Pine Community Center continues to grow in 10th year of operation |
North Hills

Pine Community Center continues to grow in 10th year of operation

Karen Price

Before the Pine Community Center ever opened, Director Joni Patsko had a goal of creating programming for children that would combine not just physical activity but also creativity and community as well.

Ten years later, Patsko said they’re proud of what they offer for children in the community and hope more parents and families — both members and non-members — will come out and take advantage.

“Obviously there are lots of benefits to kids being involved in activities but it’s not just sports here,” she said. “We have so many different things going on here.”

One of the perhaps hidden secrets at the community center are Parents Night Out activities on the third Friday of the month (Feb. 15 and March 15 are the next two) from 6 to 9 p.m.

“The kids will come and have time in the gym and we’ll do a craft or some other type of activity, and the parents will have three hours to do whatever they need to do, even if that’s enjoying peace and quiet at the house,” said Kaylyn Begley, marketing coordinator for the community center. “It could be a great opportunity for some babysitting, and in February maybe even time to get a Valentine’s Day date.”

The fee for Parents Night Out is $6 for members and $12 for non-members.

Other Friday night programming at the center geared toward kids ages 8 through 12 include Friday Night Fun on the first Fridays through April, and dodgeball nights on the fourth Fridays.

For some of the youngest kids, the preschool open gym times on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are a great opportunity for little ones to burn off some energy, especially during weeks where it’s too cold or messy to get outside.

“We have different things in the gym from mats and little balance beams to basketball hoops, bowling pins, hula hoops. I could go on and on,” Patsko said.

They’ve also recently added Imagination Playground blocks, which are oversized foam blocks of different shapes that lend themselves to creations of all sorts.

“At our 10-year birthday party we saw the older kids in there building the blocks up and creating chutes where they rolled balls down to hit into other blocks, and it was the young kids and older kids playing with them,” Patsko said. “They can really use their imaginations.”

Open gym time isn’t structured, and parents or caregivers need to be present, but like much of their programming, families don’t need to be members in order to take advantage of the space. It’s free for members and $6 for non-members with times from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; and 2 to 4 p.m. Fridays.

Other kids programs include Read n’ Run, designed for kids ages 2 to 5, in which they’ll read an age-appropriate story then do a themed activity that centers around what they just read.

“A lot of the times we have science experiments but for the most part it’s playing with shaving cream or making slime or doing something with Play-Doh or Silly Putty,” Begley said. “Sometimes we’ll try to make elephant toothpaste, sometimes we’ll make volcanoes. It’s basically every parents’ dream because the kids get to come to us to make a mess. It’s all the cool Pinterest things you see that no one wants to actually try inside their house.”

The center also holds special events and holiday programming throughout the year. The next big one coming up is the Mother Daughter Royal Tea Party on March 16.

For more details on kids’ programming at Pine Community Center, visit
or stop by the center.

Karen Price is a
Tribune-Review contributor.