October 21 – 25 is School Bus Safety Week!

National School Bus Safety Week is October 21 – 25 and the theme is “My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!

Held during the third full week of October each year, National School Bus Safety Week is an active and evolving public education program and an excellent way for parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties – to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety. Designed to promote school bus safety, school districts throughout the country observe School Bus Safety Week.

For some tips on keeping your child safe on the bus, click here.

2016-winning-poster                                                         Photo from NAPT.org

How to Use a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Safely

The City of Decatur three pedestrian hybrid beacons installed at busy crosswalks:

South Candler Street near Davis Street
Clairemont near the YMCA
Scott Boulevard at Westchester Elementary

The City is committed to improving the pedestrian, bicycle and Safe Routes to School networks throughout the City.

Third Friday Bike Ride: Halloween Edition!

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Join Decatur Active Living for the Halloween edition of the Third Friday Bike Ride on Friday, October 18.

Dress up and/or decorate your bike and ride 6 miles around Decatur neighborhoods. Meet at the Decatur Recreation Center. Come at 6 pm and meet the folks from Mountain High Outfitters in Decatur. They will have water, snacks, coupons and more!

Be ready to put wheels down at 6:30 pm. This ride is not recommended for small children as we ride at and adult pace.

After the ride we will visit a local restaurant for refreshments and camaraderie.

Bring your water bottle, bike lights, and be sure to wear your helmet.

For more information, click here.

Qigong/Tai Chi for Rest and Relaxation at Ebster Recreation Center

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Decatur residents Neil Norton & Steve Dorage, and their colleague Drew Bracewell of Clarkston share 60 years combined experience in Qigong/Tai Chi in Decatur. They started their first class at Decatur Recreation Center ten years ago. A new Qigong/TaiChi class is being offered on Wednesdays at the Ebster Recreation Center at 12 pm, taught by Neil Norton. Neil, a twenty year plus cancer survivor, shared, “I wanted to give an opportunity for people with more flexible schedules to relax in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, often when we need a breathing practice the most.”

Steve started Tai Chi 4 L.I.F.E (Longevity, Increased Balance & Strength, Flexibility, and Energy) in 2014 with the hope of creating a community of Tai Chi practitioners similar to what you might see in China. Steve shares his vision, “We would love to see a Decatur park full of community members moving together on World Tai Chi Day on April 25th, 2020.” Last year Tai Chi for L.I.F.E. had over 20 people including 6 instructors at Legacy Park. With busy schedules and stress around every corner, Drew believes, “we need a time and place to be just be present to help balance out our busy lives with breathing and gentle movements.”

Steve, Drew, & Neil share a teacher, Dr. Michael Jamison for whom they have been training with for 20 years. In addition to Tai Chi training, several times a year they organize all day Dao Yin workshops at the Decatur Recreation Center with him. Dao Yin is a practice mostly on the ground that cultivates internal energy that Qigong and Tai Chi are derived from.

Neil and Drew work as Arborists, and Neil is the Executive Director of Georgia Arborist Association, while Drew has expanded his interest in wood and Tai Chi through the construction of Tai Chi swords. Both have practiced other types of martial arts with a focus on Tai Chi and Qigong over the last 20 years. Steve worked in the health care industry and recently retired and now focuses on his family, practice, and Tai Chi 4 L.I.F.E. He has been practicing Tai Chi for over 30 years. Steve states, “Similar to saving money for retirement, Tai Chi benefits compound as you age, the earlier you start, the greater the return.”

Sharing the PATH or a Trail

Since the path can be congested it’s important to follow the same rules as everyone else in order to have a safe and enjoyable time.

•    Be courteous
•    Know the rules of the trail you are using
•    Give a clear signal when passing
•    Be cautious and yield to crossing traffic
•    Always be predictable by riding in a straight line
•    If you are riding while it is dark, be sure to use lights
•    Only use half the width of the trail
•    Keep it clean

Enjoy Biketober and stay safe!

Healthy Monday: Try Falling for Autumn

healthy monday From our friends at the Monday Campaigns:

Happy Healthy Monday!

