Dictionary giant Merriam-Webster’s second definition of the word “inclusive” reads: “…accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability).”
With that in mind at last month's board meeting, the Skokie Park District’s Board of Commissioners added the word “inclusiveness” to the district’s core values.
“The Skokie Park District has been actively working to create inclusiveness in our programming, events, parks and facilities for more than five decades now,” said board president Mike Reid. “This new step gives a name to that work as part of our vision, mission and values.”
Reid also said, “I would take that dictionary definition even farther by saying that our staff honor and celebrate all people, regardless of age, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, political affiliation, or special need.”
The Skokie Park District indeed has a long history of working for inclusion, from its 1972 partnering to form the Maine-Niles Association of Special Recreation (MNASR) (which provides recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities), to co-founding the Skokie Festival of Cultures in 1991, to creating Skokie Pride Day in 2019.
“We are proud of our staff and our board for leading the state in park district inclusion,” said executive director John Ohrlund. “This addition to our written core values will only strengthen staff resolve to continue to find ways in which to reach out with diverse programming opportunities in Skokie.”
The Skokie Park District Vision, Mission and Core Values statement now reads as follows:
The Skokie Park District envisions a community where all of its residents enjoy a high quality of life through leisure time pursuits, beautiful open spaces, and first-rate facilities.
The Skokie Park District will realize its vision through teamwork, community partnerships, sound fiscal management, and creativity in every area of its operation.
The Skokie Park District will fulfill its mission through:
- Environmental Stewardship
For more information regarding the Skokie Park District and its vision, mission and core values, email John Ohrlund.