News

Park district offers summer swimming lessons at Bensenville Water Park & Splash Pad

A young child learns kicking skills using a kickboard with the help of one of the park district’s swim instructors.

Bensenville, Ill.— The Bensenville Park District is making it fun and easy to learn to swim by offering swimming lessons for children of various ages and skill levels at the Bensenville Water Park & Splash Pad throughout the summer.

“Swimming might be the only sport or recreation activity that can save your life,” says Manager of Facilities & Special Events Todd Linder, who oversees the water park. “Drowning is still one of the leading causes of accidental death in children, and being able to swim can be an essential life-saving skill in addition to being fun.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more children age 4 and under die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death after motor vehicle crashes for those under 15.

Three different swimming programs are offered: water exploration for children 6 months to 2 years old, preschool for those aged 2-4 and the Bensenville Swim School, with four different levels of instruction for children ages 5-14. Sessions are offered throughout the summer on different days and for different lengths.

Children 6 months to 2 years old and parents are introduced to the pool through gently-structured water play activities that include songs, splashing and fun as part of the Tide Pool Water Explorers experience. Each child is accompanied by an adult in this program, which serves to acclimate children to the water. It is not a water safety or swim instruction class.

Preschool programs include the Jellyfish + Parent and Jellyfish programs. Children and parents enrolled in the Jellyfish + Parent program enjoy many of the same experiences as the explorers but with kickboards, noodles and water toys as they learn basic swimming skills. Swimmers gain confidence in front and back floats, submerging their faces and blowing bubbles, arm movements and water kicks while bonding with their parents. Instructors work with children who have adjusted to the water without a parent in the Jellyfish program, developing a foundation of beginning strokes, kicks and breathing.

The Bensenville Swim School has four distinct levels—Guppies, Turtles, Stingrays and Dolphins—which allow swimmers to build upon specific skills and advance to the next level. Instruction is provided at a 1:6 ratio, and swimmers are evaluated at the start of each session to place them with similar swimmers at their level.

The district also offers private (one-on-one) and semi-private (for two-to-three people) lessons to allow swimmers to hone specific skills. These lessons are grouped in six 30-minute sessions.

Visit BvilleParks.org/parks-facilities/bensenville-water-park/swim-lessons for program information.

Save $10 per session when registering for adventure, discovery, sports and teen camps by May 6

It’s not too late to score summer savings at the Bensenville Park District’s Under the Sun camps. Those enrolling in adventure, sports, discovery and teen camps by Friday, May 6, can save $10 per session.

Under the Sun summer camps are made to cater to children’s unique interests. Each day, campers participate in a wide variety of engaging games, projects, crafts and, of course, swim time at the water park. Camp curriculums emphasize socialization through child-led play which lays the foundation for learning and academic success.

Summer Camp - Nature
Children can explore nature in several summer camps offered by the Bensenville Park District.

“Camp is all about development through experience,” says Lisa Semetko, program supervisor. “All of our activities are based on the concept of child-led play, so kids are developing their social skills and emotional skills; they’re out in nature getting to know their environment, and they’re just having fun.”

The park district offers three camps that run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays for 6-to-10-year-olds—adventure camp, sports camp and discovery camp. Adventure campers’ days are filled with cool crafts, games, new discoveries about their surroundings and nature exploration in addition to swim time. Sports camps cater to those of all skill levels and focus on fun, good sportsmanship and skill development in hockey, soccer, softball, basketball and volleyball in addition to daily swim time. Discovery campers spend the day exploring historic Fischer Farm with fun adventures Tuesday through Friday each week.

Teen leadership camps allow campers to take on the role of counselor-in-training with a program that emphasizes responsibility, respect and cooperation. Participants aged 11-15 will play fun games, compete in sports and tackle challenges as a team and will have weekly swim time in addition to leading younger campers in their activities. The camp runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For younger children aged 2-5, the park district offers tot and sunshine camps at the Deer Grove Leisure Center (DGLC), 1000 W. Wood Street, Bensenville.

Tot camps offer a caring and gentile introduction to the camp experience for two-year-olds with a new and exciting theme presented each week. Campers meet in the Nursery Room from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and enjoy nature exploration, vegetable gardening, water play and visits to the splash pad on hot days. They also play games, get messy with sensory craft projects and have story time.

