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Gestautas: Tri County SRA reflects on 2013 and the year to come

Community voice

The end of the year is always a time to take pause and assess – to count your blessings and look back fondly on memories.

As we look back on 2013, we see it was an exciting year with a lot of new things going on, including successes for our participants, staff and friends. I hope you have learned about a few of them here in this column. We have had participants win awards, sports honors and even a legislative victory for students with disabilities.

Our disability awareness program was started to help our community learn about what it is like to live with a disability. We recently launched “Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies,” with our cooperative member agencies. It sets out to specifically assist veterans in fitness and friendship.

Shortly after the holiday 2012 season, we began planning our annual bowling fundraiser (which has been taking place in February – brrr!). We decided, for 2014, to move bowling to springtime.

So, this Feb. 22 we will host, along with Romeoville Chamber of Commerce, a Trivia Craze fundraiser. It looks to be a fun night and, we’re hoping, a successful one, too. If you’re not familiar with the concept, a trivia night pits groups of folks against each other to answer questions asked in categories. You can sign up as a team of eight or come in a smaller group and we’ll help you form a team of new friends. Everyone is an expert at something, so bring your “experts” and let’s have a great evening full of laughs together. And don’t forget about bowling later in the year! Watch our website for all fundraising and other updates.

Last year’s Summer Day Camp not only provided our school-age participants with a rewarding group of activities after school adjourns, but it gave our part-time staff a wonderful opportunity to log in hours of experience running it. And we all got to enjoy the talent show that caps off the camp experience.

If you know someone, or if you would like to help us out, part-time or volunteer, please look at the applications available to download from our website. By the way, our website was newly designed in the past year and it has so much information on it. News and events are updated often, so you can stay in touch with us.

Summer brings our year-round program of sports outdoors. Did you know that you can have a chance at competing in the Special Olympics by participating in our programs? There is quite a spectrum of sports available. Why not give it a try? Many of our participants have scored great successes and I’m sure all will testify how much fun it is.

If you attend any of the summer parades and festivals, chances are, someone from Tri County SRA will be there. Our seasonal program guides list the activities and programs that are coming up. Our staff works year-round to bring new ideas and to raise the excitement level of what we offer to the community. We have many programs that families and/or siblings can sign up for with our participants. Program guides can be downloaded from our site or picked up at our office or at your local member agency.

Looking back on 2013, it is with great warmth and gratefulness that we thank all who support us in so many ways. Good luck to all in 2014.

Karen Gestautas is the public information coordinator for the Tri County Special Recreation Association.

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