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SWSRA is a special recreation association that is an extension of six park districts and two recreation & parks departments. SWSRA was formed in 1981 to provide year-round quality therapeutic recreation programs and services for individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities or special needs. SWSRA programs are designed to increase independence and enhance the quality of life for each individual. If you live in one of the following communities, you are considered a resident of SWSRA: Alsip, Blue Island, Hickory Hills, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Palos Heights, Posen, and Worth. We offer a wide variety of programs for individuals in early childhood through adults of all ages. Programs are designed to meet the individual whose special needs restrict or prohibit their participant in traditional park district or recreation department programs. This would include individuals who have varying degrees of physical or cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, behavior disorders and hearing or visual impairments. 

Because of the risk of injury, Special Olympics Illinois has established a policy which states that any participant with Down syndrome, involved in any Special Olympics sport/activity, must obtain an x-ray, submit a letter from their physician, and complete the Special Olympics Illinois medical form. The letter must state that the individual does not have atlantoaxial instability prior to participating in the program. 


SWSRA is subject to and will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on the bases of disability against persons who meet essential eligibility requirements for services. If you have any questions about our services in regard to the ADA, please call us at (708) 389-9423.



Our staff makes every effort to prepare our brochure, flyers, website posts and tweets as accurately as possible; however, errors can occur. Circumstances may require that adjustments be made to programs, fees, schedules, etc. SWSRA reserves the right to make any such adjustments. The staff apologizes for any inconvenience these errors or adjustments may cause. 



SWSRA relies upon the post office for mail deliveries of our seasonal brochures. SWSRA assumes no responsibility for mail delivery. If for some reason you do not receive a brochure, please pick one up at your park district, recreation department, or the SWSRA office.


SWSRA and our member agencies believe that all individuals should be provided with leisure opportunities that allow for performance at their highest level of ability. Although many people achieve this through participation in an SWSRA program, others may have great success in the activities of partner agencies. Our partner agencies adhere to the following basic principles when providing accommodations to allow for successful inclusion:

Principles of Inclusion:

  1. The interests and needs of an individual participant will be addressed.

  2. The concerns of the family will be taken into account.

  3. The partner agency staff will be given support by SWSRA.

  4. Options and choices will be made available to individuals with disabilities.


SWSRA is committed to providing new and challenging leisure and recreation activities for all our participants. We recognize that a park district or recreation department program may better serve an individual’s needs. SWSRA works with our partner agencies to assist individuals with making the transition from special recreation to these programs.  Our professional staff can help you choose an appropriate program, provide referral services, conduct any necessary staff training, secure support staff, or supply adaptive equipment or communication devices. If you or a family member wish to participate in a park district or recreation department program, please contact our office. 

All SWSRA staff are mandated by the State of Illinois to make a report to DCFS hotline if they observe a situation that provides reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect. Workers in certain professions, including "recreational program" personnel, have this legal mandate. Our staff is trained on signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect, and procedures for making a report.

SWSRA seeks to provide a safe environment for all of our participants, staff, volunteers, and the public. Staff and volunteers have been provided in-service training concerning proper hygienic procedures. If you have any specific questions, please call the SWSRA Executive Director. 




SWSRA is committed to providing adequate staffing and supplies for our programs, special events, and trips.  Help us by registering before the deadline date(s) so we can prepare accordingly.  

We are committed to serving our residents first; therefore have a Resident Priority Registration policy.  Please adhere to the registration dates posted.  We encourage our residents to enroll in ALL desired programs, trips or special events during those resident priority registration dates. If a program is filled, we will add your registration to our wait list and try to accommodate, if possible. 

Proof of residency; picture I.D. and a current utility bill will be required initially and annually with your registration.  Registration fees will only be accepted by walk-in registration or mail-in to the SWSRA main office at 12521 S. Kostner Avenue., Alsip 60803.  Registration fees must be paid in full at the time of registration unless arrangements are made.  Call the SWSRA office to discuss a payment plan or eligibility for a scholarship.  If you do not live within our member districts, you are considered residing “out-of-district”, and must pay the NR (non-resident) fee(s). 

SWSRA has a cooperative agreement with South Suburban Special Recreation Association (SSSRA). This agreement enables participants who reside in SWSRA and SSSRA resident communities to participate in most programs offered by either association at resident rates.  Please note that this does not include day camp, vacation trips, away camps, and weekend trips. Special services such as scholarship and transportation are not included in this agreement.  Registrations will be processed during the non-resident registration dates posted on a first-come-first-service basis. SWSRA reserves the right to verify residency. We hope that through this agreement, each agency residents will have expanded opportunities for program participation.  For additional information about this agreement, please call SWSRA at 708-389-9423. To receive a copy of the SSSRA brochure, call the SSSRA office at (815) 806-0384. 


