NISRA Special Recreation Activities


NISRA (Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association) offers a wide range of recreation programs throughout the year, for all ability levels and ages from early childhood through seniors.

Weekly Programs

About 100 programs each season enrich the lives of participants. Preschoolers benefit from sensory & motor skills development. Youth, teens and adults get moving and explore new places. Participants develop skills and often find their passion in a sport or in the arts. Our staff facilitate social connections and friendships in all the age groups.

View our program brochure to see what’s happening this season.

Cultural Arts

Participants in our cultural arts programs discover their artistic abilities, often through the guidance of professional artists. They acquire techniques and resources to further develop their talent in visual arts or performing arts—or both! See more information on Cultural Arts.

Special Events

One day outings to local and regional sites offer fun on holidays, school days off, and other days throughout the year. NISRA staff and participants explore many of our area’s newest recreation attractions.

Summer Day Camps

Our camps give children and teens a chance to make friends, try new activities and simply have fun! Full day camps are offered, along with half day camps in conjunction with some summer school programs. Each camp’s individual website page is available in late spring & during camp. See more information on Summer Day Camps.

Adult Day Programs

Our adult transition program, LIFE (Leisure Increases Freedom & Enjoyment), a year round life skills program, uses community-based recreation activities to develop skills and enhance quality of life for young adults with a disability. See more information on our LIFE Program .

Special Olympics

NISRA provides Special Olympics training programs & opportunities for competition in numerous sports for children (ages 8 & older) and adults with intellectual disabilities. See more information on Special Olympics.

Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies

NISRA facilitates a free program for veteran service members who qualify by having an Honorable Discharge & at least a 10% disability rating or post service injury/illness equivalent. Qualified veterans receive, at no charge: one year fitness membership for the veteran & a partner at a park district fitness center (currently Cary, Dundee Township, Huntley or Wauconda) or McHenry County College, 15 personal training sessions with a qualified trainer, and monthly networking/social events.


Trips to destinations throughout the Midwest and the United States expose groups of young adults and adults to places they may never have visited, amazing sights & scenery, and history. Trips range from tent camping to hotel getaways, even cruises.


The NISRA staff assist residents with disabilities in the Association’s 13 member communities with inclusion into their home park district or recreation department programs. See more information on Inclusion.

Behavior expectations in all NISRA Programs

Although NISRA recognizes that many participants have special behavioral challenges, guidelines have been established to ensure safety and enjoyment of all particpants. The Behavior Code of Conduct expects participants to:

Show respect to all participants and staff, and take direction from staff.
Refrain from using abusive or foul language.
Refrain from causing bodily harm to self, other participants and staff.
Show respect for equipment, supplies, and facilities.

A positive approach will be used regarding discipline. NISRA will work closely with parents/guardians to develop behavior management plans. If inappropriate, disruptive or destructive behavior occurs, a prompt resolution will be sought. NISRA reserves the right to suspend or dismiss any participant whose behavior endangers the safety of him/herself or others.


NISRA 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, member district publications, and other promotional avenues. By registering for, participating in or attending NISRA programs, events, or other activities, the participant (or parent/guardian of a minor participant) irrevocably agrees to the use and distribution by NISRA 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. The participant’s identity is kept anonymous unless permission is obtained by NISRA to identify the person.

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