Glitches in online camp registration for some Chicago parents

April 9, 2012 3:01:17 PM PDT
The Chicago Park District camp website experienced some glitches on the first day of registration, leading some Chicago parents to experience problems Monday trying to sign up their children for summer camps.

Parents around the city have been waiting all year for today in order to be able to sign up their children online for spring park district classes. The park district says thousands of Chicago families were able to sign up their children and enroll them, and that they still have thousands of programs open to be filled.

However, parents at a local park in Ukrainian Village say the park district online website is complicated and they had a difficult time this morning registering their children and had to wait a long time.

"It's really difficult," said parent Suzanne Wahl. "I think the Park District has made it, sadly, more difficult when they revamped their web site. We can go on and create a wish list prior to the enrollment date, but once you try to enroll, you're waiting for 30 minutes and you can only try to enroll for one program at a time."

Wahl also said that she waited long to get a response from the web site letting her know if her 4-year-old daughter Lilly had been approved.

"Unfortunately, that did happen to me," she said. "I was able to get in one program at Commercial Park, but the camp wanted at Smith Park for tots sadly was closed after the screen finally timed out."

It's too long and we have to correct it," said Park District CEO Michael Kelly. "The system didn't crash, but it's record volume and that's what we're seeking. I want more kids in our programs. We need to do a better job with the wait time. We need to do a better job."

William Dahms says that he believes the Chicago Park District offers a great deal for his daughter Lilly and her friend Lyllilette, and that the park district makes a positive difference in their lives because they offer some great programs and a good value for the money if you are able to maneuver their web site.

"It is a little tricky at first when so many people trying to enroll at the same time," Dahms said.

The park district says parents must create an account on the new registration system prior to registering, set up a wish list and follow the screen directions. "Be diligent," Kelly said. "We're still the best deal in town and people need to sometimes work a little harder than I want them to work, but we still have the best programs to offer."

The feature does not save actual slots in the program, but does save time on the first day of registration.

Kelley added that if patrons do not get in their program right away be flexible on your location another one may be available in a different area. He suggests parents consider registering in person on Saturday and ask to be added to a waiting list.