“We enjoy outside and nature—we sing, we dance, we play,” says Cindy Banazynski, the park district’s lead preschool teacher. “It’s a lot of fun. We try to engage with nature with our youngest group in a safe way.”

The sunshine camp caters to children aged 3-5 and is designed to foster children’s growth and independence through exploration, guest speakers, sports, camp songs and playground time in addition to visits to the splash pad. The camps run from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Tiny Tot Room.

“We are outside as much as possible and want to promote the children’s love and enjoyment of nature,” Banazynski says. “We take turns playing in the sandbox; we run up and down Blackhawk Hill; we can find all kinds of insects. Anything that sparks the children’s interest, that’s what we want to do.”

No matter the camp, all camp counselors are trained to provide a positive camp experience for children. The staff is trained in CPR, AED, first aid and behavior management.

All camps begin Monday, June 6, and each session runs for two weeks. The last session begins the week of August 1. To reserve a child’s place in camp, register in advance at the DGLC with a $25 down payment per session for each child. Each session must be paid in full the Thursday prior to the start of each session enrolled. A pre-camp meeting for campers and parents will take place at the DGLC Thursday, June 2.

Before- and after-camp sessions are also available for children ages 6-15. Before-camp sessions run 7-9 a.m. weekdays and after-camp sessions run 3-6 p.m. Neither these sessions nor tot and sunshine camps are eligible for the early registration discount.

Visit BvilleParks.org/camps for more information about the park district’s summer camps. For tot and sunshine camp program information, go to BvilleParks.org/programs/early-childhood-summer-camps.

Save $10 per session when registering for adventure, sports, discovery and teen camps by May 6

 

It’s not too late to score summer savings at the Bensenville Park District’s Under the Sun camps. Those enrolling in adventure, sports, discovery and teen camps by Friday, May 6, can save $10 per session.

Under the Sun summer camps are made to cater to children’s unique interests. Each day, campers participate in a wide variety of engaging games, projects, crafts and, of course, swim time at the water park. Camp curriculums emphasize socialization through child-led play which lays the foundation for learning and academic success.

“Camp is all about development through experience,” says Lisa Semetko, program supervisor. “All of our activities are based on the concept of child-led play, so kids are developing their social skills and emotional skills; they’re out in nature getting to know their environment, and they’re just having fun.”

The park district offers three camps that run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays for 6-to-10-year-olds—adventure camp, sports camp and discovery camp. Adventure campers’ days are filled with cool crafts, games, new discoveries about their surroundings and nature exploration in addition to swim time. Sports camps cater to those of all skill levels and focus on fun, good sportsmanship and skill development in hockey, soccer, softball, basketball and volleyball in addition to daily swim time. Discovery campers spend the day exploring historic Fischer Farm with fun adventures Tuesday through Friday each week.

Teen leadership camps allow campers to take on the role of counselor-in-training with a program that emphasizes responsibility, respect and cooperation. Participants aged 11-15 will play fun games, compete in sports and tackle challenges as a team and will have weekly swim time in addition to leading younger campers in their activities. The camp runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For younger children aged 2-5, the park district offers tot and sunshine camps at the Deer Grove Leisure Center (DGLC), 1000 W. Wood Street, Bensenville.

Tot camps offer a caring and gentile introduction to the camp experience for two-year-olds with a new and exciting theme presented each week. Campers meet in the Nursery Room from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and enjoy nature exploration, vegetable gardening, water play and visits to the splash pad on hot days. They also play games, get messy with sensory craft projects and have story time.

“We enjoy outside and nature—we sing, we dance, we play,” says Cindy Banazynski, the park district’s lead preschool teacher. “It’s a lot of fun. We try to engage with nature with our youngest group in a safe way.”

The sunshine camp caters to children aged 3-5 and is designed to foster children’s growth and independence through exploration, guest speakers, sports, camp songs and playground time in addition to visits to the splash pad. The camps run from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Tiny Tot Room.

“We are outside as much as possible and want to promote the children’s love and enjoyment of nature,” Banazynski says. “We take turns playing in the sandbox; we run up and down Blackhawk Hill; we can find all kinds of insects. Anything that sparks the children’s interest, that’s what we want to do.”

