Working as a pediatrician in 2004, Dr. Joe Cangas noticed that many local children didn’t wear helmets while riding their bicycles. Concerned for their safety, he began talking to children at local schools and founded Helmets First! as his mission grew. As the Helmet Doctor, he conducts regular talks at neighborhood schools, clubs, and community centers, teaching youth about the importance of wearing helmets. His organization also runs events where it distributes free helmets to youth from low-income backgrounds after measuring their heads for the proper fit. Only with a proper fit are helmets effective at preventing traumatic head injuries. Since its inception, Helmet First! has donated more than 14,000 helmets to local youth.
The Improv Trick’s founding funnyman Bill Chott is a graduate of the Ivy League of improv schools, The Second City. He put in his time working alongside Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and others before making the leap to screens made of silver and TV particles. Comedy connoisseurs recognize his voice from various Saturday Night Live animated shorts, and his unmistakable mug from movies such as The Ringer and Galaxy Quest, and television shows such as Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, among many others. He has also lent his writing talents to SNL and The Dana Carvey Show. His impressive resumé translates into a reliable and wealthy source of comedic knowhow, which he gladly imparts to his students, staff, and his own reflection.
Named St. Louis’s Best Driving Range by the Riverfront Times in 2007, Family Golf & Learning Center earns praise as an encouraging environment in which golfers of all levels can hone their games. The lighted range boosts golfers with a second story of hitting stations stacked on top of the first that offers a bird’s-eye view, if that bird is sitting on the head of a giraffe. The range also features both real zoysia-grass tees as well as artificial-turf tees, and it stays open year-round thanks to heaters that prevent golf clubs’ handles from developing frostbite.
Once thoroughly limbered up, golfers can tee off on the par 3 course, where a maximum hole length of 160 yards allows for practice with short strokes and putting. Should self-improvement reach a plateau, the center’s instructors stand ready to help players make further strides through onsite lessons.
Course at a Glance:
Both a firearm emporium and shooting range, Sovereign Arms seeks to inform and instruct its clientele on the benefits of safe firearm use with classes ranging from personal safety to church-security training. The staff also offers private security services in scenarios such as international travel.
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.
While childhood obesity is a topic that receives widespread attention, registered nurse Jean Huelsing uncovered a facet of the issue that many have overlooked: Some of the very "fat camps" designed to help overweight kids slim down were actually part of the problem. She takes issue with these camps’ short-term approach, as they rely on fast-acting diets rather than instilling healthier lifestyle habits. Striving to succeed where other camps failed, Jean started Camp Jump Start in 2003 and, just three years and a score of happy campers later, founded The Living Well Foundation to extend the reach of her holistic-wellness principles.
The organization now hosts a wide range of camps for adults and children alike. They’re held at Living Well Village, which occupies 250 acres in the woods, where campers can develop a love for active pastimes through outdoor activities, such as navigating ropes courses, fishing, and juggling beavers.