Three DuPage Park Programs Earn State Honors
Byline: Susan Dibble firstname.lastname@example.org
Mikie Rudyk was new in her position as program supervisor in the Villa Park Parks and Recreation Department and wanted to come up with something different for family game night.
The life-size Candy Land game she created last year with the help of Dave Elliott of the parks department was one of three area programs that recently received top honors from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association and the Illinois Association of Park Districts.
In addition to Candy Land, Naperville Park District's Toadstools and Pollywogs Preschool program captured honors in its category, as did the Southeast Association for Special Parks and Recreation's EAGLES program.
Awards Committee Chairman Rick Missing said divisions are based on organizations' equalized assessed valuations. Criteria for selecting winners may include goals and objectives, publicity, budget, community involvement and originality, he said.
Rudyk said the life-size Candy Land, based on the classic board game, provided affordable fun for the whole family.
"It's been around for ages. Kids, parents and grandparents can relate to Candy Land," she said.
Rudyk traced the characters on plywood that Elliott cut out and painted in bright colors. Elliott said the 12 characters ranged in height from 2 1/2 feet to 5 feet, 4 inches.
"The game itself took up half our gym," he said. "It's impressive."
First offered last February, the recreation department added a second date to meet demand. Roughly 130 families played. The characters may be seen again at this year's Candy Land from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, in the Iowa Community Center, 338 N. Iowa Ave., Villa Park.
Participants go through the game as a gingerbread boy or girl in groups of four.
"It really gives the younger kids the feeling they are in the game," Rudyk said.
Before their trek through Candy Land, kids participate in theme-related activities such as making lollipops and decorating cupcakes.
Preschool coordinator Leann Skinner credits Naperville Park District's early childhood program manager, Sandie Gilmer, with coming up with the idea for Toadstools and Pollywogs Preschool. Now in its second year, it was one of the first nature-based preschools in the state.
"All the ABCs and 1,2,3s are covered, but it's a nature theme," Skinner said. …