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johnson county recreation
While people in Johnson County work hard, they like their downtime as well, and we offer many wonderful places for individuals and families to learn, play, relax, be active, and enjoy the outdoors. Johnson County’s dozens of parks, recreation facilities, lakes, and public gardens offer something for everyone. Checkout one of Johnson County’s 13 libraries, spend an afternoon at the Johnson County Museum, or when the weather is warm enjoy a movie or Broadway show at Theatre in The Park. Our recreational amenities play a huge role in Johnson County being a community of choice.

Recreation News

JCPRD's modified January through April catalog now available

The newest issue of the My JCPRD Activities catalog is now available online. Registration for classes in the catalog began on Monday, Nov. 16. 

The free publication features more than 500 programs from Preschool to 50 Plus offered between January and April. Program offerings range from arts and crafts to sports to nature activities and include leagues, classes, seminars, workshops, lunch and learns, and trips. The catalog spotlights a winter and early spring calendar full of special events, and includes spring break camps for youth. 

Like the September through December issue, the new catalog will have a smaller page count than issues of the past, and will again include only keywords, class titles, and ages.  Because of the continuing uncertainty of these times, the class title listings are meant to pique readers’ interest, and it is hoped that patrons will check the agency’s website at JCPRD.com for up-to-date details, changes, and additional programs. 

In this season’s printed piece, program titles are listed by age group with topic-based subheads, which mirrors the organization of the online listings. The online listings will include complete program descriptions, along with costs, locations, and dates. 

New for this season, an online “flipbook” of the printed publication will be fully linked and will allow users to easily access online listings for programs in the printed catalog.

A growing number of virtual programs in the January through April catalog will again give patrons opportunities to participate in some activities from the comfort of their home. Some of these programs are free, while others have a modest charge. Virtual programs are offered for youth, adult, and 50 plus enrichment & special interests; preschool and youth gymnastics; youth and 50 plus enrichment & special interests; youth, adult, and 50 plus fine & performing arts; adult heritage & history; and 50 plus fitness & health. JCPRD programs which do meet in person will encourage physical distancing and other COVID-19 safe practices.

The catalog also contains an article about the 50th anniversary of JCPRD’s 50 Plus department, which will be celebrating this milestone with programs throughout 2021.

The My JCPRD Activities catalog is mailed to past participants and are also available at Johnson County Library branches, and at district locations.

JCPRD’s 2021 Summer Camp Guide will be available online after Jan. 18, and in print after Jan. 25. 

 

Kansas City Corporate Challenge enshrined in Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

Kansas City Corporate Challenge, a program of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, was recently inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame during a ceremony in mid-November.

“We are very excited; and of course we were very honored,” said KCCC Executive Director Lacey Fisher. “Our induction class had some great athletes and coaches and other programs. Just being at this event, we were sitting beside (former KC Royal) Alex Gordon, (former Kansas City Chief) Curlie Culp, (President & CEO of Win for KC) Kathy Nelson, and (Kansas City Chiefs KC Wolf Mascot) Dan Meers. Those are some powerhouses, and so it was pretty humbling to be amongst them.”

This year’s induction ceremony took place on Nov. 15 at the Hy-Vee Arena in Kansas City. 

Fisher said KCCC originally applied for enshrinement as part of its 40th anniversary celebration in 2019, but because the Springfield, Mo.,- based organization rotates its annual enshrinement ceremony between Columbia, Mo., St. Louis, and Kansas City, the decision was made to postpone KCCC’s induction until 2020, when the event was scheduled back in Kansas City.  

Other organizations enshrined for 2020 are: Liberty High School Cheerleading program, Oak Park High School Baseball program, and Coach Dana Hoeper and the Notre Dame de Sion Girls Golf Program. Other individuals inducted this year are: NFL Football Player Josh Freeman, Former Kansas City Sports Broadcaster Jack Harry; Philanthropist and Former Baseball Player Jack Talley; High School Football Coach Mark Thomas; Athletic Trainer Bud Epps; Rockhurst University Soccer Coach Tony Tocco; Park Hill High School Volleyball Coach Debbie Fay; Rockhurst University Volleyball Coach Tracy Rietzke; Jefferson High School Basketball Coach Tim Jermain; and High School Softball Coach Roger Lower. 

