The Woman’s Athletic Club (WAC) of Chicago hosts a “Bring Your Kids to Work” day where the staff can bring their children to the club for a day that is filled with activities from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
“We involve the entire team as much as possible,” says Kelsey Smith, the WAC’s Children’s Program Director. “We really want the kids to get a chance to interact with their parent/guardian while they work, so having activities in every department helps us do that, without making the kids spend the day in one spot.”
Now in its second year, the program invites kids to participate in activities that include face painting; swimming with inflatables; making your own pizza/sundae; family bingo; bounce houses; robot-building workshops; chair massages; DIY face masks; temporary tattoos; nail painting; three-legged races with the parents, and flower potting.
Kids from kindergarten through 8th grade can come for the day, and registration is required. “The first year we had 15 kids and13 parents, and the second year we had 27 kids and 16 parents,” says Smith.
The WAC, established in 1898 as the first athletic club for women in the U.S., has occupied an historic multi-story building since 1929 on North Michigan Ave., just across the river from the downtown Chicago Loop (the building, designed by renowned architect Philip B. Maher, was awarded Landmark status in 1991). The interior of the club reflects early 20th-century Beaux-Arts and Art Deco design, and features many unique rooms, from the stunning Ballroom to the elegant Silver Room, welcoming Drawing Room and cozy Library.
So the club’s Bring Your Kids to Work event also gives many children who live in other parts of the city a chance to experience the excitement at the center of Chicago’s workday environment (not to mention the “thrill” of a daily commute), while also exposing them to a unique inside look at part of the city’s special cultural and architectural history.
The Goal: Involve the entire staff at the Woman’s Athletic Club of Chicago in a “Bring Your Kids to Work” event.
The Plan: Organize a full-day program where children from kindergarten through 8th grade can come with their parent or guardian to the club for a day that is filled with activities and that moves kids around through every department.
The Payoff: Participation has grown through two years of the program. An added bonus is the exposure the event offers for kids from other parts of the city to experience the excitement (including a commute) of downtown Chicago’s workday environment, and to see the club’s historic architectural building.