No matter the camp, all camp counselors are trained to provide a positive camp experience for children. The staff is trained in CPR, AED, first aid and behavior management.

All camps begin Monday, June 6, and each session runs for two weeks. The last session begins the week of August 1. To reserve a child’s place in camp, register in advance at the DGLC with a $25 down payment per session for each child. Each session must be paid in full the Thursday prior to the start of each session enrolled. A pre-camp meeting for campers and parents will take place at the DGLC Thursday, June 2.

Before- and after-camp sessions are also available for children ages 6-15. Before-camp sessions run 7-9 a.m. weekdays and after-camp sessions run 3-6 p.m. Neither these sessions nor tot and sunshine camps are eligible for the early registration discount.

Visit BvilleParks.org/camps for more information about the park district’s summer camps. For tot and sunshine camp program information, go to BvilleParks.org/programs/early-childhood-summer-camps.

Park district golf course to hold May fitting day, Mother’s Day special and family golf night

“Being a park district golf course, we are working hard to get our community and other surrounding communities out to the course to help grow the wonderful game of golf,” White Pines Golf Club PGA Manager Andrew Godfrey says. To that end, the course is offering several special events in the month of May for golfers of many different levels at its facility located at 500 W. Jefferson St. in Bensenville.

The golf club will host the first of several Callaway Fitting Days this summer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the club’s driving range. According to the Callaway website, custom fitting can be one of the most important aspects to improve one’s golf game.

“These demo days give people of all skill levels the chance to try the newest and best equipment on the market and help upgrade their current set,” explains Godfrey. “You’ll leave the fitting feeling confident with equipment that’s customized to your game.”

Visit WhitePinesGolf.com/event/callaway-fitting-days for more information and to register for the event.

Then, the club gives thanks to area moms with its Mother’s Day special—all females get to golf for free all day long on Sunday, May 8. Females of any age may enjoy a relaxing day of golf at White Pines by reserving their tee time in advance on the golf course website. There is a limit of 18 holes. Godfrey feels the special “is a great way to grow the game with women and families, especially in our community.”

Finally, it will be fun for all ages when the club hosts its first family golf night of the summer beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Bring the whole family out for an evening of golf; the tees have been moved up and players can play at their own pace while enjoying a $3 meal deal that includes a hot dog, chips and drink.

“We started family days last year and are excited to offer them once a month for the entire summer this year,” Godfrey explains. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone in a family—no matter the skill level—to come out and enjoy time on the golf course without feeling rushed or pressured by the golfers behind them.”

Fees are just $5 for juniors 17 and under and $10 for adults. Carts are $10 per cart for players and $10 per non-playing rider. For more information, visit WhitePinesGolf.com/event/family-golf-nights.

The White Pines Golf Club’s two 18-hole championship courses, situated on more than 260 acres, has been a favorite among Chicago area golfers since 1928. The public course owned and operated by the Bensenville Park District is an excellent choice for players of all skill levels. Whether it’s an evening at the lighted driving range, a casual round with friends or an outing or special event, White Pines Golf Club offers the perfect setting to get “away from it all.” Course patrons are invited to take advantage of Monday-Thursday tee time specials and to enjoy food and drink at the 37 Bar & Grill. More information may be found at WhitePinesGolf.com.

Free group fitness classes, Cinco de Mayo activities offered at Wood Street Fitness

Fitness de Mayo

Want to try a group fitness class at Wood Street Fitness for free? Well, the Bensenville Park District is offering a fun way to explore these options on Thursday, May 5, as part of its “Fitness de Mayo” celebration.

Stop by the Deer Grove Leisure Center from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. to try a free Zumba® Gold class and stick around for fun Mexican fiesta games, light snacks and a piñata from noon to 1:30 p.m. Patrons are invited to try one of the other classes that day as well. Fees are just $6 for residents and $8 for non-residents. The full schedule for May 5 is as follows, with free events noted:

10:15-11 a.m. CORE FOUNDATIONS with Silvia $6 Res. | $8 Non-Res.
11:15-11:45 a.m. Mexican-fiesta-themed ZUMBA® GOLD with Silvia Free
Noon-1:30 p.m. Mexican fiesta games and piñata Free
6-7 p.m. CARDIO BLAST with Debbie $6 Res. | $8 Non-Res.
7:15-8:15 p.m. Mexican-fiesta- themed ZUMBA® TONING with Traci $6 Res. | $8 Non-Res.

