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Interactive children’s gym opens in Fairfax

Great Play Fairfax, an innovative children’s gym opening at 11395 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax, is offering free classes through Feb. 22.

The award-winning franchise incorporates the latest science on children’s motor skill and sport skill development into a high-energy program housed in a brand-new, patented Interactive Arena.

Christie Talbot, a mother of two, said she was so impressed with Great Play’s curriculum and overall philosophy, she decided to open the new franchise.

“I worked in corporate America for many years, but after I had my children, my focus changed a bit,” she said. “As a working mom, I relied on some of the other well-known gyms out there but saw ways they could be improved.”

Great Play offers programs for children from age 6 months up through fifth grade. This weekend’s free classes include Motor Skills and Intro Athletic Development, Sport Skills, and Play 50: Fitness and Coordination.

“I spent a long time researching the category, and I found that Great Play is simply head and shoulders above the rest of the industry,” Talbot said. “My amazing staff and I are looking forward to sharing it with the kids and families in our area.”

“Great Play is designed from the ground up to be both more fun and more developmentally valuable than other programs,” said Keith Camhi, who founded the company with his wife, Jyl Camhi, in 2006.

To register a child for classes, call 703-246-9550 or visit www.greatplay.com.

Cornerstones welcomes new board chair, board members

Jill Norcross, representing St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church of Herndon, will take the helm as chairwoman of the Cornerstones Housing Corp. Board, following Stuart Rakoff, who served as chairman from 2013 until his death Jan. 6. Norcross has been serving as vice chair.

Sara Leonard, representing Christ the Servant Lutheran Church in Reston, was elected to fill Norcross’ vacated position.

Norcross joined the board in 2006 and has also served as its secretary and treasurer. She is the former executive director of HAND (Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers) and has experience working in the affordable housing sector.

“Jill has a passion for Cornerstones’ work, experience in housing finance and development, and the ability to engage the community in a shared goal for the well-being of others — all things Stu was determined to see happen,” said Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones CEO.

Rakoff, an advocate for the homeless and volunteer at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, served on the Reston Interfaith (now Cornerstones) Board in the early years of the organization. He returned to the board as an at-large member in 2008, stepping into leadership roles and guiding a strategic plan focused on quality, affordable housing; strengthening services; and community building and engagement.

Norcross welcomes two new at-large members to the Cornerstones board — Katherine “Kate” Hanley and Tracey White.

Hanley served as secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2006 to 2010 under Gov. Tim Kaine (D), and was chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from 1995 to 2003. She was county supervisor for the Providence District from 1986 to 1995, and on the Fairfax County School Board from 1984 to 1986.

Her distinctive public service record includes time on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board and the WMATA Board of Directors. She was Northern Virginia Regional Commission chair, past president of the Virginia Municipal League and of the Virginia Association of Counties, and chairman of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Hanley serves on the board of directors of Voices for Virginia’s Children and HomeAid of Northern Virginia and is a member of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Service Board.

White is vice president of Community and Government Relations at Hospital Corporation of America in the Capital Division, where she serves as primary liaison to community, corporate and civic entities in Northern Virginia. She was president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and director of Corporate Relations at Children’s National Medical Center.

She just completed her tenure as chair of Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, where she was co-founder and member of its NonProfit Initiative to build strength and partnership between businesses and nonprofit service agencies. White is a former board member of Loudoun Interfaith Relief, Volunteer Fairfax and Healthy Families Fairfax. White was awarded Reston Citizen of the Year in 2000, and Virginia Chamber Executive of the Year in 2000.

Cornerstones connects clients to the resources they need to help build more stable families and self-sufficient lives, and provides programs that solve needs for housing, childcare, food and financial assistance. For more, visit www.cornerstonesva.org.

Washington airports board changes leadership

Keith Meurlin, manager of Washington Dulles International Airport, has been elected to succeed Leo Schefer as president of the Washington Airports Task Force Board of Directors. Schefer plans to retire April 1.

“This is a seminal moment in the Task Force’s history,” said WATF Chairman David Whitestone.

During his 41-year career, Meurlin has been a military pilot and major general in the U.S. Air Force Reserves as well as Dulles airport manager. He managed the airport through the most rapid period of growth in its 51-year history, adding new passenger terminals and parking garages and quadrupling cargo facilities. Meurlin also led the airport’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

He retired from the Air Force having served on active duty in the Air National Guard, and in the reserves as a major general, the highest rank a traditional reservist can achieve. While on active duty, he established the Transition Policy and Care Coordination Office (Wounded Warrior Program), reporting directly to the Under Secretary of Defense.

Schefer has served as WATF president since 1988, overseeing the evolution of Washington Dulles as a major international gateway and the creation of The Udvar-Hazy Center for the National Air and Space Museum, which opened in 2003. As international passenger use grew to more than 6 million travelers annually, Schefer was involved in bringing rail transit to the Dulles Corridor. He also led the reopening of Reagan National Airport after the Sept. 11 attacks.

McLean Scouts observe 90th year

Boy Scout Troop 128 of McLean celebrates its 90th anniversary Feb. 24. The troop was founded exactly 90 years ago on that date, according to the group’s charter, dated Feb. 24, 1924.

The public is invited to the party at 7:30 p.m. in Shears Hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church at 6715 Georgetown Pike. The festivities will be held in conjunction with a Court of Honor recognizing the achievements and rank advancements of various Scouts. For more, email Helen Beckner at becknerfamily@cox.net.

ISO models with Down syndrome

Fashionistas with Down syndrome are encouraged to audition Feb. 27 for a spot in the fashion show at the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s “Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala.”

The May 7 event in Washington, D.C., is designed to raise awareness about the chromosomal disorder that affects one in 691 babies.

Auditions, open to individuals age 7 and older with Down syndrome and other disabilities, take place at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, 7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

A practice session will precede the auditions. Auditioning does not guarantee a spot in the gala.

To register for the auditions, visit www.globaldownsyndrome.org.