Above, children enjoy the pool at the family-friendly Lake Forest Club. – Lake Forest Club photos
Lake Forest Club Offers an Extensive Array of Sporting and Social Activities
by Hal Schweig
“We joined the Lake Forest Club for its safe, family environment, an unpretentious place we appreciate,” said Mary Therese Williams, mother of five children ranging in age from 10 years to 22 months.
“The club has a very welcoming atmosphere,” continued Ms. Williams, whose family has been a member of the Club for about one and one-half years. “It was also important to my husband and me to have a club with great dining facilities and good food, and most importantly, healthy food my children would eat,” she said, laughing.
“Lake Forest Club offers a lot of activities for our kids,” she said. “They love to swim and the club has an A+ swim team and a phenomenal staff.”
Situated on eight private acres adjacent to Lake Forest Hospital, the Club is celebrating its 58th anniversary since its opening in 1958 with 30 founding members. Today, its membership has grown ten times with about 300 families with 1,500 members, including individuals and seniors.
Peter Rukavina, current president of the Club and a member for 11 years, said, “My wife and I joined the club because of friends and families we knew who had just joined. For us, the key to joining was the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere in every aspect of the club. Incidentally, Rukavina’s wife, Laura Rukavina, is co-owner of LF Juice in Lake Forest.
“In addition, members we spoke to referred to the swim team as the ‘gold standard’ among Chicagoland clubs, and perennial meet champions. They also said the tennis and paddle facilities were second to none with some of the best teaching pros. The club’s summer and fall camp programs for kids were described as the best for fun and enrichment,” he concluded.
Long-time Lake Forest resident, Rukavina is spearheading a campaign to attract new members to enjoy a similar experience which has given so much to he and his wife and their three sons.
The Lake Forest Club has been cited for its rich tradition of sporting activities with a focus on participation, skill development and good sportsmanship. “Most members simply have fun at our three swimming pools, 12 clay tennis courts, four paddle courts as well as basketball and volleyball courts and a playground,” Rukavina said.
“There is also a winter sledding hill and this past winter we installed a brand new ice rink,” he added. The club also offers limited golf to members through its relationship with nearby Glen Flora Country Club.
“In the last few months we began an extensive renovation program which included remodeling and upgrading the bar and our newly named 554 North Restaurant to appeal more to families. The restaurant, which seats about 250 diners, is open seven days a week during the season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during the off season,” said Luke Treichel, executive chef of the restaurant.
“Offering upscale but casual family dining, the restaurant completely changes its menu six times a year,” Treichel added, the dining and drinking facilities include the Shark Bar & Grille and the Shark Bites snack bar. Alfresco dining is available on the terrace overlooking the pool deck.
In addition to its extensive array of sporting activities, the Lake Forest Club offers members dozens of year-round social events. The club also supports the community by hosting non-members’ social activities, fund raising events, etc., in its dining/ballroom environment as well as outdoor party facilities in the summer.
“The Lake Forest Club offers one of the best summer day camps on the North Shore for kids between three and ten,” said Rukavina. “There is a myriad of activities for families with young children through teens and young adults, along with active adults or all ages.”
The Lake Forest Club is located at 554 North Westmoreland Road in the suburb. For more information, visit www.lakeforestclubfamily.com, or contact Club President Peter Rukavina at 847-420-0082 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hal Schweig is a novelist from Skokie