Founded in 2004 by a pair of Brewers scouts and the CEO of Titus Sports Academy, the brains behind Next Level Baseball staff their indoor facility?a one-stop shop with four full-length batting cages and dirt pitching mound?with skilled instructors from the professional and collegiate baseball circuits. With private coaching and group clinics in all areas, from pitching and hitting to spotting angels in the outfield, Next Level?s instructors shepherd beginning players down the road to competitive play at intermediate and professional levels. The pro shop?s selection of high-end gear from ROGO and Rawlings matches each player?s equipment to their burgeoning skill set, which they can flaunt after lessons by nimbly pitching quarters into the arcade?s blinking battalion of games.
The School of Arts and Sciences offers plant enthusiasts two days' worth of ambling horticultural education in six different tourable garden locales. Family groups of up to six people can explore six flora-infested Tour of Gardens spaces, either in self-guided sessions or expertly guided tours. Roam the oak-infused lawns and historic rose gardens of the Goodwood Museum & Gardens, or gain the help of a guide to unearth botanical secrets in the secluded Hidden Garden. An educational session at the Organic Vegetable Garden provides aspiring subsistence farmers with tips on garden layouts and compost making, ensuring they'll never again be forced to bite into the sauna-grown potatoes sold in seedy grocery establishments. Junior family members can bounce across a rubber-cushioned, fun-filled green space in the Backyard Playscape.
Professor Gallop Franklin shuns half measures. Not content to settle on one black belt, he trotted headlong into four—one in goju karate, one in tae kwon do, one in tang soo do, and one in nisei goju. A devoted martial artist since 1963, Gallop pulls from his lifetime of training and instructional experience to lead karate classes at his dojo, Gallop’s Karate. Red and blue mats stretch across the floor of a facility more than 2,000 square feet, where he and his staff of kick-smart martial artists lead students of all ages through karate techniques and training exercises, aiming to enhance physical fitness levels while building confidence and discipline. The instructors infuse adult classes with rigorous drills of functional exercises—a regimen described by reporters from Tallahassee Magazine as “a mind-boggling number of jumping jacks, pushups, karate sit-ups and leg lifts.”
In addition to traditional karate classes, trainers also conduct an energetic boot-camp program that combines martial arts movements with high-intensity exercises. The staff hosts a daily after-school program as well, where they engage youngsters in crafts, games, and karate lessons. They offer students assistance in homework, help them study for tests, and lend constructive feedback on their performance art pieces expressing anguish over bad cafeteria food.
Though Amy Koontz Knippel’s resume teems with prestigious education and accolades—she possesses a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, was awarded the Visual and Media Artist Fellowship from the South Florida Consortium, and received the Millennium Cultural Recognition Award from the Florida Secretary of State—she’s not one to keep the secret of her talents to herself. That’s why she started Natural Photo Safaris: she knows that others love photographing the beauty of the world as much as she does, but might not possess her level of training. She leads groups out into the world to capture eye-catching sights in a range of photographic styles while she teaches guests the ins and outs of their own cameras. She instills the core principles of taking good pictures regardless of what kind of equipment her students wield, even catering to students with older-model cameras that take film.
Founded by current and former law-enforcement officers determined to provide the public with professional firearms training, Shoot & Move grants guests a safe and controlled venue in which to hone their skills during hands-on courses and informative seminars. The skilled instructors can be found leading visitors through courses focused on self defense, including taser training and basic shooting fundamentals that teach essentials such as aiming techniques. Instructors come from varied backgrounds and include current sworn law enforcement officers, former law enforcement officers, former military, and civilian firearms instructors. Along with lessons, the Shoot & Move's crew also pays visits to area groups and associations to lead classes such as women?s personal-safety seminars and off-campus workshops that help students avoid dangerous situations.
Milestone Real Estate Institute prepares its students to earn or reactivate their sales licenses as swiftly and as thoroughly as possible. The Florida Real Estate Commission–approved school offers self-paced online courses as well as intensive classroom sessions. The school's commitment to education extends to occasional free classes open to the public, spreading informed homeownership far and wide like some kind of disease that makes you smarter about real estate.