Waco Chat

Susan Krause

By Kevin Tankersley

Manager of Programs and Facilities for Waco Parks & Recreation

“A family can all play and get something out of it and have a positive experience.”

The inclusive movement piece is a piece that we discovered at a trade show a couple years ago. You wind it up to generate the power that it runs on, so there’s no plugs, there’s no electricity, which is great.

When we first saw it, everybody was competing against each other. You’d wind it up and you’d play. It’s kind of like Bop It, with the lights. The lights turn on, and you have to hit the light that’s turned on, and they’re on both sides. You’re working on agility and hand-eye coordination and your cardiovascular fitness level. But it’s also inclusive, because someone in a wheelchair can do it, someone that’s not very quick on their feet can do it, someone old, someone young. It doesn’t matter, anybody can do it. And it’s neat because your family could come and play, and you’d basically be on a level playing field. A family can all play and get something out of it and have a positive experience. Two people can play at once, on one side and one on the other and they’re competing to get the higher score.

It teaches you how to wait your turn, it teaches you how to win and lose gracefully. It’s got a lot of lessons, whether they’re life lessons or whether they’re health and fitness kinds of things.

The Dewey Community Center and Doris Miller Community Center both got one. They’re both licensed childcare centers, and we’ve been encouraged to have activities for the kids to do outside. And this fit the bill because it’s outdoors. It helps with intellectual acuity, but it also helps with physical agility and things like that. It’s checking a lot of the boxes as far as providing the children with an activity that’s safe, that’s educational, that’s a little bit physically demanding.

The City of Waco is looking at all their parks and all their facilities, to make sure that everyone can use them, everyone can benefit from them. Young, old, people that are fit, people that are not fit, people that are not as able-bodied, whether they’re in a wheelchair. We want them to be able to use our facilities. We want anyone to be able to come in here, feel welcome and feel like they can use the things that we have here safely and enjoy it.

At Doris Miller, we resurfaced the basketball court and added a pickleball court behind it. We finished that a couple of weeks ago. We’ve got a small playground, football, soccer and baseball field. It’s a public park and anyone can use it. And we’re renovating the indoor pool. We’ve had some of the mechanicals replaced and got new heat and new doors.

There are opportunities for free and inexpensive fitness activities at all three City of Waco community centers, said Susan Krause, manager of programs and facilities for Waco Parks & Recreation. There are wellness centers equipped with free weights and weight machines at the Dewey, Doris Miller and South Waco community centers. A day pass for the fitness center is $2, and a 30-visit pass costs $30 and doesn’t expire. Each center also offers a variety of fitness and exercise classes for various ages and abilities. The centers also offer after-school activities, computer labs and summer programs.