Barrington Park overstuffed with sports programs this summer
Summertime is supposed to be jammed pack with things to do, and in fact at Barrington Park it turns out there's almost too much, drawing so many people that the district has to sometimes ask for help.
“We offer a ton of amazing programs,” Kent Hengles, athletic supervisor of Barrington Park, told the Lake County Gazette. “You register for only the programs that you want to participate in. Patrons can hand pick the classes they want at the times that work best for them.”
Those activities include everything from martial arts and dodgeball to tennis, basketball, softball, volleyball and golf. There's even self-defense classes for ages 12 and up.
“All of the programs have been around for multiple years," Hengels said. "Martial arts has probably been here the longest. Self-defense has been getting a lot more participation lately. We are marketing to different interest groups. Dodgeball is hit or miss, but is always requested in our ‘generic’ all sports camps. I started the dodgeball class after the movie Dodgeball came out. We saw some great enrollment right off the bat.”
Most of Barrington’s programs are limited to children up to 18 years old, but adult programs include softball, basketball and volleyball.
“We are working on expanding our Pickleball and handball teams,” Hengels said. “We have also started a few more leagues for high school players as well, and those are starting to take off.”
Turnout has been consistent, Hengels said, but with limited court and field space, the park is having to outsource some of the programs to other area facilities.
“We are not able to expand in sports like we want to,” he said. “We have started taking ‘free agents’ to accommodate players that cannot field a full team but are looking to play.”
Barrington offers tournaments for all of its youth programs and the adult sports leagues. Trophies and T-shirts are awarded in the younger programs, while the adults have the opportunity to compete for cash.
“I grew up doing park district activities, and I understand how important recreation is in people’s lives," Hengels said. "I wanted to be part of something that provides a fun and safe environment for families. I’ve seen kids dart out of their mom’s van toward our camps because they couldn’t wait to get there. A mom told me once that her son broke down crying when he found out a class he wanted to be in was full. We found a way to squeeze him in because we never want anyone left out. It just tells me that we are doing a great job providing programs to the community.”