On January 28, 2022, Assistant Superintendent of Recreation and Safety Coordinator Julie Rhodes received the 2021 Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) Community Impact Award at the annual state park and recreation conference in Chicago. This statewide award recognizes her leadership and positive impact on the community and is given to only one park and recreation professional each year.
As the Assistant Superintendent of Recreation and Safety Coordinator, Julie Rhodes has worn many hats over the years for the Woodridge Park District. During her long and exemplary career, Julie served as the special events coordinator for many annual events such as Woodridge’s community Jubilee festival, Oktoberfest, and Haunted Forest Walk. She supervised our Golden Years program, and currently manages the operation of the Fred C. Hohnke Community Center. Despite her busy schedule, Julie always finds time to volunteer at different programs and special events and has been known to dress up as Santa Claus, one of Santa’s elves, and the Easter Bunny. Julie drives the Park District bus for many of our family and senior trips. During the past year when many Park District programs were shut down due to the pandemic, Julie was the first one to step up and assist the maintenance department by jumping on a mower and cutting grass everyday for two months. She is not someone who sits around with nothing to do for very long. Julie is a member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and Suburban Park and Recreation Association and is also a founding member of the Women In Leisure Services and was involved with programming and member engagement for that group.
Outside of work, Julie is well-known throughout the community due to her constant willingness to volunteer her time. She was a member of the Woodridge Jaycees and participated in Chamber of Commerce events. Julie volunteers at the annual Woodridge Rotary Club Mini-Triathlon fundraising event. Julie assisted as a youth soccer coach and found time to volunteer as an usher at a local theatre. She has participated in charity events such as breast cancer walks and the Live Like Mike Foundation Golf event. In 2016, Julie received the Woodridge Mayor’s Community Spirit Award recognizing all of her volunteer efforts.
Julie is a big advocate of recycling anything and everything that can help make the world a better place. She consistently donates blood within her community and has even donated her hair on eight different occasions to Locks of Love to help disadvantaged children who have suffered hair loss as a result of medical conditions and cancer treatments.
Julie’s 31-year career with the Woodridge Park District will be coming to a close in 2022 when she retires in June. Still, her endless energy has set a great example for all to follow, and her impact on both the Woodridge Park District and the Woodridge community will live on for many years to come.