Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation (CUSR)?
    • CUSR provides year-round therapeutic recreation and leisure opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. CUSR complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination on a basis of a disability. Our mission is to make reasonable accommodations to enhances participants’ abilities in enjoyable, recreational, leisure, and social settings. Our services include inclusive and cooperative programs, special events, after school programs, over night trips, Special Olympics, summer day and camps and much more! CUSR participants explore new areas of interest, make new acquaintances, and learn lifetime leisure skills.
  • What is Therapeutic Recreation?
    • Therapeutic Recreation is a specialized area in the field of recreation that focuses specifically on providing recreation and leisure services for people with disabilities. All CUSR full-time program have a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and are Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS). This certification demonstrates that each of these individuals, through education, experience, and passing a knowledge-based examination, has met the minimum requirements for practice in therapeutic recreation.
  • Who does CUSR support?
    • CUSR supports any individual who qualifies as having a “disability” within the meaning of ADA; this includes any individual who:
      • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities;
      • has a record of such an impairment; or
      • is regarded as having such an impairment
    • “Major life activities” is defined as functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, thinking, concentrating, working and interacting with others.
  • What towns do you provide service to? What does the (R/NR) in the program guide mean?
    • CUSR has a cooperative agreement with the cities of Champaign and Urbana; residents who reside within these cities pay resident (R) rates for programs. Residents residing outside these cities will pay the non-resident (NR) rate, which is 50% more than the resident rates. Fees charged for programs are used to offset part of the costs of special instructors, facility costs, and program supplies.
  • I don’t live in Champaign or Urbana, is there any way I can pay the resident fee?
    • We’re glad you asked! CUSR implemented a non-resident policy:
      • To ensure more individuals have access to the CUSR programs of their choice, there is a new policy for all the non-residents whom do not pay taxes into Champaign or Urbana Park District. Non-residents now have the option to pay $50 for a year’s privilege to register at the resident rate. This charge is yearly starting from the time initially paid. Call the CUSR office for more details.
  • Where is the CUSR office located? What are the hours? What if I need to get a hold of someone outside of business hours?
    • The CUSR office is located at 2212 Sangamon Drive in Champaign and is open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. If you need to get a hold of a program Coordinator outside of regular business hours, they can be reached at the following numbers:
      • Grace Tissier, Manager – 217-819-9185
      • Christina Mott, Athletic & Volunteer Coordinator – 217-369-3934


  • What programs does CUSR offer?
    • Youth/Teen -In general, adult programs are available to individuals 0-22 or high school graduate; however, each specific program has a specific age range (see program guide). Within the youth/teen program area, CUSR’s programs include life skill classes, social gatherings, community outings, special events, summer camps, school day out programs, and day trips.
    • Adult –  In general, adult programs are available to individuals ages 14 and up; however, each specific program has a specific age range (see program guide). Within the adult program area, CUSR’s programs include life skill classes, social gatherings, community outings, special events, dances, day trips, and overnight trips.
    • Athletics/Fitness – CUSR’s offers several Special Olympic sports, including Aquatics, Co-Ed Basketball, Cheerleading, Bowling, Powerlifting, Softball, Track & Field, Unified Volleyball, and traditional Volleyball. CUSR also offers various sport skills classes, fitness, and running programs.
    • Inclusion – CUSR also offers inclusion services. In cooperation with the Champaign Park District and Urbana Park District, CUSR staff are happy to assist and advise any resident who is interested in participating in local park district programs. CUSR will provide the type of support deemed necessary for successful participation. Support may include training with the park district staff members, consultation with the individual and the individual’s family members, and the assistance of support staff member, or inclusion aide. View our Inclusion FAQs page for more details!
  • What programs are eligible for scholarships?
    • All programs are eligible for scholarships excluding Martial Arts, Therapeutic Horseback Riding, and overnight Adult trips.
    • How do I apply?
      • Apply in person at the CUSR Center; or
      • Download the application form and mail, fax, or drop it off at the CUSR Center, located at 2212 Sangamon Drive in Champaign.
    • What is needed to apply?
      • Applicants must provide proof of income with pay stubs, taxes, social security, etc.


