Manager's Message: Plenty of fun this fall

Marana Parks and Recreation Director Jim Conroy provided this Manager’s Message to the Marana News/Explorer News highlighting the diverse fall programming offerings from Marana Parks and Recreation.

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August is an exciting time for the Marana Parks and Recreation Department. August means the start of our fall programming slate, and we are thrilled to present an exciting array of experiences that will appeal to all audiences. We have made a commitment to add new programs while maintaining the quality of our existing programs, and we feel we have done just that. 

Our goal is to offer a wide variety of programs that meet many interests. From our youngest to our oldest residents, there is something to try. Whether you are a fitness fanatic, or want to challenge your brain, we have something for you. Like art? Like sports? Like to learn? We have programs for everyone and nearly every interest. 

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Our Pickleball league was so popular last year, that we added Pickleball Open Gym over the summer. Now, we are looking to promote this popular sport to new players by offering Pickleball lessons. This is a perfect way for beginners to learn a new skill while staying active and having fun. 

Our semi-annual Cornhole Tournament has also proven to be so popular that we created a weekly Cornhole League. We are partnering with Home Plate Marana Restaurant, where residents can enjoy a bite to eat before, during, and after the game. 

In addition to Pickleball, we will also continue our basketball open gyms.

Flag football for kids.

Flag football for kids.

There are plenty of sports for the kids. Flag football, pee wee soccer, tennis lessons and golf lessons all return, as well as the Itty Bitt Open and our Mini Me: Tot Sports Day. Youth and teens can fill their fall break with exciting offerings. We have a new Cheer Camp, a New Teen Leader Horse Camp, volleyball and basketball clinics and more.

Many fun summer memories were made at the Marana Pool, and this Fall the pool is scheduled to be drained and cleaned. Our 80’s Doggy Paddle Pool Party invites area pooches take a final swim in the pool before it is drained. Animal Services will also be on hand offering inexpensive microchips for local dogs. 

Outdoor recreation is a staple of life in Marana, and we have a wide variety of outdoor activities. New this year will be our Guided Birding Tours at the El Rio Preserve, as well as the Full Moon Wander where people can join a Pima County naturalist to walk the loop trail at El Rio Preserve as the full moon rises. Nature reveals another side in the night hours, and there is always something to discover!

Our monthly guided hikes and guided horseback rides continue, but this December we are adding the Hike for Hops, where hikers can meet up at the Dove Mountain Brewery for lunch and a beer after traversing the trails. T-shirt, meal and frosty beverage are included in the event registration fee. 

Want to go outside, but don’t necessarily want to take to the trails? Our Nature to You: Youth Garden Classes are great ways to get kids to learn more about nature. Our tree trimming class will help Marana homeowners better care for their yards. 

Our already robust list of fitness classes is getting larger. Our martial arts instructor Steve Berry recently received an honor from Chuck Norris himself, and he will be bringing back his self-defense and martial arts classes to the community. Dance Fit Fun also returns, and we are adding two new yoga classes: Yoga in the Park and Power Vinyasa Yoga.

Our race series returns. The Turkey Trot and Egg Nog Jog have become stables of the local running scene, and Marana will bring back the Dirt Dash Trail Run, as well as renewing our partnership with El Tour de Tucson for the special Marana leg of the race. 

Paint Nights at the Park.

Paint Nights at the Park.

For those with interests in the artistic realm, never fear! The Marana Community Theatre continues to put on shows, and the Music Workshops and Jam Sessions hosted by the Desert Bluegrass Association will also return. We are adding a new Beginner Country Line Dancing Class. Both the teen and adult Paint Nights in the Park return, as does the Tots and Me Story Art classes. For our youngest residents, we now offer new Saturday preschool camps, while our senior adventure trips and Medicare Enrollment Seminar are designed for our older residents. 

Budding photographers will want to take advantage of our four new photography classes, including digital editing class. We even have a class dedicated to taking and creating the best possible pictures from your cell phone.

Marana is growing, and the Parks and Recreation Department is growing right along with the community. We hope you can find a few that interest you and hope to see you at a program or five.

Jim Conroy is the Marana Parks and Recreation Director.