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January News 23

Monthly HighlightsDid you know we have 9 eNewsletters to sign up for? Stay up-to-date with all Champaign Park District news by subscribing to more mailing lists!


Champaign Park District facilities may have different hours during the holidays. Plan ahead and check out our Holiday Hours!  


Youth & Teen

3rd-5th Grade

Girls on the Run is an afterschool program unlike any other. We are proud to be one-of-a-kind, just like the incredible girls we serve. This program utilizes a research-based curriculum that inspires confidence through:

  •  Fun, physical movement-based activities
  •  Group discussions that teach social-emotional skills
  •  Team-building exercises that unlock empathy and inclusion
  •  Setting goals in preparation for a celebratory 5K event, which will be the Christie Clinic Illinois Race.
  • Each participant gets a t-shirt and a water bottle.

Registration: Opens January 6 and closes February 7. Register at BOTH www.girlsontherunofchampaigncounty.org and the Champaign Park District.

Date: February 13 – April 26 
Day: Monday/Wednesday
Time: 4:30-6p
Location: Martens Center 
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3843

Ages 12-15

Looking to get out of town and go on an adventure? We will explore together and try it all on a Thrillcation. Each participant should pack a lunch and snacks.

1/4 | Zip City, Indianapolis

Dates: January 4
Deadline:  December 28
Fee (R/NR): $66/$99
Location: Depart from Douglass Community Center
Questions: lynne.franco@champaignparks.org or 217-398-2573

Ages 2-4

It’s preschool 101! Each week, the class will focus on a specific theme such as safety, exercise, science, manners, the alphabet, numbers, and colors. The classes will center on small and large motor skills, sensory experiences, and socialization skills. Kids will have so much fun, they won’t even know they are learning! Parents may participate with their child.

  • January 9 – February 27* | Deadline: January 1

No Class*: January 16, February 20
Location: Springer Cultural Center
Time: 9:30-10:15a
Fee (R/NR): $45/$67.50.
Questions: melanie.kahler@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3919

3rd-7th Grade

Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Mathematics. It’s Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead! Various science organizations from UIUC, in partnership with X-Time, are excited to introduce you to the wonderful world of STEAM and all that it entails. This is NOT a drop off event.

  • January 5 | Deadline: December 29
  • January 19 | Deadline: January 12

Day: Thursday
Time: 4:30-6p
Fee: FREE, but registration is required for each session
Location: Martens Center 
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3973

1st-3rd Graders & 4th-6th Graders

Do you enjoy creating, building, and imagining with LEGO? Join us for our monthly LEGO Club! Learn engineering and design skills through guided hands-on exploration. Create animals, buildings, simple machines, transportation, and build your own LEGO creations.

1st-3rd Grade
Date: January 11
Day: Wednesday

4th-6th Grade
Dates: January 23
Day: Wednesday 

Time: 4:30-6p
Location: Martens Center
Fee (R/NR): $25/$37.50
Deadline: January 18
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3973

Three volunteers pictured together
If you are at least 13 years of age, enthusiastic, hardworking, and willing to learn, we can coordinate volunteer hours for you. This is a great opportunity to acquire new skills, gain valuable work experience, and complete high school volunteer hours. Teen volunteers are permitted to work a maximum of 25 hours per week. A waiver must be printed, signed and mailed/dropped off:

Volunteer Coordinator – Jarod Lake
Hays Recreation Center
1311 W. Church St., Champaign IL 61821

For more information, please contact Jarod at volunteer@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3926

Sports & Fitness

Ages 13+ (unless supervised by an adult)

Shake off the winter blues and embrace this winter run! Don’t (snow)flake out your fitness routine, test your endurance in this Frozen 5K. Participants will receive race swag to display your frost fortitude.

Refunds will not be available to registrants beginning December 20, as race hats and mugs will be ordered. If refunds are requested before December 20, there will be a $5 fee. If the event is cancelled due to poor weather, refunds will not be offered, but race gear can be picked up at the designated Park District facility.

