Throughout the year at playgrounds and rec centers across the city, thousands of girls and boys ages 5 to 14 participate in our athletics programs, including soccer, track and field, baseball, softball, flag football, tackle football, cheerleading, volleyball and basketball.

An integral part of each sport is Character Counts, a national character education program from the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics. The program provides training for coaches to help them promote sportsmanship and foster good character through teaching, enforcing, advocating and modeling the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Each week focuses on one of six pillars of character. Every practice begins with a three-minute discussion about the pillar of the week and how to base behavior and decisions on character. The girls and boys receive cards with the six pillars of character and steps to making good decisions. NORDC’s implementation of the Character Counts program is supported by Chevron through the NORD Foundation.

SOCCER READY TO KICK OFF: Registration is open for YLC Kicks Soccer, a partnership with the Young Leadership Council, for girls and boys ages 5 to 13. Track and field registration begins Feb. 2 for girls and boys ages 5 to 14. Proof of Orleans Parish residence is required.

For information on team sports and other events throughout the year, visit nola.gov/nordc; and connect through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @NORD Commission.

Victor N. Richard III is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. For more information, visit nola.gov/nordc.

Outdoors

  • NATURE WALK: noon Tuesday, Bayou Savage, off U.S. 90 in New Orleans East. Meet just past the main entrance on the right or take the complimentary shuttle from Joe W. Brown Rec Center, 5601 Read Blvd., departing at 11:40 a.m.
  • NATURE WALK: noon Feb. 10, Couturie Forest in City Park, 1009 Harrison Ave. Meet at the trailhead for Couturie or take complimentary shuttle from Gernon Brown Rec Center, 1001 Harrison Ave., departing at 11:50 a.m.
  • YOUNG BIRDERS ASSOCIATION: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 14. Teen bird-watching club in partnership with the Orleans Audubon Society. Meet at the Joe Madere Marsh Unit at the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, off U.S. 90 in New Orleans East. Meet just past the main entrance on the right or take the complimentary shuttle from Joe W. Brown Rec Center, 5601 Read Blvd., departing at 9:10 a.m.
  • NATURE WALK: noon Feb. 24, Jean Lafitte National Park Coquille Trail. Meet at the trailhead in the parking lot, found by following Barataria Boulevard all the way into the park, or take the complimentary shuttle from Behrman Rec Center, 2529 General Meyer Ave., departing at 11:30 a.m..

Aquatics

  • SWIM LESSONS AND CLASS REGISTRATION: Through Feb. 14. For ages 6 months and older. The spring 1 session begins Feb. 15. Classes including water babies, swim lessons, aqua fitness and lifeguard classes.

Athletics

  • YLC KICKS SOCCER REGISTRATION: Through Monday. For boys and girls ages 5 to 13. The season begins March 2.
  • TRACK AND FIELD REGISTRATION: Feb. 2-16. For boys and girls ages 5 to 14. The season begins March 21. For playground locations and registration details, visit nola.gov/nordc.

Teens

  • TEEN COUNCIL MARDI GRAS MASQUERADE BALL: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Behrman Rec Center, 2529 Gen. Meyer Ave. For ages 13 to 18. DJ Chicken, photo booth, food, giveaways. Photo ID required.

Free After-School Meals

  • KIDS CAFÉ: Kids Café provides free after-school meals at several recreation centers and playgrounds in partnership with Share Our Strength. Sites are Comiskey Playground, 600 S. Jeff Davis Parkway; Cut-Off Recreation Center, 6600 Belgrade St.; Treme Recreation Center, 900 N. Villere St.; Joe W. Brown Recreation Center, 5601 Read Blvd.; Lyons Recreation Center, 624 Louisiana Ave.; Stallings Gentilly Playground, 2700 Laperyouse St.; and Taylor Playground, 2600 S. Roman St.

Cultural

  • PAINTING WORKSHOP: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Lyons Rec Center, 624 Louisiana Ave. For ages 6 and older at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. All materials provided.
  • PIANO LESSONS: now through May 15. Limited space available for winter session.
  • SENIOR DANCE FITNESS AND ADULT MOVEMENT CLASSES: NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance offers free classes at NORDC Recreation Centers. Register anytime.
  • SENIOR CHOIR PRACTICE: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Joe W. Brown Rec Center, 5601 Read Blvd. Join anytime.
  • CASA SAMBA CLASSES: Lyons Rec Center, 624 Louisiana Ave., and Treme Center, 900 N. Villere St. For all ages. Register anytime.

Fitness

  • FITNESS CLASSES: Fit NOLA Parks offers weekly fitness at Taylor Park, 2600 S. Roman St.; Norwood Thompson Park, 7200 Forshey St.; and St. Roch Park, 1800 St. Roch Ave.
  • ADULT EXERCISE: For ages 18 and older, including cardio and core strengthening exercises. Free classes held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday at Treme Rec Center, 900 N. Villere St.; from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday and Wednesday at Lyons Rec Center, 624 Louisiana Ave.; 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday and Wednesday at Behrman Rec Center, 2529 General Meyer Ave.; and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at Joe W. Brown Rec Center, 5601 Read Blvd.
  • LINE DANCING: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Cut-Off Rec Center, 6600 Belgrade St.
  • KEMETIC YOGA: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Treme Rec Center, 900 N. Villere St.