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Cold Hands, Warm Hearts

Fri December 20, 2019

December Park District Dish: Cold hands, warm hearts

By Katie Drum, Director of Marketing & Public Relations

Winters in the Midwest are tough, but I like to believe that growing up in Illinois and battling our brutal winters each year is part of what makes us who we are.  

Seasonal affective disorder (known as SAD) is a type of depression that many people face in our area and often begin affecting people in the fall, continuing into the winter months. Symptoms include a lack of energy, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, and overeating, just to name a few. It’s a serious concern that can lead to social withdrawal, substance abuse, school/work problems, and even thoughts of suicide. The lack of sunshine and being less active at this time of the year can worsen symptoms associated with SAD.

At the Park District, we hope to not only help support residents with their physical health but also their mental health. The holidays can be a difficult time of the year for families and while it’s a time of love and laughter, it can be challenging for many as we head into a long winter.

According to the Summit Medical Group, regular exercise and engaging with others can help protect you against this seasonal disorder. We encourage residents to embrace the wintery skies and brisk temperatures this season and discover ways to brighten their day through our winter activities.

Ice skating on Depot Pond is a local tradition that many enjoy when the skating conditions are right. Residents can check the Batavia Riverwalk or District website daily to determine if it’s safe to skate. The red flag or icon means that skating is prohibited; if the green icon or flag is flying, it is safe to skate. The Peg Bond Center will be open as an unsupervised warming house, weather permitting. Doors open at 8:00 am and are locked at 5:00 pm. Following these simple precautions will help keep everyone safe and able to enjoy the Depot Pond this winter!

Walking the Riverwalk to appreciate 25 Christmas trees decorated by local businesses or organizations or perusing local neighborhoods to take in the twinkling lights of homes that participated in our Holiday House Decorating Contest can all be an enjoyable outdoor experience this season.

Although the Batavia Park District doesn’t have a sledding hill, our friends at the Forest Preserve District of Kane County manage the Fabyan Forest Preserve sledding hill, located at 1500 Crissey Avenue off Rt. 25 in Geneva. Sledding is open to the public from sunrise until 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.

Batavia also partners with Fox Valley Park District to offer snowshoeing at Red Oak Nature Center, located at 2343 S. River Street in North Aurora, December through March. Once there are three inches or more of snow on the ground, individuals can rent a pair of snowshoes for $5 and explore the grounds Monday – Friday, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm and weekends from 10:00 am – 2:30 pm.

We are also offering many indoor winter activities such as family, adult, and pickleball open gym time, and ‘Winter Blues Buster’ fitness programs. Dates, times, and program details are listed in the Winter Fun Guide or District website.

Don’t let your mood darken as the days shorten and let us help you through the winter months this season. To learn more about winter programs and offerings, please visit or call 630-879-5235.