Autumn is the most soothing of the seasons: The lush of greens of springtime have given way to regal shades of auburn, gold, and crimson; the air is crispy and chill; the swimsuits and warm-weather tops have been stored away make room for light jackets and worn-out jeans.

The changing of the seasons provides an opportunity to reflect and recognize the changes occurring in our own lives. Embracing this time of year as a period of introspection and mindfulness can uplift the spirit and prepare us for the winter months ahead.

See our mindfulness practice for appreciating the sensations of the season this Monday.

Couch to 5K Running Club begins this Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 am.

Couch to 5K (7)

Move It Monday: Weekend Walks

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From our friends at #MoveItMonday!

Walking isn’t just a weekday activity. Weekends are a great time to go for a walk. For starters, you don’t have things like work and picking up / dropping off the kids consuming huge chunks of your day.

You also have the time to go for a walk at location that isn’t near your home or office.

See our ideas for a weekend walk.

1st Annual Neighborhood Kickball Tournament is October 5th!

DAL Neighborhood Kickball Tourn Flyer

Portia Langley: Pickleball Pioneer

Portia Langley, Program Supervisor at Ebster Recreation Center, was recently featured as  a Pickleball Pioneer in a Pickleball Newsletter. Here is a copy of her interview.

How and when did pickleball come to Decatur Rec?
Pickleball was started at Ebster Rec. in January of 2015. I was familiar with Pickleball from playing it as recreation sport in college at Fort Valley State University. When I was told I would be allowed to create programs for the gym at Ebster, I immediately thought about pickleball and about how I could get the program into Decatur. I wrote a snippet on our Decatur Active Living blog about pickleball and was approached by a resident who was a member of the USA Pickleball Association. He informed me of a USAPA grant for two free pickleball nets and we applied. Once we received the nets, we began playing once a week at Ebster gym. The Champion newspaper ran a short story about pickleball coming to Decatur and we slowly began to grow. The following year, I was asked to add another day of play and we began playing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Ebster gym. Now averaging 30-40 players a month, we added a third day last year. We now play pickleball 3x a week at Ebster. We also added painted lines and barricades to accommodate the growing sport.

Tell us why pickleball and Decatur pickleball players are so special? 
Pickleball was a lot of fun when I played in college. I remember everyone participating and it didn’t matter that it had a funny name.

Being naturally athletic, I enjoyed playing basketball, softball and volleyball, but pickleball was different. You can really talk to your teammate when playing doubles which creates a more relaxed environment, and that’s the case with Decatur Pickleballers as well.

Many of our our players are retired, but we also have 30 somethings on their lunch breaks, visitors in town just for the week, people who have flexible work schedules, and other city employees who join us for play at Ebster. The atmosphere is fun with friendly competition and conversations throughout the hours of play. I think Decatur is unique in that way as well the gym itself. Ebster is a state of the art gymnasium with tinted windows and barricade partitions separating the courts.

How long have you worked for the City of Decatur Recreation Department?

I’ve worked for the City of Decatur for 5 years and was brought in while Ebster Rec. center was under renovation. Ebster Rec. center officially reopened in May 2015.

Are you a native of Atlanta? If not, what brought you here? 
I was born and raised on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I left St. Croix to attend college in Georgia and I’ve been here ever since — in Atlanta for 18 years.

What do you enjoy outside of work? 
Outside of work I enjoy performing on my stilts around town as well as thrifting and photography.
I also play pickleball in my spare time in Clayton County and East Point, GA. I registered for my first pickleball tournament in August and I’m headed to the State championship games in one week.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
People may be surprised to know I enjoy sci-fi shows including Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

Tell us about your family.
My family is mostly back home in the Virgin Islands. I visit my Mom and family at least twice a year if I can. My Dad moved to Georgia from St. Croix and has lived here for over 30 years.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I encourage people to come out and try the game of pickleball. It’s so much fun — once you try it, you’ll want to play again! The sport is for all ages and we love for people to come out to Ebster gym and give it a try.

Pickleball Schedule at Ebster Recreation Center:
Tuesday and Friday, 11 am – 2 pm
Wednesday, 2 – 6 pm ( until 5 pm during youth basketball season)
Residents: Free
Non-residents:  $3