SWSRA requires all participants to complete a Master Registration Form annually. The form provides staff with valuable information, which allows SWSRA to conduct its activities in the safest possible manner and to meet the basic needs of participants. If you are new to SWSRA or do not have a current form on file, please contact the office and one will be sent to you. Additionally, if the agency receives a registration form and does not have a Master Registration Form on file, one will be sent to you to complete and return. If at any time the form needs to be updated (change in medication, behavior, address, house manager, etc.) please call the SWSRA office. All information is kept strictly confidential and enhances successful participation. Thank you for your cooperation.


We assess each of our “new” participants for all our programs to best fulfill their needs and goals. Once you enroll in a SWSRA program, someone from the recreation staff will contact you within 2 weeks to complete an over-the-phone assessment. The goal of this interview is to get to know your participant and be able to train our Team to work with them. 


Any service charge(s) that are assessed for any returned check(s) will be the responsibility of the registrant and any future registration will need to be paid in cash. 

A refund or credit will be issued to participants if a program, trip, or special event is canceled due to low registration. If a participant cancels out of a program prior to the start and no costs have been incurred, a $5 service fee will be charged and a refund or credit will be issued. There will be no refunds or credits issued if a participant cancels out of a program, trip, or special event and SWSRA has incurred costs due to the purchase of tickets, rentals, deposits, etc. If inclement weather or leader absence occurs, SWSRA will try to reschedule the activity or issue a credit or refund.


Unexpected medical issues are handled on a case-by-case basis for approval of a credit to the participant’s household. In a medical case absence, where a participant has missed more than 1 week of the activity, we would need a doctor’s note stating the participant can return to the activity.  

If seeking a partial/pro-rated credit the same procedure would be required that we receive a doctor’s note stating participant is unable to return to the activity and we would consider approval of partial/pro-rated credit to the participant’s household.



  1. SWSRA reserves the right to determine and or decline participant appropriateness for programs, trips, special events and overnight trips based on the participant appropriateness for the activity(s). 

  2. When arriving and departing a program, parents/guardians/group home staff are required to notify the Program Leader. 

  3. If a participant cannot attend a program, he/she cannot send a substitute in their place.

  4. When participants of varying ages and ability levels are in the same program, SWSRA will group them appropriately.

  5. SWSRA provides appropriate staff-to-participant ratios based on the information provided to us on the registration form, annual master, and parent/teacher input & new participant assessments. We provide an approximate 1:4 staff-to-participant ratio. 

  6. SWSRA is not responsible for lost or stolen property. Participants are encouraged to leave valuables at home. 

  7. With the participant’s best interest in mind, we have found that having parents/guardians, and/or siblings present during a program can tend to distract participants during program time. This can affect the quality of their participation.  Our staff always welcome the opportunity to discuss a participant’s progress with parents/guardian at any time. 

  8. Vacation Trips, Weekend Trips, and Overnights: Participants must be completely independent in their daily life skills. SWSRA does not provide supervision of participants after “lights out” and during sleeping hours. Participants must be able to function in a 1:4 staff-to-participant ratio, and have participated in SWSRA weekly programs at least one season before registering for any of these types of trip(s). 


SWSRA promotes the concept of “equal fun for everyone.” Participants, Family Members, and Guardians are expected to exhibit appropriate behavior at all times. SWSRA’s behavior guidelines have been developed to help make the programs safe and enjoyable for all participants. 


  1. Participants, Family Members, and Guardians must show respect to all participants, staff, and volunteers. 

  2. Participants, Family Members, and Guardians must refrain from threatening or causing bodily harm to self, other participants, or staff.

  3. Participants, Family Members, and Guardians must refrain from using foul language or discussing inappropriate topics. 

  4. Participants, Family Members, and Guardians must show respect for equipment, supplies, and facilities. 

  5. Additional rules may be developed for specific programs and athletic programs as deemed necessary by staff. 

  6. If inappropriate behavior occurs, a prompt resolution will be sought specifically to each individual’s situation. SWSRA reserves the right to dismiss participants whose behavior endangers the safety of themselves or others. Actions may be, but not limited to: Participants, Family Members, and/or Guardians sent home, suspend the Participants, Family Members, and/or Guardians, or expel the Participants, Family Members, and/or Guardians. 


