Phoenix Area Skydiving’s professional staff specializes in training and instilling confidence in first-time skydivers. They accompany these novices into compact aircraft for up to 120-mile-per-hour tandem free falls over the expansive Arizona desert landscape. Once up in the air, they field visitors’ questions about flight mechanics and often let them control the parachute, granting a more effective hands-on skydiving experience than wrestling with a ceiling fan. They also prepare visitors for solo flights with an accelerated free-fall program, and safeguard each diver’s safety with a technique briefing and gear check before every flight.
A safe space. That's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley give to more than 43,000 kids each year. But along with keeping kids out of harm's way after school lets out, the Boys & Girls Clubs enrich children's lives though their programs. Kids get creative in arts classes, learn social interaction and fitness skills in sports programs, and prepare for the future with technology courses that ensure they won't buy stock in companies that only produce floppy discs.
But the Boys & Girls Clubs impact kids beyond afterschool care. In addition to the East Valley clubs having the first Arizona club to serve a Native American community, the clubs' Ladmo branch has Mona Dixon, who was named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2010.
Her path of success, encouraged by the Boys & Girls Clubs, led her from a girl homeless and worried about her family's survival to a young woman with a full ride to college and named one of the Top 28 Most Influential Black Women in America by Essence magazine.
The RV park at Casa Grande Trap & Skeet encourages its visitors to linger for days on end. Full hookups and seasonal appearances from an onsite caterer bring comforts to the desert, as sunsets paint the sky above the Casa Grande Mountains every evening. But it's during the daytime hours that Casa Grande truly shines. On the grounds, areas for Five-stand and Skeet shooting challenge visitors, as do 13 fields of Traps. The owners?comprised of Tiger and Don Volz?welcome visitors of all experience levels when it comes to shooting, with lessons for beginners and frequent competitions for the more advanced.
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A person steps onto the range and raises a pistol, aligning the sight not on a paper target, but on miniature pumpkins. To keep things fresh, the staff at Ted's Shooting Range likes giving both members and the general public a bit of novelty every now and then by furnishing range targets that range from bowling pins to balloons. Ted's NRA-certified instructors also train students during classes, such as their Basic Pistol and Home Defense courses.
No matter what the weather, at Jump Jungle, it's always blue skies. Here, kids play in an indoor playground under cover of a sky-blue ceiling that protects them from the outdoors' stifling heat or pouring rains. Inside, they leap across the springy floors of bounce houses, weave thorough the inflatable obstacle course, and scoot down air-filled slides. Picnic benches provide good vantage points for parents, and an arcade gives eye-hand coordination a good workout. Families can also plan parties here to celebrate their child turning a year older or being able to eat in a restaurant sans booster seat.