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Honoring Marge Wehrli Walsh: Centennial Beach’s First Female Lifeguard

Marge Wehrli Walsh, the first female Centennial Beach lifeguard, just turned 95, and was honored on May 12 by the Naperville Park District for her history-making service. 

The oldest living member of the Wehrli family, Marge was surrounded by her family at the Park Board meeting when Board President Mike Reilly read Resolution #16-04 congratulating Marge on becoming the first woman to serve as a lifeguard at Centennial Beach. She worked as a lifeguard during the height of World War II, from 1942-1945, as Naperville’s own “Rosie the Riveter,” pioneering new roles for women.

 Fox 32 News captured on video the surprise presentation of a special Adirondack chair for Marge, painted in the colors of Centennial Beach lifeguard uniforms, complete with a dedication plaque. The story also was covered by ABC-7 news and the Naperville Sun.  The video recording of the entire meeting by Naperville Community Television Channel 17 is available here.

Marge plans to use the chair this summer when she visits Centennial Beach, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary. The Beach welcomes long-time members, including Marge and the “Beach Bums,” as well as kids and adults of all ages.  The Beach opens Saturday, May 28 and offers both daily admission for residents and nonresidents and season memberships, which are now on sale through May 27 and pay for themselves in as few as 6 visits.


Join us for an exciting 85th anniversary season at Centennial Beach!

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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.
© 2021 Naperville Park District