KCCC is the oldest and largest corporate challenge event in the United States. More than 30,000 participants and 250 companies take part in this program each year, which is far more than the Winter and Summer Olympics combined. Since it began in 1980 as a one-weekend event with 18 companies, officials estimate more than 500,000 individuals and approximately 7000 different companies have taken part in KCCC.

 

Johnson County Museum recognized for service during pandemic

The Johnson County Museum was recently recognized with an Award of Excellence from the Kansas Museum Association for its efforts in three areas during the pandemic it is calling “Collect, Curate, Partner, Serve: Johnson County Museum’s Response to COVID-19.” 

This award is given to an institution whose project or achievements are worthy of special recognition, and was notated during KMA’s virtual luncheon on Friday, Nov. 6.

“In the throes of a pandemic with the doors of the museum closed to the public, the curators and I asked ourselves one question: how can the museum help our community,” said Johnson County Museum Director Mary McMurray, who started at the museum in early April. “Answering that question required launching and promoting a collecting initiative, creating and installing a temporary exhibition in six weeks, and partnering with internal and external partners to curate a complementary community art exhibition that calls viewers to reflect, show resilience, and rebuild. 

Recognizing the historic nature of the global pandemic, the Johnson County Museum launched the Collecting COVID-19 Initiative in March 2020, complete with a collecting plan, online questionnaire, and publicity campaign. This collecting initiative asks the public to answer a curated list of questions and share personal stories and ideas for photographs, objects, and documents that represent this era. 

As a result, the museum received more than 40 submissions to the questionnaire and collected items from Johnson County government offices, medical innovations, homemade masks, ephemera related to high school graduation, and more. The collecting initiative will remain active well into the future to give the community time to reflect on the stories and artifacts that will help future generations of curators tell the story of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Johnson County and the region.

In time for the museum’s opening after a two-month closure, the institution put together a related temporary exhibit titled “Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times.”

The exhibit, which opened on June 1 and will remain in place in the Creative Commons Area of the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center through the spring, takes visitors through eras of difficulty in the county’s history - from economic crises to war, natural disasters to personal tragedies. The exhibit focuses on the ways in which Johnson Countians responded to historic challenges. Key themes include: strength and resilience, awareness and preparedness, sacrifice, innovation and adaptation, and when the challenge was met, with reflection and remembrance. 

“Rising to the Challenge: Suburban Strength in Difficult Times” draws largely from the museum’s collection of photographs, objects, and stories, but also features images of Kansans from the Library of Congress and National Archives collections, and a newly-acquired object created in response to the pandemic - a 3-D printed plastic medical face shield component printed by the MakerSpace at the Johnson County Library for use in the Johnson County medical community. The exhibit includes a public feedback component, asking questions such as: How have you risen to the challenge? Who has been your hero? What does a post-pandemic world look like? It also includes an empty case highlighting the Museum’s Collecting COVID-19 Initiative.” 

In considering what collective opportunities the Johnson County community would have to gather, reflect, grieve, and process the losses experienced during the pandemic, the museum collaborated with the Fine Arts Department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and the Arts Council of Johnson County to create a second temporary exhibit called “Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists Respond to COVID-19.”

The collaborative partnership released a call for artwork created in response to, during, or in the theme of the COVID-19 pandemic. The call received over 90 submissions from more than 70 artists. The art was predominately colorful, but the statements revealed the extensive nature of the mental health crisis our community is experiencing as a result of the pandemic and social movements. 

“Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding: Artists Respond to COVID-19,” opened on Aug. 1, and like “Rising to the Challenge,” this exhibit is displayed in the commons area of the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, making it free and accessible to the public.  This exhibit will remain on display until Jan. 22.

“The arts have the ability to help us feel connected in a time of physical distancing, to process, to reflect, and to imagine a better future,” McMurray said.  “The artwork, which includes two-dimensional artwork, pottery, found object art, a multi-media installation, and textiles, is connected by a yellow line running around the large room at the height art is typically hung in galleries. None of the art in the show is hung at the normal height, which reflects the lack of normalcy now. Further responding to the uniqueness of this time, the arts and heritage staff created a digital flipbook that allowed the public to experience the show from a place where they felt comfortable.”

Recognizing the historic nature of these times and the power of community-based reflection, the Johnson County Museum Foundation, the museum’s nonprofit partner, joined the initiative, funding a cash prize for one community-selected piece of art to become a part of the Johnson County Museum’s permanent collection. More than 600 people voted on which piece best represented the pandemic era. The winning piece, along with an artist statement and biography, comments from voting, and other contextualizing items will join other items accessioned as part of the museum’s Collecting COVID-19 Initiative. 

