The Mundelein Park & Recreation District has been chosen as a winner of the Power of Parks Award by the Illinois Association of Park Districts.
The award recognizes IAPD members that have displayed innovative and insightful ways to pivot their programs, events and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mundelein park district did that through free, daily online fitness classes; the GO Mundelein walking program; its transformation of the 41st annual Freedom Classic 5K run into a virtual event; a Mindful Minute video series addressing social/emotional health; virtual programs on topics such as baking, art, dance, language, STEM and sport; and a host of other initiatives.
“Congratulations go to so many people for this team effort during one of the most challenging times,” Executive Director Ron Salski said in an announcement of the award. “I am amazed at the ingenuity of our staff as we continue to develop new ways of keeping our community safely connected through recreation.”
The District’s Marketing Manager, wrote and illustrated, My New Mask, a story to explain to young children why they need to wear face coverings. Staff created a video of the story in English and Spanish. It was later made into a paperback and published on Amazon.com as a fundraiser for Mundelein Parks Foundation. The video has been viewed online nearly 4,000 times and has sold close to 700 copies.
Keeping our community engaged through online fun helped pass the time during Shelter at Home orders. The District posted daily Park District-themed activity sheets, including word finds, mazes, word scrambles, scavenger hunts, coloring sheets, and more. Staff also created a free, downloadable Mundelein Parks Activity Book.
Staff introduced online “Boredom Buster” challenges to keep the community engaged and entertained. Contests included Cake Wars, Art Wars, Best Pet Trick, Best DIY Obstacle Course, Mundelein’s Got Talent, TikTok Dance, Free Throw Challenge, Egg Decorating Contest, Pet Photo Contest, and more.
The District connected our community to a sense of normalcy by offering virtual programs, including baking, art, dance, language, STEM, sports, and bingo.
Dancers in the long-term dance program continued their instruction with classes on Zoom.
Staff reinvented the traditional spring recital into a produced video. They carefully recorded all
routines while dancers wore face coverings and then edited it into a final presentation. The audience socially distanced at an outdoor showing of the recital recording.
To connect our community to celebrations when in-person gatherings were discouraged, staff developed a Porch Party package. A 10 ft. colorful balloon garland was delivered to homes and displayed on porches.
Instead of a Mother’s Day event, staff created Marvelous Moms, a tribute video created with photos and messages submitted by our community. Local businesses partnered with the District and donated prizes for a raffle. Not only did this allow residents to honor their moms,
but it also was an opportunity to bring attention to local businesses during this challenging time.
The District connected with heart through video messages from teachers in their Big & Little Child Development Center and Rec Connection (Before-and-After school care program). To offset isolation, the Adult Recreation Supervisor sent daily email letters to Regent Center members. Staff invited members to submit videos with a message to share with other Regent Center members.
Lastly, the District kept our community informed by producing Director Update videos. These Videos explained changes and safety procedures with the reopening of the Fitness Center, Big & Little Child Development Center, and swimming lessons.