In 1898—the same year Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium and composer George Gershwin was born—the Wyman Center opened its doors. Founded in St. Louis by a group of citizens intent upon granting the city’s children a respite from the often sweltering tenements, the organization’s first programs were designed to furnish participants with fresh air, healthy food, and fun-filled outdoor activities. Though the world has changed radically since the Wyman Center’s inception, it continues to uphold and expand upon its founders' original mission of providing teens from disadvantaged circumstances with opportunities, support, and educational programs.
Today, powered by a dedicated staff of community leaders and volunteers, the Wyman Center’s numerous initiatives revolve around leadership and outreach programs. Amidst 250 acres of sylvan land, the Eureka campus serves as a base for outdoor education programs available to a variety of organizations from educational camps to team building retreats. Under the watchful eyes of supportive staffers and any fruit bats flying overhead, outdoor adventurers can tackle challenges afforded by ziplines, climbing walls, and orienteering activities. Along with skill-building programs, a variety of getaway packages invite groups to revel in the alfresco amenities of the Eureka campus while celebrating birthdays, weddings, or family reunions.
After honing her baking and decorating skills for more than a decade at a French-pastry shop in the New York City suburbs, Sugar N Spice Creations’ owner, Chris M'Gonigle, started her own cakes, cookies, and pastries business. Along with a team of adept decorators, Chris squeezes colored icing into intricate floral bouquets and coaxes seasonal figures such as turkeys, snowmen, and hearts. She and her staff pass on their baking acumen to visitors in cookie- and cupcake-decorating classes, where they demonstrate how to create icing designs and ancient baker hieroglyphs.
As temperatures rise, Como Snow starts cranking out frosty shaved ice from underneath a colorful canopy. Attendants pump snow cones full of sweet syrups to cool off the masses and their sweaty upper lips at group gatherings and parties. Each catering package includes all the necessary supplies, as well as set-up and break down so that party hosts can spend time enjoying good company and making sure no one is stealing their stuff.
Since Joe Tortorice, Jr. opened the first Jason's Deli location in 1976, it has grown to a mammoth franchise with 230 locations spanning more than 28 states. At the eateries, specialty sandwiches stack 11 varieties of bread with sliced turkey, wild Alaskan salmon, or almost a pound of hot corned beef or pastrami. The delis also offer an array of hearty pastas, fresh-made soups, vegetarian and organic options, and a separate gluten-free menu.
Pics-N-Poses’ private, 5'x5'x6' photo booths document memories at all types of events. Party goers can vamp with feather boas or Mardi Gras beads, or pose against optional customized color backgrounds,. 15 seconds later, photo strips appear printed with color or black and white images as well as the host's personalized text.
Marie Griffin’s love of photography started at a young age when she would snap pictures of birds while sitting with her grandmother beneath the feeder. Today, she carries on the family-based tradition by shooting portrait sessions for newborns, kids, couples, and families. She also captures the energy and myriad emotions at weddings, and can enliven all private events with photo-booth rentals.