SWSRA attempts to hold programs whenever possible. However, inclement weather occasionally makes it difficult for participants and staff to travel to program locations. SWSRA’s cancellation policies are as follows: 

*    At the scheduled program time, if no participants arrive within the first 30 minutes, the program session will be canceled, and staff will be sent home. NO refunds will be given.

*    SWSRA staff look at all circumstances, (weather reports), two hours prior to the starting time of the program or transportation route to determine if the program should be canceled. 

*    If the program is canceled, staff will attempt to reach all participants by phone to inform them. You will only be called if the program is canceled. 

*    If SWSRA cancels a program, we will make attempts to extend the program to make up missed dates. SWSRA will make calls announcing program extensions.  

In the event of severe weather, SWSRA may cancel programs in the best interest of our participants.  For the safety of our participants, program supervisors may make the decision to cancel a program in progress, should weather become questionable.  The following guidelines will be used to determine cancellations: 


Severe Cold Weather

  • Outdoor programs: Temperature range of 0 degrees or less, including wind chill.

  • Programs with transportation: Temperature of 0 degrees or less, including wind chill.

  • All programs (including indoor): Snowstorm situations when driving restrictions (winter storm or blizzard warning in which authorities have advised not going out unless necessary) and emergency accident plans (state and local police) are in effect.

Severe Hot Weather

  • Outdoor programs, or indoor sites without air-conditioning, a heat index of 100 degrees or higher.

  • Programs with Transportation: Heat index of 100 degrees or higher. 

  • All programs (including indoor): Weather situations when a tornado warning is in effect. 


SWSRA asks that participants arrive no earlier than 5 minutes prior to the start of a program or slated pick-up time, and be picked up promptly at the end of the program or slated drop-off time. SWSRA requires you to walk the participant(s) into and out of the building and/or their program room. Please do not drop off or leave anyone early or without a staff member present.


Our policy is not to give out team members cell phone numbers. Although we understand there could be circumstances when your loved one is in a program with us and a family emergency arises and you want to contact them. We do not object to your loved one having their own personal cell phone with them in our programs or special events for you to contact them directly. The responsibility of the said phone relies on them personally, so consider that before approving them to carry a phone with them. Also, we do not object if you feel the need to drive to the program or special event to pick them up.  Also, you will know ahead of time the pickup time or home drop-off time; therefore, you could send one of the emergency contacts listed on your master to pick-up your loved one or be at home in your absence to inform them of the emergency. 


Please pick-up participants at the designated times. If parents/guardians are not on time for a participant pick-up/drop-off, a $10 fee will be assessed after 10 minutes late and every 10 minutes thereafter. This fee assists us in paying for the additional staff wages. In addition, for anyone 5 minutes late, in excess of 2 times, the fee will start at 5 minutes late, from there on after. 



  1. Participants must have bladder and bowel control, or arrive at the program wearing protective undergarments such as Depends or similar items under clothing. You should alert SWSRA and provide SWSRA with extra undergarments and/or clean clothing should an incident occur while at programs. 

  2. Overall clean hygiene of participants is expected. Participants should have clean hair, face, teeth, hands, nails, etc. Personal care issues such as body odor/cleanliness is a matter of health and safety and respect for others in the program. Also clean, dry clothing is also expected. 

  3. Appropriate attire for program participation. Example: if a sport or Special Olympics program, wear proper tennis shoes, warm-ups or loose/comfortable fitting clothing. If a program/dance, wear appropriate attire for the occasion. 


To prevent the spread of contagious illnesses, it is recommended that participants refrain from attending programs when any of the following conditions exist:


  1. Fever of 100 degrees or higher. 

  2. Vomiting within the last 24 hours. 

  3. Persistent diarrhea in conjunction with other symptoms. 

  4. Contagious rash or a rash of unknown origin. 

  5. A persistent cough and/or cold symptoms. 

  6. “Pink eye” (conjunctivitis) or discharge from the eye. 

  7. Symptoms of mumps, measles, chicken pox, strep throat, flu, impetigo, coxsackievirus, head lice, mites, and ringworm. 

  8. A runny nose with yellow or green discharge, which indicates infection. 

  9. Fatigue, due to illness, that will hinder the participation and enjoyment of the program. 


SWSRA may request that a participant submit a doctor’s release in order to participate in SWSRA programs or special events. Please notify the SWSRA office if the participant contracts any contagious illness that will affect his/her attendance at the program. Participants should return to programs at the recommendation of the doctor, or, if not under a doctor’s care when the symptoms have clearly passed.


