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S4 Episode 03: Wood Carving

Award-winning wood carver Shelly Weiser tells how he began carving at age 75, learned from a master carver and teaches kids and adults at the Naperville Park District.

Shelly Weiser with some of his artwork.

This episode is part of Series 4: Senior Adult Connections and Resources.  For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series and to submit ideas and questions, visit

Quote from the episode:

“To create something in art is a good feeling. You start with just a plain piece of wood and you make something artistic out of it. And so, it's very fulfilling for me. I have so much fun. And with the kids, they love it, and it happens with the older people, too.”- Shelly Weiser

The Naperville Park District wood carving drop-in class meets Tuesdays from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center. This is a free activity for adults 50 and over.

Wood carving drop-in class participant, Tom, commented on what he appreciates most about the Tuesday morning carving group:

“I think the biggest thing is the camaraderie: a lot of times, we’ll have a bunch of people here and nobody’s carving anything—we’re just visiting, like the fellow over here talking about his health issues, and things like that. It’s like friends getting together over coffee.  And you can be listening while you’re playing around with your carvings.”

Shelly helping a student in the youth carving class

Register for the fall youth wood carving class here.

Read more about Shelly in the ParkTalk Blog

Watch the video story by reporter Blane Erwin at NCTV-17

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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