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  • The Sports and Recreation Department is one of the largest departments within the Chicago Park District. Its focus is on the Chicago Park District's main core area of Health and Physical Activities, which accounts for 65% of all Chicago Park District programming opportunities.

    The department consists of five divisions:
    • Beaches and Pools - 23 indoor pools, 53 outdoor pools, 13 pools in schools, and 15 Sports 37 pools (expanding to 26 in 2003), 26 miles of lakefront (including 13 major beaches). The division offers classes and programs including Early Childhood Learn to Swim, Junior Lifeguard, Swim Team, Water Polo, and Aquatic Exercise, all taught by American Red Cross Certified WSI Instructors and Lifeguards. The division trains field aquatic staff in all facets of lifeguard safety and rescue techniques. This division is also responsible for the organization and oversight of local and citywide aquatic competitions and events.
    • Gymnastics - Located in 9 centers throughout the city. The division offers classes at different levels ranging from early childhood (movement education) to elite gymnastics teams taught and coached by USAG Certified Instructors. In this specialized program, 2,500 to 3,000 youth participate per session. Technical support is also available to field staff in regards to their gymnastic programming. The division trains field staff in gymnastics and tumbling. This division is responsible for the organization and oversight of the regional and citywide gymnastics and tumbling competitions as well as the competitive program within each of the 9 centers, preparing athletes for USAG sanctioned meets.
    • Sports & Physical Activities - Sports: supplements the sports and specialty camps offered in the field and provides technical support for field staff in regards to their sports programming. The division trains field staff in all sports offered citywide, in fitness, and in therapeutic recreation. The division is also responsible for running citywide sports competitions and organizing culminating sporting events.
    • Therapeutic Recreation - Conducts assessments for region inclusion aides. Offers on-going staff training. Organizes and supervises Alternative Athletic Conference sports as well as regional adaptive sports. Provides technical assistance to field. Runs orientation for new staff and provides expertise in interviews. Also monitors park usage agency agreements in 19 park sites.
    • Fitness - Focuses on fitness to all ages and levels. We offer several varieties of fitness programs to promote, encourage and motivate the development of a physically active and healthy lifestyle for Chicagoans of all ages. Also aims to help all Chicagoans enjoy a physically active and healthy lifestyle, as well as increased awareness of the importance of exercise and good health.
    • Program Information - Includes the tracking and reporting of all information related to programs, including the breakdown of all class names, inputting of program schedules, target attendance, registration numbers, average daily attendance, and analyzing this program data to be used for budget purposes and programming trends.
    • Sports 37 - The Park District's main teen initiative in partnership with the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Public Library. Currently in 18 schools and parks, expanding to 30 sites in 2004. This division offers two apprenticeships (coaching / refereeing and life guarding) and a club component consisting of fitness activities, intramurals, and field trips.


Facilities and programs include:

  • Auditoriums
  • Baseball
  • Boxing
  • Dog Friendly Area
  • Fitness Centers
  • Golf Courses
  • Gymnastics
  • Gyms
  • In-Line Skating
  • Meeting Rooms/Assembly Halls
  • Men's and/or Women's Locker Rooms/Showers
  • Paths (Jogging/Walking/Bicycling)
  • Swimming Indoor/Outdoor Facilities
  • Tennis Courts