On the blue and springy expanse of AKF Martial Arts Academy's floor, uniformed students kick, jab, and whirl between defensive movements. Stripes of color bedeck their waists, showcasing what level they've reached and the score of their focus and determination.
It may surprise some parents, then, to hear what Master Cantin has to say about his studio. Unlike curricula at many other schools, he says, programs at AKF do not focus on heavy combat, tournament training, Eastern philosophy, or how to rope cattle by twirling a black belt. What his programs do achieve is something even more important and nuanced: building character and athletic prowess. Master Cantin and his fellow instructors count confidence, discipline, and listening among the skills they strive to instill, along with physical agility and stamina. In this way, the AKF team expands students' sense of self, and equips them with tools they can apply to all manner of challenges throughout life. And because many levels can train at once, whole families often enroll together, with parents and kids learning alongside one another.
At Xtreme Wheels Roller Skating & Family Fun Center's 30,000 sq. ft. facility, the rental center stocks skates as tiny as a toddler size 7. Here, skaters of all ages are welcome to take a turn on the rink. This is no big surprise, given the history of the father-daughter team who runs the rink. Dean Hohl has more than three decades of rink management under his belt, while his daughter Kimi started toddling on wheels as soon as she could walk.
They welcome families to make skating a part of their history on the rink's 17,000 sq. foot wooden floor during a variety of often themed open-skate sessions. They often host birthday parties in a fun family atmosphere in one of their five party rooms. During Kids Celebration Skate, parents get even the smallest members of the brood in on the fun by pushing their strollers around the rink, and packs can dress up for the Halloween costume contest or skate off excess caloric intakes at the Skate Your Turkey Off Thanksgiving event. To refuel after a day on the rink, skaters break at the concession stand to snack on pizza, pretzels, and hot dogs.
When it originally opened in 1929, the Raue Center For The Arts was dubbed "El Tovar," though no one knew what that meant?it was jut a term overheard by one of the venue's founders on a trip to the west coast. Regardless of its meaning (or lack of one), the name seemed to accurately define the theater's elegance, from the star-filled sky of its ceiling to the facades of Spanish buildings lining its walls.
El Tovar drifted into deterioration over the years, undergoing several different monikers as it switched from owner to owner. Luckily, a generous bequest from Crystal Lake resident Lucile Raue led to a much-needed restoration. A two-year renovation left the theater looking as glamorous as it did when it was El Tovar?seats were reupholstered, and every android usher received an oil change.
Organizing meet-and-greets with professional athletes, Sideline Marketing helps connect superstars with charities, major fans, and handwriting enthusiasts. Representing players with the NFL, the NHL, and the NBA alike, the agency has worked with such stars as Bo Jackson, Patrick Kane, Joakim Noah, and Kellen Davis. Through Sideline, these athletes?along with dozens more?have delivered inspiring speeches, sat for group photographs, and offered up their John Hancocks at memorabilia signings.
Owner Debbie Stoffregen has taught children to swim for more than 15 years, a background that helped her develop Catch the Wave Swim Club's unique instructor training program. Stoffregen only mints adult teachers and personally coaches them once they have achieved certifications in Red Cross CPR, lifeguarding, AED, and first aid. Instructors teach water safety with compassion, creating a family-like atmosphere to help adults overcome their fears, introduce infants as young as three months old (accompanied by a guardian) to the warm, 90-degree pool, and acclimate adolescents to their newly sprouted gills. Surrounded by healthy, confident swimmers, Stoffregen realized the sport could be used as a therapeutic intervention, and created classes for special-needs individuals and those desiring a low-impact way to stay fit.