Parents or individuals providing transportation for participants should make drop-offs and pick-ups at the times listed for the program.  SWSRA staff use the time before the program to meet with staff, review safety and participant information and set-up.  Please be prompt after the program as some staff are expected at another program. SWSRA staff are instructed to stay with participants until they are picked up. If a participant may walk home or will be picked up by someone other than parents, a permission note signed and dated by the parent/guardian must be given to the Program Leader. 
NOTE: If the participant is not picked up within 20 minutes of the program ending and there has been no communication with parents; the Program Leader may take the participant to the nearest local Police Station.  


SWSRA occasionally takes photographs or video of participants for promoting/advertising our programs, services, events, activities, and facilities in our brochures, website or agency social media, and other promotional avenues. By registering for, participating in or attending  SWSRA programs, events, or other activities, the participant (or parent/guardian of a minor participant) irrevocably agrees to the use and distribution by SWSRA of his or her image (or of his minor child/ward) in photographs, video recordings, and any other electronic reproductions of such programs, events and activities for any purpose without inspection or approval and without compensation, rights to royalties or any other consideration now and in the future.


Participants must have independent self-help skills, be able to function in a 1:4 staff-to-participant ratio, and have participated in SWSRA weekly programs at least 1 season before registering for an overnight trip. 



*Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, NO Transportation is available at this time

*NEW Transportation Policy in Effect

SWSRA is no longer able to offer Home Pick Up or Home Drop Off

This service is provided to you at no additional cost. 


See each Program(s) AND/OR Special Event(s) for details of the Pick Up and Drop Off time(s) for each Community Location.

It’s very important that your participant is dropped off and picked up at the listed time(s) so that we can meet our scheduled times.  

PLEASE BE PATIENT: Although SWSRA gives pick up and/drop off times, these are only estimates. We do our best when scheduling times, however, unforeseen circumstances may arise such as construction, traffic, trains, etc. Thank you for understanding!

NOTE: You will no longer be receiving a Transportation Call prior to the Program/Special Event.  You will be responsible to note the details of those pick up/drop off times found under each Program/Special Event on your calendar

Alsip Park District
12521 S. Kostner Avenue

Alsip, IL 60803

Blue Island Park District
12804 S. Highland Avenue

Blue Island, IL 60406

Palos Heights Recreation Facility
6601 W. 127th Street

Palos Heights, IL 60463

“NEW” Worth Park District - Terrace Center
11500 S. Beloit Avenue

Worth, IL 60482


Transportation is available for children and adults age 9 to adult.

  • Child must be age 9 at the time of program, event, or day camp start.

  • Transportation is available to Residents of SWSRA ONLY. 



Although SWSRA gives pick up and/ or drop off times, these are only estimates. We do our best when scheduling times, however, unforeseen circumstances may arise such as construction, traffic, trains, etc. Thank you for understanding!



  1. Special Events have centralized pick-up and drop-off locations.

  2. Transportation is based on registration for each pick-up point. Please be sure to indicate which pick-up and/or drop off point you will use by documenting the correct code for the program you are registering for. 

  3. SWSRA cannot wait more than 5 minutes at the pick-up point due to demanding vehicle schedules. 

  4. Transportation is available on a limited basis. 

SWSRA has implemented the following transportation procedures to ensure participants safety in our vehicles:


  1. All passengers must be sitting in seats or wheelchairs with belts securely fastened. The driver will not proceed until all seat belts are fastened.

  2. All wheelchairs must have brakes that are in good working order and can stop the chair from moving.

  3. The SWSRA drivers will not be able to leave the vehicles to assist participants to/from their homes.

  4. SWSRA staff are responsible for determining whether or not a participant can be transported safely. The driver may refuse to transport any person(s) if it is determined that it would be dangerous to do so.

  5. Persons riding in Amigo-type wheelchairs must transfer into a van seat and must use a seat belt.

  6. Persons unable to be in a house alone should have someone meet the van at the designated time of return. SWSRA cannot wait more than 5 minutes due to the demanding van schedule.

  7. SWSRA reserves the right to refuse to transport individuals. Please realize that these policies have been developed to ensure the safety of everyone riding in SWSRA vehicles. Your cooperation is appreciated.

  8. When transportation is included in special events, the use of vans or buses may change as necessary to accommodate group sizes and needs. Most events have centralized meeting locations.

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