By Jodi Triest
You can’t talk about recreation in Schaumburg without acknowledging the enormous contribution of the Schaumburg Park District. For over 40 years, this nationally acclaimed park district has maintained more than 1,000 acres of parkland, organized countless programs and activities for all ages, hosted dozens of events annually, established and expanded huge recreational facilities and contributed to the betterment of the entire community through charitable organizations, fundraisers and foundations.
“Anything you want recreationally and for relaxation, you’re going to find it at the Schaumburg Park District,” said Pat Casler, Director of Communications and Corporate Relations for the Schaumburg Park District. “We’re unique for the wide variety of events, programs and facilities we offer and for how well we match the needs of our community to what we offer.”
Physical activity is at the forefront of the Park District’s programs, and residents can stay fit and have fun in five aquatic and fitness facilities. The Sport Center comprises 100,000 square feet of indoor athletic arenas including 10 basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, a gymnastics center, and indoor soccer and softball fields. The 112,000-square-foot Community Recreation Center houses racquetball courts, a gym, a fitness center, dance and exercise rooms, as well as a professional stage, craft rooms, a senior center and a nursery.
Water Works, the Park District’s premier indoor water park, is being completely remodeled with even more fun features. The aquatic center features three swimming pools, a diving area, multiple waterslides, a play pool and a whirlpool spa.
Another outstanding Schaumburg recreation outlet is the Campanelli YMCA, where members can enjoy all kinds of sports and fitness programs. New to the Campanelli YMCA is the Teen Action Zone, which specifically targets the fitness needs of kids ages 10 to 17.
The Teen Action Zone complements the needs and interests of teens who are not interested in lifting weights but are too old to sit in children’s area. The Zone features flatscreen TVs, Nintendo Wiis and a PlayStation 2 with interactive snowboards.
The Campanelli YMCA reaches out to the community with special events, accessible day care, programs for people with disabilities, and its Strong Kids Campaign, which raises money to support children and families who cannot afford YMCA programs and membership fees. The Strong Kids Campaign ensures that no child is denied a healthy lifestyle or left out of activities because of an inability to pay.
The annual Healthy Kids Day is coordinated by the Campanelli YMCA and open to everyone in the community. Last year, 500 children and their families were greeted by local vendors, received health screenings and participated in various activities. While the kids spend the day having fun, parents are educated about proper eating habits, exercise and nutrition.
Schaumburg is home to an extraordinary network of bike trails, forest preserves and natural conservation projects. Parks throughout the area boast sports fields, playgrounds, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, picnic areas, fishing, gardens and skate parks and more.
Through the Adopt-A-Park program, the Schaumburg Park District encourages local organizations and businesses to monitor parks and initiate beautification efforts, such as planting flowers or picking up litter.
Eighty-five miles of bike paths curve throughout Schaumburg, 11 of which encircle Busse Lake in the 3,700-acre Busse Woods Forest Preserve which includes among its amenities a model airplane flying field.
The Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary is the Schaumburg Park District’s environmental conservation park, made up of 135 acres of fields, forests, marshes and streams. Three miles of handicap-accessible trails wind visitors through beautiful landscapes while the earth-sheltered, passive solar visitor center educates visitors with hands-on exhibits, a museum and a natural history library.
Volunteer and educational programs enhance the Spring Valley experience and encourage Schaumburg residents to participate in the ongoing restoration of the sanctuary. Local school districts especially benefit from the accessibility of information on environmental topics, which is available through field trips to Spring Valley, outreach programs, Scouting and extracurricular programs.
Heritage Farm, an extension of the Spring Valley Nature Center, takes visitors back into 19th century Schaumburg, when the village was a simple, rural farm community. Costumed interpreters portray farm families; guests are invited to help with seasonal farm chores, play traditional games and observe livestock and working crops.
“At any time you can see activities such as farmers milking cows, women cooking on a wood stove or people making soap by hand,” said Casler.
For those looking forward to a leisurely afternoon on the links, the 27-hole Schaumburg Golf Club features bent grass fairways, USGA tees and greens, practice greens and instructional areas. The Daily Herald ShootOut-ING, a major fundraiser for the Schaumburg Park Foundation, takes place here every year.