For Immediate Release
Heather Weishaar
[email protected]

Woodridge Park District Employee Recognized at IAPD/IPRA Annual Conference


La Grange IL, January 2022 – On January 28, 2022, the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA) honored Julie Rhodes from the Woodridge Park District,  for her commitment and excellent service to parks, recreation, and conservation in Illinois. Ms. Rhodes was recognized during the IPRA Awards Program at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

IPRA Community Impact Award: Julie Rhodes

The IPRA Community Impact Award is presented to a current Illinois park and recreation professional who has made a significant impact in the community they serve through their involvement with local, community, non-profit, and business organizations or government agencies. This award celebrates those professionals who are not currently executive directors, recognizing their important impact to our field.

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 has acted as the Special Events Coordinator for many events such as Woodridge's annual community Jubilee festival, the annual Oktoberfest event, and the annual Haunted Forest Walk. She has supervised their Golden Years Senior program, and currently manages the operation of the Fred C. Hohnke Community Center. Despite her busy schedule, Julie always finds the 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 even the Easter Bunny. 

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 every day for two months, typical of her teamwork attitude. Julie is a member of IPRA and the Suburban Park and Recreation Association (SPRA). She is also a founding member of the Women in Leisure Services (WILS), and very involved with programming and member engagement for that group. Outside of work, Julie is well-known throughout the community due to her willingness to volunteer her time. She was a member of the Woodridge Jaycees and has participated at Chamber of Commerce events. Julie is a volunteer at the annual Woodridge Rotary Club Mini-Triathlon fundraising event. Julie has helped out 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 for 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 separate 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, but her great example and positive impact on both the Woodridge Park District and the Woodridge community will live on for many years to come.

‘I congratulate Julie on receiving this award! Her energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to her profession, agency, and community are exemplary and a true embodiment of the spirit of an IPRA member.’ – Barbara Arango, CAE, IPRA Executive Director

A complete list of IPRA Award winners is available on the IPRA website,

Established in 1944, the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA) serves nearly 2,500 park, recreation, and conservation professionals throughout the state, and is a national leader in providing premier education, networking, and resources. For more information about IPRA, its board and mission, please visit the IPRA website: