Most buildings appear to cower next to Carolina Balloon Adventures’ rainbow-hued balloon, which rises eight stories above the ground. Helmed by FAA-certified instructor Captain Jack, who has spent three decades in the aviation industry, the balloon and its wicker basket glide over the Yadkin Valley. After launching from one of four local sites, passengers can pluck leaves from treetops, or drink in panoramic views of rolling hills, streams, and landmarks such as Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock. Flight options include dusk and sunrise flights as well as balloon-fundamentals instruction, which covers how balloons evolved from sea creatures.
Dustin Keith, a former paratrooper, police officer, and learjet pilot, says that his favorite job has been owning and operating his boat-rental business with his wife, Andrea. Keith has loved water sports since he was young, and wanted to open the business to help families build their own memories on the water. The Keiths maintain a consistently updated inventory of luxury pontoon boats, kayaks, bowriders, and cabin cruisers, and the low deposits they require for rental are returned to customers the same day. Boat-club memberships give customers unlimited access to the boats without the expense of buying and storing them or setting up mermaid traps along the shore.
The Keiths donate a portion of the profits from boat rentals to Compassion International to support impoverished children in Asia and Africa, and hope to one day dedicate each boat to a child that its rental helps support.
Silence fills the forest as a masked paintball player creeps over logs and leaves, unable to find the opposing team he knows is there. Suddenly, a shower of colored paint spews from behind a nearby tree, and the battle begins. Such moments unfold daily at PBC Paintball Park's facilities during the regular season. Their staff, all of whom are paintball players themselves, have designed both wooded and concept fields at Greensboro, Charlotte, and Greenville. At Greensboro, wooded landscapes transform into a battlefield with bunkers, creeks, and large forts. Felled trees and dense foliage give players ample cover amid the undeveloped woods of Greenville's fields, while tournaments unfold across PBC Charlotte's level terrain. Additionally, PBC Paintball Parks are affiliated with Paintball Central, which runs two stores in North Carolina and one store in South Carolina where players can stock up on enough paintball gear to ready themselves for the inevitable cartoon-character rebellion.
Backed by credentials ranging from NRA certifications to decades of military experience, The Range at Lake Norman's instructors offer courses that cover gun safety, local gun laws, and first aid. Some courses incorporate the Meggitt XVT law-enforcement simulator, a training tool used by the U.S. Government, U.S. embassies around the world and local law enforcement agencies. The Range also hosts special events, such as ladies' nights and bowling-pin shoots.
The volunteer coaches at Greensboro United Soccer Association teach children and adults of all ages and skill levels how to sharpen their soccer skills during various programs. GUSA’s primary goal is to enrich the community, whether it's creating camps to prepare teenagers for their high-school soccer season, or outreach programs that bring pickup soccer games to nearly 150 children in area schools.