The Fox Valley Special Recreation Association has been bestowing this award on member agencies for at least ten years, according to Carolyn Nagle, Executive Director. Member agencies include the Batavia, Fox Valley, Geneva, Oswegoland, St. Charles and Sugar Grove Park Districts and the South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department.
Nominations are made by the FVSRA staff who decides as a team which member agency best fits the criteria. Member agencies are bound by a joint agreement to offer a varied range of recreational activities that will allow residents with disabilities to participate in and enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. These programs include opportunities for learning, play, socialization, skill development and fitness, as well as fostering a sense of independence and full participation in the community at large.
In determining each year's award winner, the FVSRA staff determines how well member agencies have fulfilled the partnership mission and considers ways in which an agency has exceeded those requirements. This might include a member agency opening up additional time slots for existing programs in order to better accommodate participants' schedules or identifying new resources within the community that will help support the FVSRA mission, according to Nagle.
"It is always a difficult task to decide which of our seven member agencies will be selected to receive the Member Agency Award, as we are extremely appreciative of all the support provided by our members," said Nagle.
In honoring the St. Charles Park District for its efforts this year, Nagle cited the ongoing support provided by the Park District for various FVSRA operations, from identifying available facilities that can provide space for its Adult Day Programs to hosting Inclusion Training sessions attended by all member agencies.
The park district was also commended for its role in providing facility space for long-term programs such as Summer Day Camp and Day Break programs as well as assisting with Foundation events such as the Annual BBQ Dinner Bake Sale.
"The St. Charles Park District continually connects us to the St. Charles community and resources," said Nagle.
In her remarks at this year's Appreciation Banquet, Nagle particularly mentioned the efforts of the St. Charles Park District to provide above-and-beyond assistance during the FVSRA's 19th Annual "Day in the Park" event held on July 12, 2017. A severe storm system sought to hamper the festivities this year.
"The St. Charles team didn't' flinch with the situation presented," said Nagle. "The parks crew helped with monitoring safety for lightning in the area and helped set up and take down equipment. The entire Pottawatomie Community Center staff helped us work through an impromptu indoor relocation of the Magic Show, shifting their own camps and programs for our visiting activities. The team was amazing, helping to figure out situations with the FVSRA staff as they developed and making things appear as if they were planned to happen that way."
In accepting the award, Holly Cabel stated that the St. Charles Park District "appreciates the FVSRA for honoring the Park District with the Member Agency of the Year award. We continually work with them through events, inclusion services and projects. They are an extremely valuable community resource."