  • How do I register? Where can I register?
  • What else should I know about registration?
    • Registrations will not be processed if a fee balance remains from a previous season; payment plans are offered on an individual basis. CUSR Coordinators and program staff MAY NOT accept registration forms or payment at programs. CUSR does no prorate for late registration. Exceptions may be made for people who are new to the community.
  • What happens when a program/event I pay for is cancelled?
    • In cases where the minimum number of registrants is not received for a program, inclement weather, or other unforeseen circumstances, CUSR has the right to cancel the program. In cases of program cancellations, excluding weekly programs such as Special Olympic practices, full refunds will be issued to all registrants.
    • Inclement Weather Policy: If inclement weather occurs, CUSR may still decide to hold programs. If the weather turns dangerous, CUSR will call participants prior to the start of the program to cancel the program. Missed programs due to weather may be made up the week after the end of the program season.
    • Extreme Temperature Policy: Hot temperatures (for outdoor programs) at program time: 100°F actual temperature; heat index of 110°F or more constitutes cancelling program due to unsafe conditions. Cold temperatures (for all programs) at program time: 2°F actual temperature; -30°F or below wind chill constitutes cancelling program due to unsafe conditions.
  • I signed up for a program that I can no longer attend, now what happens?
    • All registration cancellations must be made at least one week prior to the start of the program in order to receive a full refund. For programs with cancellation dates listed, registration must be cancelled no later than the specified date to receive a full refund. Any program cancellations after the one week deadline will receive no refunds. A $5 service charge will be deducted from all cancellation refunds.
    • For ticketed events or overnight trips, partial refunds may be made even before the one week deadline dependent on program costs. These refunds will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • My refund was credited to my account, what does that mean?
    • Refunds can be issued in one of two ways. A refund can be credited to the individual’s account or a check can be issued to the account’s head of household (typically the primary guardian). In the event of a refund being credited to an individual’s account, the refund amount is held by CUSR and those funds are used to pay the program fees of future programs. If an individual prefers to receive their refund in the form of a check, CUSR must be notified and a check is issued with in 2-3 weeks.
  • I want to sign up for a program, but it is full. How does the wait list work?
    • Sometimes programs may reach the maximum number of participants. If this is the case, individuals have the option of being placed on the wait list for that program. If a spot opens up, individuals will be contacted in the order of their registration date.


  • What are special events?
    • Special events are events that are events are not offered month-to-month, but rather only once a season or year. Example so these events are: day trips, such as visiting the Chicago Auto Show or attended an athletic event.
  • Are all of the sports CUSR offers a part of Special Olympics?
    • No, our Strikes & Spares, Teen Pins, Frunner Club, and Fitness Frenzy programs are not sanctioned Special Olympics sports. We may also periodically offer different sports to introduce new sports to our communities.
  • How old must a participant be to compete in Special Olympics?
    • Special Olympics allows individuals 8 years of age and older to compete. The new exception to this rule is the “Young Athletes” programs. Youth Athletes is a starter program for children ages 2-7 to build and enhance motor skills typically used in other Special Olympics sports. Each sport offered by CUSR has a specific age range that may differ from that of Special Olympics. If a participant does not fall within that age range, please contact CUSR- these instances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • I was told I need a “med app” to participant in a sport; what does this mean?
    • Special Olympics requires every athlete to have a current med app on file. This ensures that every athlete has the health to participate. Med app are valid for 2 years from the date of the examination regardless of the parent/guardian/entrant signature date. Failure to complete and turn in a med app will result in the dismissal of the athlete from program.
  • Can I participate without a med app?
    • No, this is a requirement of Special Olympics and CUSR for the safety of the athlete. No exceptions will be made.
  • I have a program I would like to see offered, what should I do?
    • We love new program ideas- especially from our participants and families! If you have a program you’d like to see offered, let a CUSR coordinator know and we will do everything we can to make it happen!


  • I have no way to get to a program, does that mean I can’t attend?
    • Absolutely not! CUSR offers door-to-door transportation for majority of its Adult and Athletic programs; you can request transportation at the time of registration or up to at least 1 week prior to the program date. Transportation for Adult programs is $10/program; because Athletic programs meet weekly, the cost is higher and varies for each sport.
  • What factors are there that determine door-to-door home only transportation?
    • Our door-to-door routes are only available to residents in Champaign and Urbana. The routes need to have a minimum of 2 registrants to run. If a route is cancelled, a phone call will be made to the participant and their caregiver, and a full refund will be issued to the participant.
  • How will I know what our door-to-door times will be? Where can I find transportation times for programs?
    • After all participants have signed up for door-to-door transportation, a route will be formed. Each participant will receive a phone call prior to program with their pickup time. Upon arrive for pickup, staff are to wait no longer than 5 minutes past the specified pick up time for a participant to board the bus. Waiting longer results in a delay in all pickup times. If a participant misses their pickup time, they are responsible for getting to program; CUSR drivers will not return to a pickup spot.
  •  Can I be picked up from work/friend’s house/etc.? What is I want to be dropped off somewhere other than my home?
    • Typically, CUSR drivers only pick up participants from their homes. However, exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. If you wish to be picked up from or dropped off at a location other than your home, please contact the CUSR office prior to the transportation date.
  • How can I get in touch with a CUSR driver during transportation route or program?
    • Our CUSR drivers carry a CUSR cell phone. They can be reached at 217-722-6870 or 217-722-5761.

Volunteer/Employment Opportunities

  • I am interested in volunteering with CUSR, what should I do?
    • We are always looking for fun, energetic people to help with everything from one-time special events to weekly Special Olympics sports programs, even our daily After School program can always use volunteers. Contact Cole Alvis, Volunteer Coordinator at or 217-369-8758.
  • What employment opportunities does CUSR offer?
    • We are always looking for fresh faces to help with our programs. Please visit the Champaign Park District website, here, to see all current employment opportunities and to submit an application.

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