Weather Updates

Fox Valley Park District offers gifts to last a lifetime

From fitness recreatiopen space preservatiFox Valley Park District delivers gifts year-round more than 230000 residents with Mid-American Canoe

From fitness and recreation to open space preservation, the Fox Valley Park District delivers gifts year-round to more than 230,000 residents, with the Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race (above) on the Fox River each June ranking among the many highlights. | Submitted

storyidforme: 41842298
tmspicid: 15475611
fileheaderid: 7004975


Monday, Dec. 31: Family New Year’s Eve party, Vaughan Athletic Center, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 10: Super Couponing 2: Saving on Everything, Eola Community Center, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Friday through Sunday, Jan. 11-13: Winter Stage presents “Anything Goes,” Prisco Community Center, 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Updated: December 19, 2012 7:33PM

Dad had this corny-but-funny holiday tradition when we were kids. Every Christmas morning, we’d find presents under the tree labeled “To Dad, From Santa.”

My brothers and I eventually realized who Santa was — and how he managed to procure these hard-to-find gifts on Dad’s wish list. Now parents ourselves, we continue the tradition, one that our children, too, will figure out (probably much sooner than we did).

So in that spirit, please allow me to indulge myself with a few gifts from Santa — in this case, he’s disguised as the Fox Valley Park District. It’s been a lifelong association — from a young participant, to a sports reporter who covered these many events and now as one who promotes all the FVPD has to offer for our residents and communities. Here are some favorite gifts:

Swim lessons — Almost 6,000 people learn this vital life skill on an annual basis through Park District programs, and they live safer, happier lives knowing how to swim.

Regional trails — I’m old enough to recall when the Fox River Trail was created, and let me just say, our world-class trail network is one of the greatest recreational gifts out there. They are true sanctuaries for the self-propelled.

Stuart Sports Complex — It is a vibrant community unto itself, pulling in thousands of athletes of all ages and their accompanying fans. With 36 soccer fields and 14 ball fields ready for play in 2014, Stuart will be a regional hub for large tournaments and a terrific boost for the local economy and tourism.

Reciprocal fitness passes — Let’s face it; getting from one side of Aurora to the other can take 20 to 30 minutes. So a transferable pass makes working out at Eola, Prisco or the Vaughan Center pretty darn convenient — and leaves time for Christmas shopping (which I need to begin soon) on the side.

Mid-American Canoe & Kayak Race — A true classic. Best of it all, it celebrates the Park District’s namesake, the Fox River, and the wonderful recreational resource that it is. Mark your calendar for the 52nd running on June 2.

Open space acquisition — I once dreamed of being a forest ranger, so the Park District’s continued mission to preserve our heritage and conserve natural areas is close to my heart. Woods, waters and prairies trump strip malls and subdivisions any day.

Sustainability — From environmentally friendly park design to energy efficient facilities, the Park District is a proud leader in green practices and committed to creating a better tomorrow.

Lippold Outdoor Education Center — Teaching children that a world of wonder exists outside of hand-held devices and gaming systems is increasingly challenging, but this new outdoor classroom — just north of Red Oak Nature Center — will definitely get their attention.

Friendly Center Club — Mick Jagger says it’s a drag getting old, but the Rolling Stones front man might sing a different tune after a visit to this social club for those 55 and better. They definitely know how to live it up!

Blackberry Farm — This iconic, one-of-a-kind historic village has been a treat for generations. The past lives forever here, and now the flashbacks to pioneer days are balanced by new improvements that portend an exciting future where you can actually go back in time while enjoying modern amenities.

Looks like I have a long list of thank-you notes to write. Merry Christmas to all.

Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.