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Naperville Park District Softball Players Win 3rd Gold Medal at National Senior Games

Eight senior softball players who enjoy a casual pickup game with the Naperville Park District’s Men’s 50+ League at Gartner Park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings also enjoy competition. In addition to being part of the Park District’s softball program, they all play on a regional team, the Challengers, that is part of Senior Softball USA. The Park District just learned that the Challengers won the gold medal at the 2019 National Senior Games held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and that this is their third consecutive gold medal, winning as a 65+ team in 2015 and a 70+ team in 2017.

The eight Naperville players on the Challengers team are: Chris Argianis, John Fieser, Rich Fleming, Steve Gadja, Larry Hall, George Pappas, John Patti (manager), and Tom Vancura.

According to team manager John Patti, there were several exciting moments in this year’s national competition. “In the third game, the Challengers trailed the Four Seasons (from Washington/Oregon) by 8 runs going into their last at bat,” said Patti. “With two outs and still trailing by 6 runs, 85-year-old Chris (one in a million) Argianis stepped to the plate and hammered the ball deep into right center field for a grand slam.  The inspired team then scored three more times for the victory.”

With a batting average of over .600, the team looks forward to competing in the 2021 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“We are proud of these players,” said Program Manager Brock Atwell, who oversees adult athletic leagues and other programs for the Park District. “They prove that softball is a lifetime sport, not only by their performance in competition but also by their participation in the pickup games at Gartner Park.”

The Naperville Park District plans to recognize the eight softball players at the December 12, 2019 park board meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle Street.

The Men’s 50+ Softball League is an example of the activities available through Naperville Park District for seniors who want to be active as much as possible and enjoy camaraderie with other athletes. The League plays from May through mid-October.

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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