In addition to single class rates, the fitness center offers “core class pass” membership that includes unlimited in-person and virtual classes for $35 per month for residents ($40 for non-residents) or $300 annually, $360 for non-residents. Most classes are offered virtually, and new classes are being offered all the time. A full weekly class schedule is located on the Wood Street Fitness website, WoodStFitness.com/classes.

Wood Street Fitness membership information can be found at WoodStFitness.com. To register, visit the Deer Grove Leisure Center, 1000 W. Wood Street, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

For more than two years, the Bensenville Park District Board of Commissioners have received multiple, unsolicited inquiries from private development companies interested in discussing opportunities to redevelop certain acres of land that comprise the White Pines Golf Club. Given the commissioners’ responsibility to explore any options to improve all facets of the district for the benefit of park patrons, the district has been considering all aspects and implications of a potential sale of up to 125 acres of land currently being used by White Pines. This process is in the initial stages of consideration.

The Bensenville Park District has recognized the complexity of such a possible sale. Accordingly, after receiving legislative authority in late August 2021 to conduct a thorough, inclusive, engaging and fact-based review of the options, the district began working with Springfield on an amendment to extend the expiration date of the authority beyond December 2022. The extension request is being considered by the General Assembly, and the district looks forward to continuing its comprehensive fact-finding studies and engaging residents and other stakeholders during this process.

The Board of Commissioners encourages input from all stakeholders and is grateful for the input it has received thus far. To that end, an information session is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, at the Deer Grove Leisure Center gymnasium to provide an update to the community about the status of proposed options.

Fischer Farm visitors can now learn about the trees through interactive website 

The Bensenville Park District is unveiling a new interpretive tree program at its Earth Day at the Farm event, presented by Grand Subaru of Bensenville, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 23, at Fischer Farm, 16W680 Grand Avenue. Visitors to the farm will now be able to learn about the trees simply by scanning a QR code on signs posted at the farm and accessing the information online.

Each tree has been catalogued and mapped through a Geographic Information System (GIS). Once on the website, patrons click on the tree icons to learn more about the species, leaf type, height, spread and more for each tree on the map. By clicking “more info” in the tree info box, users can learn additional information about the characteristics, care and uses for each tree from the Morton Arboretum website.

The Bensenville Park District currently manages more than 4,000 trees throughout its park system. For nearly a year, the district inventoried its trees and developed its Urban Forestry Management Plan, which details how these trees will be managed for the benefit of the park district and its residents and patrons through 2032. The Board of Commissioners passed the comprehensive plan at its regular meeting March 16, 2022.

The park district was awarded a $20,000 grant to complete tree inventories and develop a management plan for its urban forest in April 2021. Funds were provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Urban and Community Forestry Core Grant Program, and the grant was administered by The Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI). The district contributed an additional $13,000 to cover the fees associated with the tree inventory and management plan conducted and created by Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management.

Earth Day at Fischer Farm volunteers will be helping staff tidy up the prairie, fix up the garden, tend to the animals and many other activities. Participants will receive a special Earth Day t-shirt for volunteering. Water and snacks also will be provided throughout the two-hour event, including an ice cream truck with free ice cream for participants, complements of Grand Subaru.

The dealership, located just a few blocks from the farm at 125 W. Grand Ave. in Bensenville, will be holding a free raffle on-site for participants to win environmentally-friendly prizes. Representatives also will be distributing valuable information about recycling and the new Grand Subaru community recycling drop-off center.

The event is free, but registration is necessary and can be done by phone (630-766-7015) or in person at the Deer Grove Leisure Center, 1000 W. Wood St., Bensenville. Volunteers also may be eligible for community service credit; check with the specific organization to see if this event qualifies. Further information may be found on the park district website.

Bensenville Park District, executive director cited for collaboration at IASA awards breakfast

The Bensenville Park District and executive director Joseph C. Vallez were recently recognized at the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) DuPage County Annual Recognition & Awards Breakfast at the Bloomingdale Golf Course.

