New programs give new life to closed Clarksburg activity building -- Gazette.Net


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The Clarksburg Sports Association — which last spring won the bid to remodel a shuttered, single-story activities building near Clarksburg High School — will soon reopen the building with three programs for children and adults.

The nonprofit association will host an open house Feb. 6 to provide more information about its new CSA Academy, which will offer Tae Kwon Do classes and an all-day summer program. Registration for the summer program starts today. For Tae Kwon Do, registration is under way online.

What: Clarksburg Sports Association open house

When: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6

Where: 22501 Wims Road, Clarksburg (at Clarksburg High School)

For information: www.csasports.org

Starting next fall, there will be an after-school program. Registration will start June 1.

“We’ve been providing sports for the youth, and we’re now going to the next level – it’s an expansion,” CSA President Brian McCloskey said.

A nonprofit formed in 2006, CSA won the bid to remodel and maintain the building, which is owned by Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. McCloskey said organizers have invested about $5,000 to remodel the building.

“It’s our desire to put these buildings back into productive use and to generate revenue,” said Dan Hertz, a project manager with M-NCPPC.

CSA is currently negotiating the terms of a five-year lease with M-NCPPC, which will require county building permits and licensing through the state Department of Education, which oversees programs for children.

McCloskey said program instructors will be paid a percentage of the fees charged to the general public for the classes.

On Wednesdays, the CSA will welcome the return of a group of Clarksburg seniors who moved their weekly meetings to a local church when Park and Planning closed the Clarksburg activities building in 2010. It is one of 11 county-owned activity buildings identified as underused.

“All the group is just so happy to be able to go back,” said coordinator Joanne Woodson, who moved the senior citizens program to the Community of Faith United Methodist Church in Clarksburg.

Woodson said one advantage of moving back to the activities building is that it is on one level. Using the basement of the church meant having to go down steep stairs.

“This means we can accommodate any handicapped people,” she said.

The senior citizens group meets monthly for lunch, works on arts and crafts projects, hosts visiting speakers, incorporates some mild exercise and does community service projects, including collecting items for a women’s shelter.

“We didn’t want to see the group not meeting,” Woodson said. “It’s been so good for seniors in Clarksburg.”

Starting Feb. 13, CSA Academy will offer classes for children and adults in Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art that involves kicking. It will be taught by McCloskey and another instructor.

A federal recruiter, McCloskey said he has taught the Olympic sport for 15 years. Children need to be at least 7 years old to benefit from the class, which is taught on floor mats and requires a basic uniform, he said.

“It’s fun, but there’s also instruction. They’ll need to focus,” he said.

Going once a week is enough to give participants a “snapshot”of Tae Kwon Do, which offers exercise and a cardio workout, but to really learn it requires a commitment of at least three days a week.

“It’s like hearing a foreign language,” McCloskey said. “You can pick up some words, but if you want to speak fluently, you need to study and exercise.”

McCloskey said high school students typically sign up for his classes, benefiting from the workout and the confidence it helps build.

“It’s a high-energy exercise and it also allows for sparring,” McCloskey said.

He said students learn to manage the body’s natural fight-or-flight response and how to deal with conflict situations.

“Ideally, you develop the self-defense skills so that you have the confidence to walk away from the situation,” he said.

The CSA activities center also will offer a summer camp program for children ages 5 to 14 (kindergarten through 8th grade) run by McCloskey’s wife, Jacqui McCloskey, who teaches second grade at Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School in Germantown.

Registration is already open for the 10-week program, which will highlight a different country each week. Someone who loves to travel, Jacqui McCloskey said she will set up a station for each country with games, artifacts, food and other activities related to that country.

“We want them to keep thinking about exploring and learning,” she said about the educational value of students continuing to learn over the summer break.

Exercise also will be part of the summer program, including training in Tae Kwon Do and visits by Clarksburg High School varsity athletes, who will highlight two sports a week. Also planned are day trips to area attractions and a trip to a local pool.

Recreation specialist Sandra Hutto, wife of Kevin Hutto, CSA’s executive director, and three volunteers will work with Jacqui McCloskey.

On Wednesdays, McCloskey said, she hopes to work with Woodson, a resident of the area for 60 years who is also president of the Clarksburg Historical Society.

“My grandfather and great-grandfather lived in this area,” said Woodson, who welcomes the chance to develop some intergenerational programs.

Woodson said she and 12 active seniors in the program were able to keep it going with donations for supplies such as paper towels and bottled water.

“People have been so generous coming forth with the things we need,” she said.

“Life is great when you participate,” said Woodson, citing the senior group’s motto.

vterhune@gazette.net