Remember as a child when your parents signed you up for your first sports team or dance class with the park district?
Or that art program where you would make projects that were proudly displayed on the family fridge?
Most kids have enjoyed some kind of park district program growing up, and they remain memories for life that forever bring a smile.
I was that girl in ballet class who was always one step behind the beat, stomping around the dance floor while everyone else glided gracefully. And, yes, that was me -- the one in art class who always had more paint on her clothes than on the paper.
Luckily I had more success in high school when I started playing tennis at the Vaughan Athletic Center. I was fortunate to have such an outstanding facility so close to home.
With all of its programs and events, the park district has always provided me opportunities to be active and involved in recreation. It got even better this summer with my internship as the summer marketing assistant for the Fox Valley Park District.
As I head back to Drake University for my senior year, I return to school with an even greater appreciation for everything the park district provides for our communities.
My first lesson came in June at the Mid-American Canoe and Kayak Race. I was especially excited for this event because I am on the rowing team at Drake and had never been on the officiating side of a race before.
Normally I am the one getting yelled at by my coach over the megaphone, but on that day I was on the other side of the megaphone, counting down the final seconds for each heat at the starting area.
That was probably the most fun I've ever had while working. It also was an event to which I had a personal connection. The best part was the enthusiasm that surrounded the event. Everybody -- participants, spectators and co-workers -- was excited to be taking part in this community event.
Therein lies the most valuable lesson I learned -- the Fox Valley Park District exists to bring together the community, and makes living in our wonderful district as enjoyable as possible. This is definitely "Where Fun Begins," as the tagline proclaims.
It begins with the support and involvement of park district residents. Whether it's a family night at one of our free Concerts in the Park, going to the Summer Stage performance of "Footloose," giving back with the Volunteen Camp or working out at one of the fitness centers, park district residents are energized. Active lifestyles are the norm.
Working as the marketing assistant at the Fox Valley Park District has had a profound impact. Rather than work, my job here has felt more like an adventure in helping people in our communities enjoy life!
It's been an amazing look from behind the scenes to see everything the park district does -- from park projects and improvements to exciting and educational classes to good old fashioned fun at its two water parks, Splash Country and Phillips Park.
I'm proud to have been a part of it, and it made me realize even more how lucky we are to have the Fox Valley Park District and all it provides. Residents here are definitely living the good life.
Kristina Vann is an international business and marketing major at Drake University, where she'll begin her senior year this month.