Originally from the city of Anaheim, California, Ginny Batemen moved to Illinois 39 years ago. After completing her education at California State University, Chico, she completed her internship in Recreation Administration at the Schaumburg Park District. After working part time at both the Schaumburg and Palatine Park Districts for 5 months, she interviewed Oswegoland Park District with Ford Lippold and Bert Gray. Thirty-eight years later, here we are. I was able to sit down with Ginny and reflect on some of her favorite parts of her time with us and find out what she hopes to do once she retires at the end of this year.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The people who work here. I think we have people who are uniquely and specially committed to serving our community. I think that we make a difference in our community, and our people, programs, and parks create a spirit in our community that is unique.
What’s an early memory you have of your time here?
During my initial interview for my position I was asked if I could teach fitness classes. They didn’t ask if I had ever taught one, but I was pretty sure I could figure it out. (This was before fitness programing was a thing.) I drove to the library, got a couple of books, and made up my routines.
How did your fitness class go?
I don’t think anybody got hurt, so that’s good!
Do you have any favorite program memories?
A long time ago we used to store extra materials from classes in the women’s locker room at the pool during winter months and then shuffle it all to Room Three during the summer. Since we hardly ever threw anything away, we had a mish-mash of supplies, and “Craft Madness” was born. We would set up a bunch of tables in Room 1 and set out all the supplies. Kids would sign up and create whatever they could think of. It was so fun to see kids use their creativity freely.
What are your plans once you retire?
Swimming! I am signed up for an open water swim trip to Greece. I’ll be swimming up to 3.2 miles per day in the Ionian Sea. It’s sort of a bucket list trip for me. I love being in the water, and the travel will be a bonus. I’ll be working out and doing yoga too, before and after the trip. I want to stay active!
Do you plan on being active with the Park District once you retire?
Of course! I’ll volunteer as I can, I especially love PrairieFest.
Where will you be at PrairieFest?
I am going to be a table washer! It’s the perfect position because you get to listen to the music, engage with folks, and you get instant gratification from people happy to have you wipe powdered sugar from their table.
If you could tell your 25-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t work quite so many hours. The work will never, ever be all done. Do other things you love.
Ginny has been an integral part of the Oswegoland Park District during her time here. From helping to grow our parks, establishing races, lending a hand at Prairiefest, to overseeing a number of departments, she’s seen it all. From all your friends at the Park District, we hope you enjoy your retirement doing the things you love and spending all the time you can with your family, you’ve earned it. Congratulations!
“Life isn’t if. Life isn’t when. Life is here. Now. This.”