Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sign up now for one of Rec & Ed's redesigned e-newsletters [Chance to win $50 credit!]

This January, Rec & Ed is launching three new monthly e-newsletters focused on programs for pre-K, K-12 and adults. Each e-newsletter will feature the information you need about programs, people, discounts and registration deadlines.
Sign up for one or more of the following e-newsletters by Jan. 4 and you'll be entered to win a $50 credit on your Rec & Ed account!

Here are the three distinct e-newsletters we'll offer:
First Steps to Learning for Pre-K Families
This early childhood-focused e-newsletter includes all the Pre-K activities and classes offered through Rec & Ed. Look for information about First Steps, preschool classes and camps, and Safety Town along with interesting activities and parenting ideas.

The Lightbulb - Bright Ideas for Non-School Hours
Focused on families with children in grades K-12, this e-newsletter will spotlight classes and camps, registration deadlines for youth sports, School Age Child Care highlights and special events.

Community Connections
Our new adult-focused e-newsletter will provide information about enrichment and recreation opportunities for adults, including traditional and new opportunities. This e-newsletter integrates programs from our Team Sports division and Lifelong Learning so everything you need is right at your fingertips.

Sign up for one or all three today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rec & Ed Annual Report highlights participation and scholarship numbers

How many registrations were there for Rec & Ed's programs in 2014-15? What were Rec & Ed's biggest challenges and successes of the past year? These questions and more were answered in the 2014-15 Annual Report presented to the Board of Education on Dec. 9. 

View the annual report presentation slideshow here: 

We were pleased to have press coverage of the report! Check out this article in the AAPS News and this article in MLive. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rec & Ed thanks Ann Arbor Fire Fighters for visiting Mitchell child care

Guest Blogger Angelita Jacobs, School Age Child Care Supervisor

Thanksgiving week is the perfect time to say "thanks" to Ann Arbor Fire Fighters for their visit to a Rec & Ed child care program during Fire Prevention Week. Earlier this month, Rec & Ed child care students at Mitchell Elementary enjoyed a visit from Station 4 of the Ann Arbor Fire Department. The station 4 firefighters were engaging and fun while delivering an important message for Fire Prevention Week

"The firefighters were very nice and polite"
- Savannah, age 8
History Lesson
First, fire fighters shared the history behind Fire Prevention Week. The week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which left thousands of people homeless, claimed many lives, burned thousands of acres and destroyed thousands of structures. Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed each year in early October. 

Fire Safety Tips
The students learned several safety tips, two of the most important being:

  • Families should have a working smoke detector in each bedroom and hallways outside bedrooms -- half of all home fires occur when people are asleep. 
  • Practice makes perfect. Students learned that having a safety plan that includes a meeting space is good, but families need to also practice the plan. 

Drew, age nine, commented, "[The firefighters] were awesome! They told us about fire drills and meeting points." The firefighter gear was impressive to Ja'Nyce, age seven. "They dressed up so we could see how they looked when they go to a fire," she said. 

The Fire Truck (of course)

Hands down, all the children echoed Ja'Nyce's sentiments, "My favorite part was when I got to sit in the firefighter's truck!"

The firefighters' visit was one of many special programs children in Rec & Ed's School Age Child Care program enjoy. Learn more about Rec & Ed Child Care here

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rec & Ed "Revels" in new youth bowling partnership

Young people in Ann Arbor have a new winter sports option starting in January, 2016. In partnership with the new Revel and Roll bowling facility (formerly Colonial Lanes), Rec & Ed will be offering a new youth bowling league for grades 1-5 and 6-9.  

Youth practice their new bowling skills at Rec & Ed's 
free bowling clinic on November 14. 

“We’re excited about this new partnership with Revel & Roll because it gives families something new to try and another opportunity to stay active this winter," said Elyse Bairley, Rec & Ed's Youth Team Sports Supervisor. "All skill levels and children in grades 1-9 are welcome to join this fun new league.”
(In background) A child receives instruction
on proper technique.

To introduce the new bowling facility and winter league, Rec & Ed hosted a free youth bowling clinic at Revel and Roll on Saturday, November 14. About 50 students attended and received two hours of free bowling instruction. 

Theresa Schneider, a 6th grade parent from Forsythe said, “It’s a great idea to introduce kids to bowling with some guidance, hoping it will improve both their enjoyment as well as their skills.”

Winter Rec & Ed Youth League Details
  • The youth bowling league will be divided into two groups: grades 1-5 and 6-9. 
  • The season runs on Saturdays from January 23 to March 26.
  • Each session will run from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The first 30 minutes will be bowling instruction followed by league play. 
  • Students will play 3 games per day. 
  • The registration fee covers ball and shoe rental and an end of season pizza party.
  • Go directly to registration here.

Expert Bowling Instruction

Rec & Ed is thrilled that Kurt Kaiser, the Director of Youth Bowling at Revel and Roll, will be providing bowling instruction. Kurt has 5 years experience coaching the Youth League at Colonial Lanes and 5 years experience coaching bowling at Skyline High School as a Bronze Level Instructor. 

“I take great pride in teaching kids who don’t know how to bowl and turning them into confident bowlers,” said Kurt. "Bowling is a lifelong sport and it starts with our youth.”

Questions about this exciting new youth bowling opportunity? Please contact Elyse Bairley at Or click here to register and reserve your spot today!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New for winter break: Lights, Camera, Action Video Camp

Guest Blogger Brady Peck, Rec & Ed Camp Specialist

As a teen at Camp CAEN on UM's North Campus, I learned how to shoot and edit videos using one of the first versions of iMovie. My fellow campers and I had a great time shooting "on location" at various North Campus locations. One scene was supposed to take place in the Lurrie Foundation; however, after we'd already gotten wet, we discovered that capturing audio in a fountain was too difficult. (Lesson learned!) In the end, we produced a 13 minute video featuring a father searching for his long lost son. 

Now, as Rec & Ed's Camp Specialist, I'm thrilled to offer a new state-of-the-art Lights, Camera, Action Video Camp in partnership with Ann Arbor's Community Television Network (CTN). Alysha Schlundt-Bodien, CTN's Training and Facility Coordinator, serves as Camp Director for this hands-on, real-world camp for 5th-8th graders. Offered as a 3 1/2 day camp over winter break, Lights, Camera Action is a superb opportunity for Ann Arbor teens who are eager to explore the world of television. 

Campers will experience a real television studio.  
"By using the principles of inquiry and project based learning, said Schlundt-Bodien, "The campers explore the science of color temperature and how sound is captured." Understanding these scientific principles helps campers create and deliver the end-of-the-week broadcast and connects STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) skills to future careers. 

Additional highlights for campers include:

  • Producing a program in an actual television studio
  • Using state-of-the-art technology while learning advanced special effects, editing and sound engineering
  • Experiencing the critical roles of producer, camera operator, on-camera "talent," engineers and assistants. 

Space is limited to 10 participants - sign up now!

The Lights, Camera, Action Video Camp takes place at CTN's studio on South Industrial Highway in Ann Arbor. A second camp is scheduled for spring break (April 4th-8th). 

For more information, please contact me (Brady Peck) at

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thanks to FITTEAM GLOBAL for their support

Rec & Ed welcomed new business sponsor FITTEAM Global to our Rick's Run for Kids 5K run/walk on Saturday, October 24. As a presenting-level sponsor, FITTEAM Global made the highest level contribution to Rec & Ed's Youth Scholarship Fund. Their $5,000 business sponsorship will allow 50 children to participate in a 6-8 week enrichment or recreational program over the next year. 

FITTEAM affiliates greeted RR4K participants at their booth.

As a company, FITTEAM is committed to improving lives globally by providing a vehicle to get "FIT" physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally and socially. FITTEAM's name is an acronym for Freedom, Inspiration, Transformation / Together Everyone Achieves More. 

The enthusiastic FITTEAM members at Rick's Run for Kids shared information about FITTEAM products at the booth and some also ran or walked in the event. 

Before the event FITTEAM members also promoted Rick's Run on a special Channel 7 TV spot!

Thanks again to FITTEAM global for their support for Rick's Run for Kids!

To learn more about FITTEAM Global, visit

Friday, October 9, 2015

Get your company's logo on the Rick's Run for Kids T-shirt

We're thrilled to have sponsorships and support for Rick's Run for Kids from 14 companies and organizations! You can still connect your business or organization to this worthy cause AND get your logo on the event T-shirt. The deadline for getting a logo on the T-shirt is October 12. Click here for details or contact Christine at  

Business sponsors enjoy many benefits, including logo placement on event materials, on social media, and in Rec & Ed's winter catalog. 

