Hula hoops and twirling batons are making their way into the classroom at the Henderson County Athletics and Activity Center.

Hula hoops and twirling batons are making their way into the classroom at the Henderson County Athletics and Activity Center.
"Our goal really is to teach people fitness, and moving is important," Recreation Program Supervisor Karen Saine said.
With the new facility, Saine said Henderson County Parks and Recreation is always looking for new classes that encourage health and fitness or the arts.
"We are open for anybody calling and doing classes with us at Parks and Rec," Saine said.
The beginner baton twirling class with Denise Harhai will kick off from 4-5 p.m. July 7 and is open to all children ages 5-13.
Harhai, who has been twirling batons since junior high, said it is an art, a sport and a talent that improves hand-eye coordination and builds self-esteem.
"What little girl doesn't want to twirl a baton in a parade?" Harhai said. "Maybe, if we get a group going, we could march in the Apple Festival parade; I think that would be great."
Harhai said she would prefer participants have their own baton for class, but some will be available for those without. Batons are also available at Dancing Bear Toys on Main Street.
"They're willing to order more if this class is a hit," Harhai said.
Like leggings and peace signs, Harhai says she thinks baton twirling is making a comeback, and she's excited to pass it on.
"I really want to teach just basics, you know, the salute, attention, basic strut, flat twirls, figure-eights, marching — we're not getting them ready for competition yet and maybe this would be a little more interesting than playing with an iPad or TV, video games," Harhai said.

For those interested in a fun, low-impact way to stay in shape, Henderson County native Michele Simpson says she's got it covered with hooping.
After an accident in her 20s, Simpson said she needed to find a low- to no-impact workout that would strengthen and tone her entire body. Simpson said a one-hour hoop session can burn as much as 480 calories, and comes with plenty of emotional and physical benefits.
"The best part about it is that it makes you smile and it makes you laugh," Simpson said. "It reduces stresses and increases your vitality and makes you feel young."
The pushing and pulling into the hoop is where the workout comes in, which Simpson said can be adjusted given the weight and size of a hoop.
Simpson's classes are open to all ages and skill levels. She will have hoops available for all students during classes.
"The basics of hooping dancing is waist hooping and hip hooping, and then you move on to passing it off of your body, which means you use your arms and your back to pass it behind you, and so I have people at different levels that are in my class, but it's easy to give them individualized attention because the more experienced hoopers, I'll get them started on a new trick," Simpson said. "There's just action and energy in the whole group, so everyone leaves feeling good."
For more information on classes with Henderson County Parks and Recreation, call Saine at 697-4900.
Reach Bindewald at or 828-694-7890.