DOVER, N.Y. -- Teri Ptasnick strives to find programs for Dover residents of every age. For 17 years, she has mostly succeeded in creating activities that engage town residents all across the age spectrum.
“We try to balance things out for adults, children and seniors,’’ said Ptasnick, who started her career as a physical education teacher in Westchester County. “We want to keep people busy, but also have fun and have absolutely no worries. Our community really supports all of the programs, and we want to keep them safe and sound in everything that we offer.”
Dover’s fall recreation shows the diversity in programs Ptasnick and her staff try to develop every season.
A pre-school playgroup for children ages 5-and-under starts in October. There is also a physical education program for youngsters to learn coordination, socializing and peripheral vision. Adults can join fitness programs such as Body Blast, Zumba and Pilates. School age students can participate in activities such as basketball, gymnastics, tennis and arts and crafts. Seniors can register for a New York City bus trip. There’s also a Halloween blast on Oct. 24 at Boyce Park with a hayride, costume contest and Pumpkin Painting. It is free, but people must register beforehand.
All of Dover’s programs are low-cost, and a majority of them take place at area schools. Dover's annual Community Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17.
“We try to run all of our programs with the idea that they try to break even,’’ Ptasnick said. “The challenge we face is not having a facility so that we could have even more programs. Hopefully there will be a remedy soon. It’d be great to have a recreation facility that will be open for children and adults.”
Ptasnick stopped teaching when she started her family. She volunteered frequently for Dover’s programs, and a few years later expressed an interest in the full-time role as the recreation director. Her background in teaching, physical education and coaching made her a perfect fit for the department.
“Having been a phys ed teacher and coach, I can teach children different skills,’’ Ptasnick said. “Just knowing how to interact with kids is a huge benefit. Teaching them how to do things is what I love best. Sitting behind a desk is not my forte. I love being in the gym and teaching kids how to play basketball.”
Besides programs, Ptasnick works with a maintenance crew to ensure that the town’s fields and playing areas are safe and well-kept. The department also oversees a summer camp, a six-week program for children ages 5-and-up.
“I love working with my staff,’’ she said. “Without them, nothing could go on. It’s a challenge to keep everything working with our budget constraints. It’s always busy here, and sometimes you have to wear a second hat. But we have great support from our town board and our Town Supervisor, Linda French.”
Ptasnick’s enjoyment for her work carries through in conversation. She brings passion, energy and commitment to her job, and has not lost an ounce of enthusiasm during her tenure.
"The members of our community are the reasons why we work so hard,'' Ptasnick said. "I enjoy working for the community and I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. My recreation staff is wonderful. It’s great working for people that understand our town. They live here and they want to see the same thing I see in the future.”
For more information on the programs in the Dover Recreation Department, click here to visit its website.
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