Huge thanks to the following sponsors for their support

Presenting Sponsor - $5,000

Platinum Sponsor - $1,000
Edwards & Schaefer Orthodontics
Chartwells K-12

Gold Sponsor - $500
University of Michigan School of Kinesiology
Ann Arbor Public Schools Physical Education and Health Department
Applied Fitness Solutions
Office Depot Max
Laborers Local 499 LECET

And many thanks to these supporting businesses and organizations

Karma Yoga
State Farm
Collins and Blaha, PC
Dick's Sporting Goods

All funding from business sponsorships and donations goes directly to Rec & Ed's youth scholarship fund. 

Every $100 raised funds a child's participation in a 6-8 week enrichment or recreational program. 

Find out more about business sponsorships and support here

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Meet Zac Brannock, School-Age Child Care Specialist

Welcome Wednesday - Zac Brannock
"What I love most about my job is the interaction I now have with the School Aged Child Care students in our 18 sites. This job has really given me the opportunity to interact with all SACC staff, students and families."  

Zac's home base is the Rec & Ed office at Pioneer, but
he spends many hours a week out at child care sites.
Rec & Ed's School-Age Child Care program scored a huge win last February when Zac Brannock became the Site Specialist. Zac joined the School Age Child Care staff as a Site Supervisor in 2013, working primarily at Bach Elementary. His focus on youth development and fun made him a hit with students and parents alike. 

In his new role, Zac is responsible for supporting staff and facility needs at all 18 of Rec & Ed's child care sites. "One area where he's already made a significant contribution is payroll," says Vickie Malcolm, SACC Manager. "He streamlined the process for our approximately 70 staff, making it more efficient for everyone."

Zac plays piano at Lakewood's after school child care.
Originally from Albany, New York, Zac has been a resident of the Mitten state since 2003. Nestled in the town of Tecumseh with his wife and two daughters, Zac loves the outdoors and any opportunity to go hiking, snowboarding (he was an instructor in NY), snowshoeing or camping with his family. 

If you see Zac at the Pioneer office or at a child care site, be sure to say hello! 

Welcome Wednesday features people who work or volunteer for Rec & Ed. Have a suggestion for someone to highlight? Email Chris Drago at

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TRIVIA TUESDAY: How many kids played Rec & Ed youth soccer last weekend?

If you were driving past Scarlett Middle School, Wines Elementary or any number of other fields this past weekend, chances are you saw dozens of children playing soccer as part of Rec & Ed's fall recreational soccer program. Parents and kids love our kid-friendly philosophy which means that there are no try outs or cuts, and every child plays in every game.

How many kids played Ann Arbor Rec & Ed soccer last weekend?

Poll Maker

Take a guess. The answer is below.

"Our youth soccer program focuses on building skills while having fun," comments Seth Dodson, Team Sports Manager. "It's also a great community-builder, with kids and parents getting to know each other. Many of our teams grow up together in the program." 

One of our many fall soccer teams! 

The answer is a staggering 2,020

And how many games did the 2,020 youth play? 83.

We're extremely proud to run a program that supports fun physical activity for over two thousand kids every weekend. Learn more about Rec & Ed's youth team sports programs here

Friday, September 25, 2015

Why Parents Love "Parent Talk"

Guest blogger Marj Hyde, First Steps Manager

I'm a parent and just have to say for the record that it's the most wonderful yet difficult job I have. When my daughter was a baby we struggled with colic for the first few months, then with asthma, and later with a strong will. I wished for a child with a guarantee of good health and happy feelings. And more sleep for us! Dream on. The challenges changed as she and her brother grew older and being their mom was/is wonderful but it never got easy.

Wouldn't you love some really effective support and strategies to make parenting easier? To connect with other parents under the guidance of an amazing instructor? Parent Talk is just the ticket.

First Steps, a division of Rec & Ed, has been offering a popular 6-week series called Parent Talk for several years. Here's what parents have told us:

"Such a great experience. Coming to class was fun and exciting. [It] was great to learn from Ann and peers in the group. I learned so many concrete skills to keep in my pocket - skills that have become commonplace in our family dialogue. Thank you so much!" 
--Parent of a 4 year old.

