staff at the community centers.
Favorite teaching moment: I was leading an all-age Zumba class at the Downtown Park and adults and children were enjoying themselves and dancing like no one was watching.
Work & hobbies:
I enjoy dancing, cooking, and hanging out with my family.
How did you become involved with the Town? I started filling in for another instructor with a different program several years ago and really enjoyed teaching with the Town. I became a licensed Zumba instructor and started teaching classes at Bond Park Community Center in the fall of 2016.
Why do you think our classes and programs are so popular among our residents and non-residents?
I believe the variety of programs and classes that are offered at such a reasonable price makes them popular to residents and non-residents. Also, with classes and programs being a few weeks long, it's easier to commit to a new class. Being a Cary resident for over 14 years, my kids have been enrolled in lots of different classes, sports leagues, and programs through Town of Cary Parks and Rec.
Dance, gymnastics, fitness, yoga, art, etiquette, birthday parties and more!
Facebook: Stacy Smith Fitness & Yoga Unlimited NC
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: The flexibility in programming and the staff support
Favorite teaching moment: I have so many! The hugs from the kids, the end of session parent showcases, the participants, I just love them!
Work & hobbies: I teach at a few local studios and I run a Yoga Teacher Training School, called Yoga Unlimited Yoga Teacher Training. We certify people to teach yoga on and off the mat. Outside of fitness, I love to spend time with my family, travel, cook, paint and love the beach!
How did you become involved with the Town? I signed my children up for Tae Kwon Do, we lived in Jamison Park, which is right next to Middle Creek Community Center and noticed that there was an empty room. So, I approached the supervisor at the time and asked if I could teach classes while my girls were in Tae Kwon Do in the other empty room. My programs grew from there!
What do you like about working with the Town of Cary? The staff are super supportive, friendly and professional.
Describe a favorite teaching moment you’ve had with a class participant or participants. I love it when one of my children has an “aha” moment, or one of my adult students say that they have seen improvement or weight loss or more confidence, or when one of my students tell me they want to be a dance teacher too when they grow up. My goal has always been to serve others and empower people, make them feel good about who they are.
Do you have a favorite Cary landmark, park, or greenway? Middle Creek Community Center is my home. The staff is warm and friendly, they know people by their name and they make you feel like you are a part of a special community, because you are.
What is it that makes that one so special to you? The staff at Middle Creek Community Center really go out of their way, to make everyone who walks through those doors feel welcomed. The facility is off the beaten path and serves a limited Cary community and a big non-Cary community, and does a fabulous job making you feel welcomed and special.
What do you think makes Cary great? Cary is community based, they listen to the needs of the residents and non residents and does a great job providing programs to meet those needs.
Why do you think our classes and programs are so popular among our residents and non-residents? The staff, the creativity and the commitment to the programs.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experiences in Cary? I really have enjoyed working for the Town of Cary, my children have enjoyed taking various classes here and Cary is a great place to raise a family!
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: My favorite thing about Cary Parks and Rec is that Cary residents have the opportunity to participate and learn this great Southern dance called the Shag.
Favorite teaching moment: My favorite teaching moment happens when a gentleman walks in that really does not want to be there but is participating because of a significant other. Once I get him started, he sees how easy it is and how much fun he is having.
Work & hobbies: I spent 40 years with the Power Co. (CP&L, Progress Energy, Duke Power). I retired in August 2014. I now play golf and teach whoever wants to learn how to Shag.
Favorite thing about Cary Parks & Rec: The people and the children I get to help from all different ages, ability levels, cultures, and backgrounds.
Favorite teaching moment: When the child’s eyes light up with excitement after realizing they have improved their basketball skills.
Work & hobby: I am a self-employed National Marketing Director for my company, Juice Plus. In addition to that, I am an assistant coach on my daughter’s high school basketball team, and I coach AAU teams as well.