May is a busy month at the Carol Stream Park District. We’re preparing for summer programs, planning our fall season and getting ready for our two-day free festival JustPlay! May 18 to 19. This year’s lineup of free sports and recreation activities once again raises the bar.
Organizing a festival with almost 100 things to do and see is no easy feat, and it takes months of work. All year long, our staff seeks out information on national and local trends in sports, games, outdoor recreation and clubs so we can bring something new each year. There are lots of fun and entertaining activities and performers that we come across in our planning. But to make it into JustPlay!, the activity needs to fit our carefully guarded mission for the event.
As a park district, our purpose is to help people live healthy, active lifestyles through public parks and recreation programs. The purpose of JustPlay! is to get people to participate in new recreation programs or groups after the festival. JustPlay! does this by seeking local providers of a variety of new and traditional activities and bringing them together in one place for people to try for free. The goal is attendees get excited by something they tried at the fest, and they sign up for more.
We are passionate about this because it is so good for you. It has been proven time and time again that participating in recreation programs, fitness and sports has multiple benefits for people. It’s good for your mind – improving brain function and creativity – and it can boost school performance. It’s good for your body – all the good things that come with exercise are well-known. And it’s good for your spirit – it relieves stress, helps you meet new friends and is much-needed “me time” that makes life better.
Is JustPlay! fun? You bet! Is it a great way to try out new activities that could become your new lifelong pastimes? Yes! Can it also make you smarter, healthier and happier? It does that, too. We hope we’ll see you there.
JustPlay! will be May 18 to 19 at the Carol Stream Town Center, 960 N. Gary Ave. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
Julie Mason Vogl is director of marketing services for the Carol Stream Park District