"The class was excellent and extremely informative. I learned strategies that I can use with my son on a daily basis." 
--Parent of a 1 year old

"This class exceeded my expectations. My favorite Parent Talk System principle was the one minute modifier - well, most of them actually. I recommend this class to everyone!" 
--Parent of a 3 year old.

Parent Talk System is a style of communicating with children that creates emotionally healthy family relationships. It is a skill-based program that teaches you a series of verbal skills and language patterns to help you raise responsible, respectful children while reducing stress and family conflict.

Instructor Ann Stalhandske, M.Ed. leads you through the 6 weeks using a variety of instructional methods including video vignettes. There is plenty of time for parental sharing of successes and lots of humor. By coming together and learning new ideas, you'll be amazed at how quickly you can make your home an even happier place.

So, if you're like me and have strong children with ideas of their own and you want to help them feel great about themselves, consider joining the Fall class with Ann. You won't regret it!
Parent Talk 
6:45 - 8:45 p.m.
Mondays, October 26 - December 7 (no class on Nov. 23)
W. Scott Westerman Preschool and Family Center, 2775 Boardwalk Dr Room D108
Fee: $89 and includes a workbook. $89 allows both parents/guardians to attend together. 

Easy registration HERE
Questions? Email

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Top 8 questions about after school classes answered

Help your child enjoy after school enrichment

Rec & Ed's after school classes are designed for your child to learn through fun. Your child can develop friendships and enjoy directed activities that support exploration and achievement. Our diverse selection of after school classes reflects our commitment to promoting well-being among children in our community. 

After School Science Fun with Ann Arbor Hands On Museum
We frequently hear the questions below, but if you have a different question, please do contact Ivy at 734-994-2300 x 53248.

Q1. When is the best time to enroll my child?
Enroll your child at least several days in advance of the start of the class to ensure that you have time to let your child’s teacher and the school know that your child is attending the class. If your child is enrolled in the child care program at your school, please inform the child care staff, too.

Save $10 by enrolling in after school classes before September 14 or 21, depending on the class start date. 

Q2. How do I find out more and sign up?

Q3.  Is financial help available?
Rec & Ed is proud to offer scholarships to residents of the Ann Arbor Public School District who meet specific very low HUD income guidelines. More information and application available at **Please allow two weeks for approval process.

Q4. How does my child’s teacher know that my child is attending an after school class?
Please send a note or email to your child's teacher explaining that your child is enrolled in a Rec & Ed after school program. Provide the class name, day of week and dates, so the teacher can remind your child to go to class. Also, it helps to inform your school secretary as well as child care staff, if your child is enrolled in that program.

Q5. How does my child get to the after school class?
When the bell rings, students walk to the classroom where the class is held. School staff are in the hallways ensuring that your child gets to the right room. The instructor will be standing outside the classroom door to welcome and check in the children.

Q6. What else can I do to support my child?
Be sure to remind your child that he/she has an after school class that day. Speak to the instructor about any special needs or ways to support your child. We also welcome your call at 734-994-2300; ask to speak to Sally or Ivy. 
At the end of the class, please come to the classroom to sign out your child and interact with the instructor
After School Flag Football with One on One Sports
Q7. Can my child walk home?
If a parent has provided a signed permission slip, older children (usually 3rd grade and older) may sign themselves out and walk home.

Q8. Who should I notify if my child has an appointment and cannot attend an after school class?
Call the Rec & Ed office @ 944-2300 ext. 0 to let us know. A supervisor will then let the instructor know that your child will not be at class that day. If you do not notify Rec & Ed, you will get a call from Rec & Ed staff asking the whereabouts of your child.

Other Questions?  Contact Ivy at Rec & Ed 734-994-2300 x 53248.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rick's Run for Kids Host Committee members share why this event is so special

The inaugural Rick's Run for Kids, held in November 2014, drew over 400 runners and walkers of all ages and raised $6,000 for Rec & Ed's youth scholarship program. 

