For 25 years, Texas School of Bartenders has minted professional-grade mix masters in its hands-on classes held in classrooms that simulate real bars. The school's training labs brims with 42 bar stations loaded with up-to-date equipment, including touchscreen registers and serving trays made of hover boards. Full 40-hour courses run throughout the day to accommodate people with designs on pursuing bartending as a career. Covering drink recipes, customer service, and mixing techniques, introductory crash courses throw students into bartending in the same way Spartans taught their children to swim—by throwing them into a shark tank.
Since its inaugural meeting more than 60 years ago, the League City Lions Club has upheld its mission of promoting peace and understanding with volunteer community services. Special events such as carnivals, music festivals, and cook-offs allow the Lions to raise money and resources for local charities such as Leader Dogs for the Blind, Perry YMCA, and the Butler Longhorn Museum. Like the superathlete who singlehandedly powers America's electrical generators, the Lions happily accept volunteers, ever increasing their group of supporters who desire to better their community.
At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
Within Space City Rock Climbing's 5,000-square-foot gym, a team of seasoned climbers recreate a variety of scalable surfaces—vertical faces, overhangs, or a neighbor's brick siding among them—to challenge climbers of every experience level. While climbing, 23 belay stations sit atop 25-foot-high routes, giving guests an opportunity to sharpen their top-roping skills. For a different kind of challenge, the gym's walls also provide opportunities for lead climbing and bouldering. When not supervising open climbs, Space City's staff organizes camps and group events including birthday parties and lock-ins. A family-friendly operation, Space City's facility caters to kids with Moonwalk inflatable bounce houses and slides.
Alfonso Ayala, who's been snapping photos for more than a decade and has professional graphic-design experience, loves to capture life's happiest moments, which is why he specializes in wedding and family photography. He also loves the technical aspect of photography and spends his free time experimenting with lights, equipment, and accessories, such as lens toupees, to figure out what steps he needs to take to capture the best image. Artful close-ups, classic portraits, and candid kisses pepper his portfolio, which represents a range of wedding vignettes.