Results from May 3rd "Walk as One" (Beardsley Park / BTW)

On May 3rd, the Champaign Community Coalition organized the first “Walk as One” event in conjuction with the “Supper with the Superintendent”.

I have finally received the feedback that was collect from that event, and I have made it available here (click on the picture above). I was pleasantly surprised to learn that 44 cards were returned. As you can tell, the most predominant need selected (from a list of preset options) was that for summer camp for the child(ren). Quite interesting. The freeform comments run the gamut and also show an interesting cross-section of concerns.

The next big question is “So what?” What was done about all these concerns that were expressed? Are new summer camps being planned? What about the parent that wants to transfer or the one that has questions about registration and curriculum? Has anyone reached out to the self-identified president of the Neighborhood Association?

Overall, fascinating stuff!

Source: Joan Walls, City of Champaign


6 Responses to “Results from May 3rd "Walk as One" (Beardsley Park / BTW)”

  1. pattsi Says:

    Oh, for the days of old, so writes the “community oldie.” When my children were youths, Champaign Park District offered free “day camp” programs at the neighborhood parks. Some were 5 days a week, so 3 days. Young people were employed by the CPD to run the programs. The kids loved the format because they could usually walk, ride a bike, be ridden on another bike to the neighborhood park. Kids create programs, such as the common car wash, to earn monies to take a trip to Six Flags.
    Same with Little League and Babe Ruth summer baseball, long before soccer was on the scene, another free activities save for the mit and shoes. The leagues were structured so the children could get to the playing fields by themselves, mostly by bike with the mit hung over the handlebar and the bat laid across the handlebar. During the intercity tournament later in the summer, distance to the fields increased, but nothing like the children in the north end trying to get to SW Champaign. For two years, I was president of the Little League Am-Tex league that covered north to south Champaign right down the middle of the community. It was a wonderful mix of youth and parents.
    And now there is an indoor soccer venue just off north 45 that it impossible for a child to get to via bike. It is enlightening that the CPD will be putting soccer fields just south of Human Kinetics on north Market, an area with absolutely no athletics fields.
    This distinctive request for free summer programs for youths ought to be given serious thought as to why things have morphed so much away from this emphasis of the CPD.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    I have not yet familiarized myself with the Douglas Center, but don’t they have programs geared for youth? I know they have lots of adult-centric activities, and they open up the center and courts for kids to play if they wish. But anything organized with kids in mind?

  3. pattsi Says:

    If Douglas Center does offer programs, then it is even more interesting that this is by far the most important need based on the survey filled out by people who live within the vicinity of Douglas.

  4. Jackie Says:

    It strikes me as jumping to unsupported conclusions to presume that there is a “problem” with summer day camp options and/or Douglass (spelled with -ss — like in Frederick Douglass). If you look at the timing of this survey (May 3) and the primary audience (parents of school aged children), it doesn’t seem at all surprising to me that parents would be thinking “oh yeah, school is out in a few weeks, I better be getting something lined up” when they see that item as an option on a survey. I suspect if that survey were administered today “summer day camp for my child” would no longer be at the top of the list. Perhaps now you’d see “back to school supplies” at the top of the list . . . I just think that at that time of year, that’s what people were thinking about was getting them signed up for something for the summer.
    There is a summer day camp operated by the Champaign Park District out of the Douglass Center. The fee is $76 per week and I am fairly sure (but not positive) it includes all meals and snacks (in comparison to other “non-specialty” camps that cost about $116 per week–and do not include meals, snacks or drinks–kids must bring their own). The park district offers financial support via scholarships for families who cannot pay, and they also go to great lengths to connect families to the Child Care Resource Service. The CCRS helps income-eligible families by paying for summer child care.
    Other options that I know of just off the top of my head that are available to many Douglass Park area include the Boys and Girls Club, and the Freedom School program that is based a Stratton-I don’t know who exactly operates that program, but I believe they hire from the Regional Office of Ed.

  5. pattsi Says:

    Jackie has made some very solid comments about the manner in which the survey was done. Charles since you participated in this walk, it might be useful for you to write a description as to the methodology used to collect the data–we, etcre the people trained as to how to ask people to fill out the survey, what questions might the surveyors have asked the clients, were the surveys handed out “sort of on the run.” were the surveys handed out hit and miss, how were they collected?
    I learned about several resources from Jackie’s posting. The CCRS concerns me for these reasons–this is housed at the university and it is difficult to ascertain the age range eligible for child care. I also searched for the Freedom School Program here. I could not find any information other than this is a national programs. Some of the aspects mentioned by Jackie such as applying for child care, scholarships to attend CPD programs, etc. all take time that most of these parents do not have. Plus the Don Moyers Club is in such huge transition that it might not have been viable for this summer.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:

    Trained? *laugh* The organizers held a 15-minute quasi-training event right before our walk, but I didn’t get much out of it. And our little group of 5 (or was it 4?) walkers did not stick too closely to it. What we did was knock on a door, say who we are and what we are doing (while the person answering the door gives the obligatory “what do you want, please go away” look), and then asked if the family had any concerns (pointing to the list on the card) or anything we could help with. I think we had two families that elected to provided extra information other than just checking off boxes, after we successfully got past the awkward “no, I am not asking for money” phase.

    Interesting point about the timing; but I use this as a springboard to get back to my point that I made in the original “Walk as One” post – it has to be consistent or else it’s effectiveness is mitigated. If we go back several more times, we not only develop a rapport, but also get a feel for recurring themes.

    In addition to the programs already mentioned, I know of several churches that run day camps and summer camps. It would be interesting to see if churches in the neighborhood of BTW offer summery programs.

    Thanks for correcting me on the spelling of Douglass.

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