To build on last year's success, Rec & Ed formed a volunteer Host Committee of community members, school district staff and Rick's family members to help support the 2015 Rick's Run for Kids

Host Committee Members
Jenna Bacolor - Executive Director of Community Education & Recreation 
Lisa Cope - AAPS Physical Education and Health Department Chair and Teacher
Christine Drago - Rec & Ed Business Sponsorship Coordinator 
Tom George - Professor, University of Michigan School of Kineseology  
Mary Jo Gray - Member, Recreation Advisory Commission
Angela Johnson - Member, Recreation Advisory Commission
Michael Johnson - AAPS Principal at Carpenter Elementary School
Katie Lewit - AAPS PE Teacher and Vice-President, Recreation Advisory Commission 
Glenn Nelson - Retired Trustee, AAPS Board of Education 
Sean Williams - Race Director and Rec & Ed Supervisor 

Honorary Members
Felicia Brabek - Washtenaw County Commissioner
Che Carter - Principal, Clague Middle School 
Julie Grand - Ann Arbor City Council member 
Michelle Hart - Rick's family member 
Laura Kokkales - Rick's family member 
Kathy Scarnecchia - Principal, Haisley Elementary School  
Dr. Jeanice K. Swift - Superintendent, Ann Arbor Public Schools
Ron Warhurst - Rick's family member

Host Committee members are busy approaching local business about becoming event sponsors and getting the word out about the event, to be held on October 24, 9:00 a.m., at Gallup Park. However, several were happy to take some time out to tell us why this event means so much to them. 

One of Rick's passions was kids' fitness and health. He was committed to getting as many students as possible to participate in recreational sports, whether they could afford it or not. Many times he used money out of his own pocket to help kids participate. Rick's Run will help to continue Rick's commitment to his "kids" through Rec and Ed Scholarships. I know Rick's spirit is with us as we plan this run to honor him.
                             -- Michelle Hart, AAPS staff person and Rick's longtime partner  

A lesson I learned from Rick: "The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones who hold the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care." Rick was one of those teachers who helped students journey through their school years. Rick was one of those friends who helped you through difficult times, taught you something worthwhile, and made you feel appreciated and special.  
         -- Lisa Cope, AAPS Physical Education and Health Dept. Chair and PE Teacher   

The inaugural Rick's Run in 2014 was an inspiring event. Hundreds of us joined together to support more opportunities for low income families while having a great time. It was just the right way to honor Rick Dekeon.
              -- Glenn Nelson, Former trustee, AAPS Board of Education

Tom George, Glenn Nelson and Mary Jo Gray 
Rick cared deeply about the health and well-being of young people, and his dedication to active living had a profound and lasting impact on many people in the Ann Arbor area.           
              -- Tom George, Professor, UM School of Kinesiology and former member of the Recreation Advisory Commission

I joined the Host Committee because I wanted to do something concrete that could positively affect children. Also, I ran in the race last year, and had a great time. I'd like people who run this year to feel the same, and would like the race to benefit even more people than last year. 
          --Mary Jo Gray, Member, Recreation Advisory Commission

Rick was a long-time friend and colleague of mine. We started our careers together as AAPS physical education teachers in the late 1980s.  As a friend of Rick's, a physical educator, and a member of the Recreation Advisory Committee, being involved in Rick's Run 4 Kids is a easy choice for me.  Rick's passion to provide opportunities for all youth to participate in physical activity was infectious; it is a pleasure to carry on Rick's work and honor his memory through this event!
        --Katie Lewit, RAC Vice-Chairperson and AAPS Physical Education Teacher

Rick was a loyal and dedicated friend to so many people.  He spent his career offering his students a variety of opportunities to become healthy, happy and confident through Physical Education.  I am honored to assist in this event which honors his legacy in Ann Arbor Public Schools.
         -- Kathy Scarnecchia, Principal at Haisley Elementary, Rick's colleague  
Sophia Scarnecchia, Kathy Scarnecchia, Michelle Hart
and Hyeo Park 
at Rick's Run for Kids 2014
We never stop thinking about Rick and his contributions made to the academic community but mostly for his fun loving spirit that he continued to share with us always.  He was nothing short of being genuine always sharing his smile with everyone! 
                     -- Laura Kokkales, Family member of Rick Dekeon

I first heard of Rick's Run during a Recreation Advisory Committee meeting. Though I never knew Rick personally I've heard many stories of his accomplishments and his passion for the betterment of youth through positive and enriching community programming. Sharing this passion, I joined the Rick's Run Host Committee to honor Rick's memory and continue the united effort to provide Rec & Ed programming to as many youth as possible. 
                    -- Angela Johnson, Member, Recreation Advisory Commission

The Host Committee hopes that you'll participate, donate, volunteer or sponsor Rick's Run for Kids! Click here for more information and to sign up. 

Please help us spread the word about this family-friendly event through your social media and other networks.