*NEW LOCATION*: Carle at the Fields

Date: January 14
Time: 9a
Fee (R/NR): $30/$45
Deadline: December 20 to get a winter hat and mug.

  • Registration will stay open online until Friday, January 13 at noon to get race hat and mug.
  • On-site registration, 8-8:30a (race swag not promised)

Questions: jimmy.gleason@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3825

Hey adults, let’s get moving! Who says recreation is just for kids? Here are some fun adult activities to do this Winter/Spring.

1st-8th Grade

Get ready to fast break your way to fun! The Youth Hoops Basketball Leagues emphasize the fundamentals of basketball while having fun and learning sportsmanship. All players will receive approximately equal playing time. Each league uses different rules, basketballs, and basket heights chosen specifically to encourage skill development and success.

  • Deadline to Register – Tu, January 3
  • Coaches Meeting – January 10
  • Coaches Contact – Week of January 9
  • Practices Begin – Week of January 16
  • Games Begin – January 28

Fee (R/NR): and Deadline: $75/$112.50 by January 3
Game Day & Location: Games begin the last Saturday in January and will be played on Saturdays. Locations are TBD.

Questions: cody.flowers@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3983

Ages 3-6

Bitty Ballers is a program is designed to help children learn basic dribbling, passing, and shooting skills using our mini basketball hoops and lowered rims.

AgesDateDay TimeDeadline
5-6Apr 15 - May 6Saturday9:30-10:15aApr 1

Location: Martens Center
Fee (R/NR): $46/$69
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3973

Burn and Blast is a sweaty fun time. This class is filled with multiple interval sections that target your legs, arms, and core for a full-body burn! The intervals will vary between body weight/cardio moves and weight training. There are plenty of modifications to adapt to beginner/advanced, come as you are regardless of where you are on your fitness journey! Please bring your own mat.

  • January 11 – February 15 | Deadline: January 5

Day: Wednesday
Time: 6:45-7:15a
Fee (R/NR): $90/$135
Location: Martens Center
Instructor: Sophie Richardson

Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3973

Feel the burn and have some fun in this hybrid workout class. Combining ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, dance, yoga, and strength training, barre is the perfect full-body workout. Please bring your own mat

  • January 12 – February 16 | Deadline: January 5

Day: Thursday
Time: 5-5:45p
Fee (R/NR): $90/$135
Location: Martens Center
Instructor: Sophie Richardson
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3973

50 Plus!

Join our 50 Plus Program! Socialize, adventure, and learn with the Champaign Park District! 


  • Discounted rates on many programs at both Hays Recreation Center (HRC) and Douglass Annex (DA).
  • Free admission to several annual events, plus these programs: Cards and Games, Bridge Group, Bunco, Trivia, Wii, Chair Exercises, and Munchies at Hays (HRC); Open Game Day, Chair Exercises, and Computers 101 (DA).
  • Members get advance registration for the yearly senior trip.


  • Fresh coffee weekday mornings.
  • Table area to play cards/gather (based on availability).


It’s easy to become a member! Register at any Champaign Park District facility, and you’ll be entered into our system to automatically receive member discounts on programming. Membership is nontransferable.

Join us for our Munchies Monthly Picnic where we will discuss the latest topics on current events, jokes, poems, and more will generate the conversation at this lunch gathering. Bring a sack lunch and we’ll provide additional munchies to enjoy.

  • January 9

Day: Monday
Time: 12-1p
Location: Hays Recreation Center
Questions: call Jean at 217-239-1152 or email at veronica.cousett@champaignparks.org

Sign up in the Senior Binder at the Hays Center

Enjoy a delectable, leisurely lunch with friends. Pass around pictures of grandkids or share a funny story. There’s nothing like bonding over a meal! Meet us at the restaurant.

