Gurnee Park District News

This July, We Are Parks and Recreation at Gurnee Park District


Month-long celebration highlights the essential services of local parks and recreation. 

This July, join us for Park and Recreation Month, as we celebrate the selfless, passionate and essential work of park and recreation professionals who are providing services that are vital to the health of Gurnee.

Four Gurnee Park District employees are honored this month by National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) for their dedication and service to the Gurnee community. Congratulations are in order to Sabrina Hinkens, Youth Program Supervisor, Elaine Fox and Robin Pfenning, Growing Tree Preschool Teachers and Kim McCormack, Business Services Coordinator.

Sabrina Hinkens
Youth Program Supervisor  

Sabrina's contributions to the community and Gurnee Park District are significant. Each summer, 800-900 campers enjoy field trips, the aquatic center and Gurnee parks.

Sabrina continues to be a leader in the field, providing innovative experiences that campers will never forget. The fun is delivered through her camp staff. Sabrina hires, trains, motivates and supervises 145 summer staff members. Throughout her career, she is always humbled by children who join camp as kindergartners continuing through teen camp, and then apply to be camp counselors. Many enjoyed their experience so much that they can't wait to have the same positive impact on the community. Sabrina's leadership, passion and dedication provides the best camp experience for all!

Kim McCormack
Business Services Coordinator

Kim supports Gurnee Park District behind the scenes as the Business Services Coordinator. She works hard each day as an integral role of the Business Services Team. 

Kim sees her role as an opportunity to serve the community she is proud to reside in. Every customer is treated with the highest respect, thanks to Kim's great attitude, tactful problem solving skills and passion for service. Her career with Gurnee Park District grew from a part time role, to her current role as Business Services Coordinator overseeing all day-to-day financial operations. From employee communication to program registration, Kim is able to serve the Gurnee community by continuously learning and providing the best customer service each and every day.

Elaine Fox and Robin Pfenning
Growing Tree Preschool

With 14 years of teaching experience, Ms. Elaine and Ms. Robin's infectious energy has had a lasting impact. 

Current preschoolers attend everyday with excitement, ready to learn, grow and play. Returning students look to reconnect and share how they were inspired at such a young age. Parents are proud to send their children to a positive and innovative preschool classroom, led by two talented and compassionate educators. Ms. Elaine and Ms. Robin positively impact not only children's lives but the entire family. With consistent communication and feedback, teachers and parents truly work hand in hand to enhance creativity and learning in an inclusive and welcoming classroom. Gurnee Park District cannot thank Ms. Robin and Ms. Elaine enough for their years of dedication, love and confidence that is devoted to each and every Growing Tree Preschool student.

Sabrina, Elaine, Robin and Kim are just a few of many exceptional employees that provide safe programs and recreational opportunities for Gurnee. Everything from health and wellness to athletics, to updated program offerings that align with phase 4 of Restore Illinois, there are plenty of ways that you can celebrate with Gurnee Park District this month!

"It has been heartwarming to witness the level of resilience and compassion among our staff especially during these [pandemic] times. Although we are not sure what each day will bring, I am confident in knowing that our people are dedicated to the safety and well-being of our community members, partners and each other. If anything, times like these have shone an even brighter light on those characteristics that I knew already existed within our parks and recreation community," share Majeeda Purnell, HR Generalist. 

NRPA encourages people that support parks and recreation to share their park and recreation story, as well as why their local park and recreation professionals are important to them, with the hashtag #WeAreParksAndRec.

NRPA also encourages people to get creative throughout the month by participating in the Thank a Park and Rec Pro contest. Film a video thanking a park and recreation professional in your community for the services they provide and post it on social media using the hashtag #ThankAParkAndRecPro for a chance to win prizes throughout July.

To learn more about Park and Recreation Month, visit

About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit


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Friday, December 4 2020

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