Henrico County VA

Gym dandy

Running new recreation center is dream job for former VCU player



Growing up in Jacksonville, Fla., Torrance Archie lived just a few a doors away from his neighborhood recreation center. Now Archie runs Henrico County's newest recreation center.

He is senior coordinator at the Eastern Henrico County Recreation Center (EHRC), 1440 N. Laburnum Avenue. The center opened in October and launched a full slate of fitness classes and activities this week.

Archie made a few stops between his days of hanging out at his hometown’s rec center and directing this 25,773-square-foot center.

He said his memories of his neighborhood center influenced his career choice. And the time he spent on the basketball courts there came in handy later.

Archie played basketball at Daytona Beach Community College before transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University in 1996.

He recalls that his two years playing as a power forward on the VCU team were good ones. He started every game in his basketball career at VCU.

Torrance Archie, senior coordinator at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, encourages fitness center member Sylvia Paige as she walks on the treadmill.
“I loved playing for Coach [Sonny] Smith. He treated us like we were his own kids.” Archie said.

Archie also said he enjoyed meeting teammates who came from all over the country to attend the university. He also met, Seatra, the woman who would become his wife.

In fact, the couple married shortly after he graduated from VCU in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism.

Less than two months after they married, Archie left Richmond to pursue a dream of playing professional basketball.

His new wife supported his decision. Archie lived and played semiprofessional basketball in Sweden for two years.

Back in the U.S., it would be a few more years before Archie found a job that called on him to use his recreation degree. He joined the Henrico County Recreation and Parks division about four years ago.

Archie said that when he heard the county was building the center in eastern Henrico, he thought working at the center would be his dream job.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “It’s a blessing for me because this is what I love to do. I love to work with the community.”

Archie and the staff at the center are on a mission to help residents get in better shape while taking advantage of all the center has to offer.

About 37 percent of Richmond area residents exercise on a regular basis, according to the Richmond City Health District.

The center has a lot to entice you to get off the couch. Zumba, weight training, and yoga are some of the classes it offers.

Many of the classes are open to anyone – even those who don't live in Henrico County. Participants pay fees to enroll.

One unique feature at the recreation center is the fully-equipped fitness center. It’s the first of its kind at Henrico County rec centers.

The fitness center has 11 pieces of equipment for a cardiovascular workout, such as exercise bikes, treadmills and ellipticals, 12 pieces of weight equipment, and four large screen televisions to watch while you work out.

Archie and Rueridh McNicol, the center's fitness coordinator, said they want everyone to feel comfortable using the fitness center even if they have never picked up a dumbbell.

“All of our staff have personal trainer certifications, degrees, or group exercise certifications,” said McNicol, in a Scottish accent that's hard to miss. “We staff the center with a fitness instructor at all times. Everyone goes through orientation to help them feel comfortable with the exercise machines.”

Archie said four or five senior citizens were among the first members to join the fitness center.

“The ‘young ladies’ hang pretty tough,” Archie said. “They have a good time. They walk the track first and then come [to the fitness center] for a good workout.”

The fitness center, open only to county residents, also is popular among residents who come before and after work.

Sylvia Paige used to walk at Virginia Commons Center but now comes to the center in the mornings before she goes to work.

“I think it’s wonderful. I love it,” said Paige as she walked on a treadmill on a recent morning, shortly after the center opened at 8 a.m.

David Armstrong drives from western Henrico to use the fitness center.

“I was looking for a gym and heard about it from my co-workers. Its 10 bucks a month – that’s why I chose it,” he said.

The fitness center draws those who are looking for a structured personal workout. Now that classes have started, participants can register for group activities.

On Saturdays, a youth basketball league fills the rec center with parents and eager kids running across the gleaming gym floors. Archie should feel right at home.

* * *

The Eastern Henrico Recreation Center offers a number of fitness classes, including:

• Get Fit Boot Camp mixes cardio, calisthenics and body weight exercise with interval and strength training.

• 20/20/20 is a fusion workout that includes 20 minutes of low impact aerobics, 20 minutes of basic strength training and 20- minutes focused on stretching and balancing.

• Zumba mixes Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves.

• Women on Weights introduces women to the benefits of strength training with free weights, giving confidence to use weights safely and effectively.

• Intro to Yoga helps you improve balance, flexibility, posture and circulation and will enhance your ability to relax.
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Community

Henricus to portray ‘Arnold’s Raid on Richmond’ Jan. 31


The Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield this weekend will portray "Arnold's Raid on Richmond," which took place in 1781 when British General Benedict Arnold took his small British and Loyalist forces and raided Richmond as Governor Thomas Jefferson watched from the safety of Manchester.

The event will take place Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Period-dressed historical interpreters will occupy the bluff overlooking the James River.

Visitors are invited to join the American militia, British regulars, Hessians and Loyalists in camp. > Read more.

‘Secret Keeper Girl - Crazy Hair Tour’ returning to West End Assembly of God

Hundreds of 'tweens' and their moms will attend the Secret Keeper Girl Crazy Hair Tour at West End Assembly of God on Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m., a popular Bible-based tour geared toward building and strengthening relationships between mothers and their daughters (typically ages 8 to 12).

The event will feature a full fashion show, oversized balloon sculptures and confetti cannons – all in the name of inner beauty, Biblical modesty and vibrant purity. > Read more.

OutRVA, ‘Say I Do!’ to give away all-expenses paid wedding at Lewis Ginter

OutRVA and Say I Do! have collaborated to offer LGBT couples an opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid wedding at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Robins Tea House on March 7.

In September, Richmond Region Tourism launched OutRVA, a campaign designed to show people Richmond’s strong LGBT community and highlight the area as a travel destination.

The winning couple will say "I do" in a ceremony coordinated by event designer and floral artist Casey Godlove of Strawberry Fields Flowers & Gifts and marriage concierge, Ayana Obika of All About The Journey. The couple will receive wardrobe and styling, a custom wedding cake, florals, an overnight stay at the Linden Row Inn (including a suite on the day of the wedding for preparation), and a post-wedding brunch at the Hilton Garden Inn on Sunday, March 8. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


There are a bunch of unique events just for kids this weekend in Henrico! Virginia Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Maggie Walker Story” opens tonight at The Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn. On Saturday, Walkerton Tavern will host a tea party and the Children’s Museum of Richmond-Central will celebrate the Lunar Year of the Goat with several exciting activities. Ages 11-13 are invited to an “Introduction to Volleyball” workshop on Sunday at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

CAT Theatre announces auditions for ‘Quartet’

CAT Theatre will hold auditions for Quartet on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 22, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Auditions will be held at the theatre, located at 319 N. Wilkinson Road in Richmond. Quartet will run May 22 through June 6 and will close out CAT’s 51st season.

Director Laurie Follmer is seeking two males, ages 50-70 and two females ages 50-70. British accents are required for roles and are requested for auditions. There is no actual singing in the show. Singing ability and experience is not a requirement. Audition sides are available at http://www.cattheatre.com on the Audition Page. > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

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