Fenton Community High School District 100 nominated Vallez for recognition of his collaboration. The nomination described him as a “community leader” and “champion of children,” noting his leadership among the Bensenville taxing body community as a master planner.

“I am thankful to Fenton Community High School District 100 and Dr. James Ongtengco for the nomination to be honored by the IASA,” Vallez said. “The recognition is a reflection of the vision of our commissioners and hard work of park district employees to make that vision a reality.”

The honor cited the district’s leadership and participation in community vaccination and booster events, facility and park usage, participation in the Bensenville Carnival and adult education initiatives.

In all, 23 people were recognized by school administrators at the April 13 breakfast for their “positive contribution to the success of our districts.”

Meeting moved to 7:30 p.m. at Deer Grove Leisure Center Gym

The Bensenville Park District’s Board of Commissioners has moved its next meeting to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at the Deer Grove Leisure Center Gymnasium, 1000 W. Wood St., Bensenville.

The change was made to accommodate attendance and participation in the Fenton Community High School District 100 Board of Education committee meetings earlier that day as well as increased community participation in recent park district board meetings.

Meeting agendas are posted to the park district website, BvilleParks.org, in advance of each board meeting in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

 

Wood Street Fitness member trains for strength and endurance at center and Varble Park hill

Mark Guido
Mark Guido trains on Varble Hill in preparation for his attempt to summit Mt. Everest.

Bensenville resident and Fenton High School graduate Mark Guido’s flight departs early April 6 as he embarks on his attempt to summit Mount Everest. He’s overcome several obstacles in his six-year-journey, and he’s carrying with him the hopes and dreams of his community and children from across the globe as he reaches new heights.

The 29-year-old discovered his passion—and talent—in 2016, when he embarked on a 110-mile trek through France, Italy and Switzerland. “It was my first time ever leaving the country, and I kind of just was winging it,” he says. “I didn’t really have any training experience for something like this, and I kind of just did it and found out I was very good at doing this stuff. The trek kind of piqued my interest in endurance challenges and things of that nature.”

Not long after, he embarked on a Himalayan adventure that brought him to the shadows of Mount Everest, which led to an invitation to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, where he would experience five major climatic zones—from hot and arid equatorial conditions at the base to arctic conditions at the summit—again without any training program. “It was kind of like off the couch going to Africa to do this climb,” Guido notes with a smile. “I was relying heavily on my youth.”

Mark Guido summits Mt. Kilimanjaro
Guido summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2017

But on that trip to Kilimanjaro in 2017, about 300 feet below the summit, something strange happened: Guido lost complete function of his legs. After a rest, he was able to safely complete the journey to the top, but on the way back down, a fellow climber thought he was having a stroke until his symptoms disappeared at lower elevations.

“It happened very quickly; it’s just it was crazy because everything was going super well and then my health just deteriorated,” Guido explains. “My doctor buddy who I was climbing with noticed, as I was coming back down, my shoulder was slouched to one side and I was hunched over.”

Completing the summit of Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, gave Guido the confidence and desire to complete other expeditions to the highest points on each of the seven continents. He needed a training plan if he was to conquer all seven summits, so he adopted the uphill athlete big mountain training program and began working out at the Bensenville Park District’s Wood Street Fitness Center in preparation to summit Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.

Mark Guido on Stairmaster at Wood St. Fitness
Guido trains for hours at a time on the Stairmaster at Wood Street Fitness

“The training plan is awesome—it’s very focused on uphill endurance, strength and core and muscular endurance as well. I actually come to the Bensenville Park District to do much of my training on the Stairmaster,” he said, citing the center’s convenience and affordability.

Guido departed for Argentina in February 2019, determined to conquer South America’s highest point and “take all that training and test it out on a higher mountain.” Things were going well, and his training regimen that included carrying up to 65 lbs on his back while using the stair climber at Wood St. Fitness seemed to be paying off. He was a bit nervous as he approached the height of the Kilimanjaro peak (19,340 feet), but he had no issues and continued upward with a renewed confidence.