Like the pandemic, the Johnson County Museum’s response to COVID-19 is ongoing. Working with its partners, the museum plans to release a slate of virtual programming designed to connect people with mental health resources, participate in art-therapy-inspired activities based on pieces in the art show, and unpack the historical context of art and pandemics by looking back 100 years. 

“Combined, these efforts represent the Johnson County Museum’s dedication to serving the community through innovative and engaging historical lessons, partnerships, and programming,” McMurray said. 

The “Rising to the Challenge” exhibit has been highlighted on more than a dozen media appearances, and the feedback wall incorporated into the exhibit has garnered nearly 50 public comments. Since opening on June 1, “Rising to the Challenge” exhibit has had an estimated 8,700 visitors, and the Collecting COVID-19 Initiative has gathered nearly 40 responses from the public, in addition to about a dozen objects. “Resilience, Reflection, Rebuilding” has received more than 600 public votes and comments in a People’s Choice Competition, and officials estimate more than 2,000 members of the public have viewed the exhibit.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT

Mary McMurray, Johnson County Museum Director

[email protected]; 913.715.2555

JCPRD recognized as Corporate Business of the Year by local chamber group

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District has been recognized as Corporate Business of the Year by the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.

The award was announced during the chamber’s 2020 business awards event, which took place virtually on Nov. 19, in lieu of NEJC’s annual gala. 

Community outreach, and offering opportunities to the entire metro area to improve mental health through active, clean, and safe parks during this year’s pandemic are among the meaningful contributions cited by chamber officials.  

 “JCPRD has been one of the most-needed entities during the pandemic,” the nomination stated. “Visitations to the parks have more than doubled over last year, just in the past few months. They provided daycare via their camps as soon as it was safe to open this summer and when there were few other opportunities in the community. At the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, Johnson County Museum, and KidScape are also open to the public for entertainment. Theatre in the Park provided ‘Movies in the Park’ in the theater bowl for a cost of $1 per person, much like drive-in movies, but providing safe distancing and cheap entertainment for the whole family.”

“Our purpose is the serve the Johnson County community by providing recreation, park, culture, and educational opportunities for citizens and visitors,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jeff Stewart. “JCPRD manages over 10,000 acres of park property throughout all of Johnson County, and we offer over 4,000 programs and events each and every year. During this year, in the midst of a pandemic, we are experiencing record-breaking visitation in our parks and trails. Our team has been incredibly creative in finding new ways to provide our recreation programs, our classes, and our services to the community - some of it virtually - and keep everyone safe. We are incredibly honored and excited about this recognition. We want to thank the awards committee, our board of park and recreation commissioners, our staff, volunteers, and everybody involved in that.”

Other nominees in the Corporate Business category for 2020 NEJC award included AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, IKEA, and Evergy. A recording of the awards presentations can be viewed on YouTube.

Each year, the NEJC Chamber proudly recognizes the successes and outstanding achievements of its members in four categories: Small Business, Corporate Business, Volunteer Service, and Nonprofit Organization. Nominations for The Annual Business Awards are accepted from chamber members. After the nominating period, the members in each category with the most nominations advance to a final ballot. One winner in each category is then determined by the popular vote of chamber members, patrons, and NEJC community members. 

 

Test your JoCo knowledge at Old Settlers

How much do you know about Johnson County? Come test your trivia skills with our Spin-to-Win wheel at Johnson County Old Settlers in downtown Olathe! We will have a booth at this event today, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. In addition to learning about the county, you’ll find experts on the upcoming 2020 Census who can answer your questions about what to expect next year, why participation is so important and how you can become a census worker.

Our booth is located just to the north of the Johnson County Administration Building (111 S. Cherry St., Olathe). Other county entities represented at this event include the Johnson County Election Office, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management and Communications department. For more information on this event, please visit the Old Settlers website.

Upcoming Events

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Wed, 12/16/2020 - 7:00pm

Park & Recreation Commission

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 7:00pm

Park & Recreation Commission

Wed, 02/17/2021 - 7:00pm

Park & Recreation Commission

Wed, 03/17/2021 - 7:00pm

Park & Recreation Commission