The Fairfax County Park Authority offers award-winning aquatic
recreation for everyone in the diverse community it serves, from
the youngest beginning swimmer to the serious competitors and those
with special needs.
With 12 aquatics facilities, including nine indoor RECenter
natatoriums, one outdoor themed waterpark, a fully accessible
outdoor spraypark and one outdoor community pool, this agency
The Fairfax facilities offer traditional and nontraditional aquatic
programs, such as swim lessons, competitive swimming and diving,
synchronized swimming, water polo, kayak rolling, scuba and
underwater hockey, as well as local police, fire and rescue
training. A robust adapted aquatics program includes learn-to-swim,
aquatic exercise, Paralympic swim development and Special Olympics
training. Annual attendance at just the nine RECenters is more than
At least 100 different languages are spoken in Fairfax County, and
getting people of different backgrounds involved in aquatics means
building bridges across cultural barriers. One example of that is
at the George Washington RECenter. The staff uses blackout curtains
and female lifeguards so Muslim women can swim while still
maintaining their cultural traditions.
When two children drowned in a local lake, Park Authority staff
members held Spanish language forums with mothers to encourage them
to sign their children up for swim lessons. Partners donated
swimsuits and goggles to make the lessons possible for low-income
To ensure safety at all Fairfax County Park Authority facilities,
the agency employs more than 300 lifeguards, trained through Ellis
& Associates. And aquatic operations staffers share their
knowledge of industry best practices and trends with community pool
operators through a “Help for Community Pools” workshop
that reaches more than 100 local community pools.
This level of public service is accomplished through revenue-based
programs with minimal reliance on county tax dollars. Because of
its efforts, the agency has been acknowledged nationally for its
long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism,
stewardship, program development and management.
The Fairfax County Park Authority has received a Gold Medal Award
from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration,
in partnership with the National Recreation and Parks Association.
In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation deemed the Authority
the Healthiest Community in Virginia.