Date | Location | Deadline  

  • January 11 | Hays (ordering Jimmy Johns) | Deadline: January 10

Day: Wednesday
Time: 11a
Fee: Cost of your meal
Questions: call Jean at 217-239-1152 or email at veronica.cousett@champaignparks.org

Sign up in the Senior Binder at Hays Recreation Center or call 217-239-1152

Better Health provides nutrition information, tasty, low-cost, nutritious recipes, and tips on staying physically fit. This class is specifically designed for seniors. Each class will cover new and different information – try one or more!

  • January 9 | Deadline: January 4

Day: Monday
Time: 11a-12:20p
Fee (R/NR): FREE!, but registration required for each date
Location: Martens Center
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3843

We cover it all, from your favorite classics to new premier movies at our Movie Mondays. Come view a different movie every Monday and we will provide the popcorn and beverages.

Date: January 16
Day: Monday
Time: 12p
Fee (M/NM): Free/$3 per session
Location: Douglass Annex
Questions: call Robert at 217-819-3961 or email at robert.white@champaignparks.org

Events & More

Champaign Park District’s Board of Commissioners has selected Sarah Sandquist as the new Executive Director. Sandquist will replace current director Joe DeLuce, who will retire on December 31, 2022 after 25 years with the Park District, nine of which he served as Executive Director. Under DeLuce’s leadership, the Champaign Park District has consistently been recognized for its outstanding service to our community by state and national park associations.

“I am honored and thrilled to be joining the award winning team at the Champaign Park District. I look forward to leading the District into its next chapter, by providing a high level of service and value to our residents,” said Sandquist. “Champaign Park District is a nationally recognized organization known for providing high quality, innovative, and engaging programs for the community. I was very impressed with interactions with staff, quality of facilities, and number of programs the District offers annually. I look forward to working with the board and staff, and interacting with residents.”

Champaign Park District facilities may have different hours during the holidays. Plan ahead and check out our Holiday Hours! Want to stay on top of unplanned closures and cancellations? Become familiar with our Rainout Line >> for facility closures & weather cancellations.

All Ages

Come celebrate Noon Year’s Eve Day event on New Year’s Eve! This celebration is a family-friendly event for children to experience the New Year’s Drop with their family at noon rather than having to stay up until midnight. Noon Year’s Eve includes activities, music, crazy hats, noisemakers, a countdown to the big moment, and a drop of thousands of balloons. Registration required.

Time: 11a-12:30p
Fee (R/NR): $4/$6. Martens Member: $2
Questions: katherine.hicks@champaignparks.org or 217-819-3843

Neon sign that says Winter Nights with Champaign Park district tree logo.

Enjoy holiday lights every Thursday through Sunday from 5-9pm until December 31, 2022 at Prairie Farm. This will be an accessible experience featuring festive light displays throughout the farm. Free hot cocoa will be available on Friday and Saturday nights thanks to the Champaign Parks Foundation. Donations encouraged to help support Winter Nights at Prairie Farm!

*CLOSED ON: December 24 & December 25

Come work at Sholem Aquatic Center, CUSR, Summer Youth Programs and more this summer. Learn valuable skills, gain experience, and most importantly, HAVE FUN! Summer hiring opens on December 28th

Do you enjoy working with kids? Join our staff at Busy Bees Preschool! This is a perfect way to get experience in early childhood education. Help provide a warm, caring environment where both parents and children feel comfortable, safe, and happy. Apply today!

Looking for some new coloring sheets? We have some coloring sheets inspired from various Champaign Park District facilities and programs drawn by local artists! Download these coloring pages for free by clicking the link below.

What’s better than FREE? Click below for a list of free activities for you and your family to enjoy at the Champaign Park District!

Because some residents are unable to participate in recreation programs due to economic hardship, the Champaign Park District offers scholarships to reduce certain fees and charges. We now offer both scholarship and registration forms in Spanish! Fill out the form and submit the completed packet in one of the three ways listed on the form.

Questions: Please call 217-398-2550

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