The 18 wide fairways at Papio Greens Golf Center stretch toward smooth, par 3 greens designed to be manageable and challenging for both beginner and advanced players. Groundskeepers and staff have styled the complex as a place where families can take to the links together. Young golfers can be found preparing for their upcoming junior-league tournaments on the facility's water driving range, and adult players await their tee time by rehearsing bunker chips on the nearby practice green. Certified teaching pro Mike DeBoer teaches onsite clinics and private lessons that help beginners sharpen their swings and cut down on balls lost to the water hazards and intergalactic wormhole framing the course. Night or day, players can practice their putting beneath the lights that illuminate 36 holes of miniature golf.
Give Advanced Air Incorporated an hour of your time, and their instructors can give you the power of flight. Their light training aircraft climbs high above Council Bluffs, where the airport's 656 acres start to look like the world's most realistic Lego set. The instructor hands over the controls, and novices take charge of a plane for the very fist time. The experience is known as a Discovery Flight, and it's a fitting name. That short time in the air can plant the seeds for a lifelong hobby, or perhaps even a career.
The journey to private or commercial licenses begins in ground school, but skills solidify once on Council Bluffs Airport's runways. CBA offers new pilots an ideal location. The airport lies close to Class C airspace, so new fliers begin communicating with air traffic controllers right away. Here, Advanced Air Incorporated's instructors have led many pupils to success; their website's home page brims with words of congratulations for new fliers or pilots who have gained instrument ratings and advanced certifications.
These students don't set their autopilot to fly off into the sunset. Advanced Air Incorporated keeps pilots around with a rental fleet of 10 light aircraft, including Cessna and Piper models. The maintenance team also works on privately owned planes.
Ultimate Baseball Academy’s bullpen of coaches and professional and college players enlightens their athletic students in all aspects of their sport across a 55,000-square-foot facility. Batting cages rattle with the metal-pinging or wood-cracking ricochets of fair and foul hits, with baseball cages capable of four speed settings spanning from 40 to 80 miles per hour for experienced players and radar-gun calibration. Twenty-four training tunnels, five pitching machines, and a 150’x150’ turf field set the stage for pedagogical sessions in techniques such as pitching, catching, hitting, and fielding, as well as training camps and clinics. The academy also organizes youth baseball and adult softball tournaments, pitting hopeful teams against each other in battles either to the top or to the top of the sportsmanship rankings.
Academy Award-winning director of Erin Brockovich and Traffic, Steven Soderbergh discusses his filmmaking career with Kurt Andersen, author and host of Public Radio International's Studio 360, during this arts-foundation fundraising event. Soderbergh’s unique filmic perspective stems from a prolific directorial career, with numerous projects garnering Oscar nominations and awards, as well as induction into the Library of Congress's National Film Registry. Omaha native and Academy Award–winning writer-director of Sideways Alexander Payne kicks off the evening with an introduction to the presentation.
Two-year-olds in HappyFeet soccer training sing “Roll, roll, roll your ball” to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” The program’s graduates, though, often go on to more sophisticated activities—such as collegiate and professional soccer careers and jobs kicking computers that won’t work right. Founded by Andy Barney, the HappyFeet franchise encompasses two programs: one for tots aged 2–6 and Legends soccer for older youths. HappyFeet’s coaches focus on childhood development while hosting onsite classes at preschools. Their curriculum fuses soccer drills with kid-friendly characters such as Gus the Gorilla. Meanwhile, the Legends program takes a more grownup approach, emphasizing the arts of dribbling, scoring, and evading opposing players with deft footwork.
The YMCA of Greater Omaha brings people together at 10 locations with character-building programs that strengthen participants' involvement in their community. Adults can get a head start on their New Year's fitness resolutions with body sculpting, Pilates, and other tummy-toning group fitness classes, while kids can expend some energy at a drop-in child-care center that is free while parents work out. YMCA members also enjoy reduced rates on swim lessons and youth sports, as well as free senior programs. All locations except the LaFern Williams Y offer indoor pools for aquatic antics that cannot be properly enjoyed in a bathtub's limited splashing-real estate.