Then, 600-700 feet from the Aconcagua summit of 22,829 feet, it happened again—he lost all function of his legs. He recalls, “I had no idea why; it just happened out of nowhere. I did make it up, I summited safely and I came back down, but again I’m just like, ‘Okay, well, I must not be training hard enough for something like this.’” So he trained harder for the next adventure.

Mark Guido Mt. Elbrus
Mark Guido summited Mt. Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe, in 2019.

In August 2019 he summited Mount Elbrus (18,512 ft.), the highest mountain in Europe, located in the Caucasus mountain range in southern Russia. He climbed two volcanoes in Ecuador later that year in an effort to prepare to summit North America’s highest point, Denali (20,320 ft.) in spring of 2020. At the end of his grueling training program, the pandemic hit, and the expedition to Alaska got canceled.

“It was just extremely frustrating and crushing because I went through this very lengthy training program, and there was no payoff on the other end, so I was in a very dark place after that,” Guido says of the depression he faced for many months following the cancellation. “It was probably one of the worst spots I was in my entire life, so I decided to go get some therapy, which helped a lot, and I ultimately ended up getting diagnosed with depression anxiety and OCD, which was a shocker. It’s something I’ve been living with my entire life, but I was high functioning so it went undiagnosed for many years.”

Guido was reassured by the diagnosis, and the tools he learned in therapy helped him move forward. Eventually, he got to a much better place and refocused on training for his next climb, Mount Everest, in 2021. As the expedition date neared, he got an echocardiogram done in December 2020 to make sure he had no health issues. What the doctors discovered was he had a heart condition called a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)—a hole in the heart that significantly raises the risk of stroke and pulmonary edema at high altitudes. He was given two choices: quit climbing or surgically repair the hole.

“Without any hesitation I jumped on it. I didn’t even think of the potential risk,” he says of the surgery option, noting that doctors also found he had an elongated eustachian valve, which made the procedure more complicated. “I was just so hyper-focused on continuing my passions.”

With surgery out of the way, Guido pivoted to training to attempt the Everest summit in May 2022. He has trained six days a week for three-to-four hours of strength and core endurance. Even during the COVID spikes that caused the Deer Grove Leisure Center to shut down, he trained with a weighted backpack on the Varble Park hill behind the center. “It’s funny because that hill is the hill I used to play on when I was a kid,” he says. “I went to school at Johnson and Blackhawk Middle School, so it’s cool to think of that like this could potentially be one of the reasons—the training on that hill—that I end up summiting Mount Everest.”

Guido speaks to Red Hats
Guido talks about his adventures with the Red Hats senior group at the Bensenville Park District Feb. 7, 2022

Guido has spoken to the Red Hats senior group at the park district about his adventures as well as other community groups such as the Rotary Club, and he’s taking a Bensenville Park District flag with him for a “photo op” when he summits Everest. He says he’s grateful for the support of the people of Bensenville in helping him live his passion: “I just think it’s really cool that I have the support of the community. This is where I grew up; I went to school in Bensenville, and just to have the support of the community is really amazing and exciting. I’ll definitely take that with me when I’m on the climb for extra motivation.”

He’s also motivated by helping others after seeing children in need during his first trip to the Himalayas. That’s when Guido launched Peaks for Purpose, tying his climbing goals to children’s charities around the world. Each trip he takes is tied to a charitable children’s organization, and he has raised more than $10,000 thus far, enough to pay for the installation of a 40-ft wireless internet tower at Quinta Betel, a remote children’s home at the base of the Andes; donating activity books and art supplies for children and families in Tomilino; and helping to construct a dining hall for children in Tanzania. His Everest expedition is raising money for SOS Children’s Villages Nepal, a non-profit whose mission is to build families for children in need, helping them shape their own futures and to share in development of their communities.

When he returns home in the summer, Guido hopes to continue to inspire young people and share his message. He’s already committed to speak to park district patrons young and old.

“I think it’s very important for the youth to go after their passions and not think twice about it,” Guido says. “There’ve been a lot of setbacks the last few years, but there’s a setback in every good journey. You just keep chugging forward.”

For more information about Mark Guido, Peaks for Purpose or to donate, visit PeaksforPurpose.org.

Visit WoodStFitness.com for information about Wood Street Fitness, located inside the Bensenville Park District’s Deer Grove Leisure Center, 1000 W. Wood Street, Bensenville.