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Illinois Parks & Recreation
May/June 1995 • Volume 26, Number 3

Jr. High Back to School Bash
by Patti Leach and Julie Palermo

Many come for the food, some come for the sports and activities, but they all come to have fun, visit with old friends, and make new friends. This is the last chance to celebrate the end of summer before returning to school.

This best describes the Lan-Oak Park District's Jr. High Back to School Bash as hundreds of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in Lansing descend upon Bock Park on the fourth Friday of August. They munch on hot dogs, chips, ice cream; drink pop; play basketball, sand volley-ball, softball; participate in relay races; dance to a D.J. in the tennis courts; and take shots at their teachers and school principals in the dunk tank. The event is topped off with a one-hour open swim at Lan-Oak Pool. From 4: 30 p.m. until 9: 00 p.m., everyone is moving, participating, eating, playing, or just having a great time.

More than 170 parents from public and parochial schools supervise, cook, and lead specific responsibilities. The Jr. High Bash is an outgrowth of Lansing's Centennial Celebration held in 1993. It is now an event everyone looks forward to each summer.

Publicity starts in the summer brochure, then press releases are sent out after August 1st. Flyers are distributed to all Jr. High Schools during school registration in August. One of the key factors is to have support and involvement from parents and teachers of each school. Sponsors' donations are used to provide hot dogs, buns, pop, ice cream and chips. The Lan-Oak Park District provides giveaways such as mugs to everyone attending. T-shirts are given to all winning teams, all volunteers, and to every sponsor. Last year's budget exceeded $1, 300.

Parent committees are formed to supervise each activity, with students rotating around to each sport or activity. Of course, the cooks keep the food coming as an average of 950 hot dogs are served between 5: 00-7: 00 p.m.

It is important that only sixth, seventh and eighth graders be allowed to attend. They feel an exclusiveness for that one night to enjoy Bock Park and the Lan-Oak Pool. The high school kids have moved on while the fifth graders can't wait until next year so they can attend.

This year the park district will be taping the Bash to be aired locally on Channel 10. The Bash is held rain or shine, warm or cold. Inquiries have already come in as to the 1995 date—Friday, August 25.

Anyone who would like additional information on the Jr. High Back to School Bash can contact Jeff Boubelik, Director, Lan-Oak Park District, (708) 474- 8552.

Patti Leach was a park commissioner for 25 years and currently serves as a Village of Lansing Trustee. Julie Palermo is a current Lan-Oak Park District commissioner.*


Illinois Parks & Recreation* May/June 1995* 37

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