Elsie Lodde grew up on a farm surrounded by her own menagerie. She bottle-fed her first homeless kittens and bunnies at a young age and began bringing home and caring for strays in her free time as an adult. She started working for a national rescue group but grew unhappy with the group's restrictions and decided to rescue dogs on her own. Elsie founded Recycled Pets Norcal to give homeless animals a chance they might not otherwise get in shelters. The entire staff consists of volunteers, who foster many animals in their own homes before finding adoptive families for them in Northern California, vowing to follow up with each adoption to ensure the animals don't return to shelters. The organization also spays or neuters homeless animals and assists dogs' adoptive families with training, food, and transportation to veterinary appointments.
It Factor Studios' film performance and industry workshops unfurl under the leadership of Hollywood directors and professional actors from the American Film Institute. Founder Ryan McKinney and coach to the stars Steve Whittaker apply their workplace experience to create a safe and progressive learning environment and help actors to prepare for industry difficulties such as auditioning, resumé writing, or staring contests with Jack Nicholson. The results-driven team mentors budding performers of all experience and skill levels in a wealth of techniques, including Method and Meisner, with many courses designed to complement each other.
To enable instructional shoots and commercial productions, the studio boasts full capabilities for film preparation, shooting, and editing. Students interested in the back side of the lens can sign up for instruction in film shooting, editing, and screenwriting, enabling them to stage scenes and reboot old home movies under professional conditions. In addition to workshops, events such as guest-speaker series with working or retired film professionals help pupils to garner real industry connections.
Colored lights flash as a disco ball spins and glitters over Sunrise Rollerland's glossy, blond hardwood floor where kids and their families roll along on quads or inline skates. During open-skating sessions, adults relive their childhood and children experience it the first time around as a live DJ spins tunes new and old. At the rink, clubs such as the Artistic Club and Speed Skating club congregate. These clubs are open to anyone, sanctioned by USA Roller Sports, and led by experienced teams of coaches. Additionally, skaters 5 years old and older can take lessons suited to their skill level. To celebrate a birthday, kids can choose from three party themes; the rink can accommodate skaters at any private event. On Wednesday night, adults 18 and older can enjoy adult-skate night.
At On The Rocks, barkeeps serve frosty beers and potent cocktails to old regulars and those just stopping by. Homey, knotted-pine walls surround patrons as they watch football games with friends or join in spontaneous high-production-value dance routines during karaoke.
Since 1960, families have converged at Foothill Farms Cabana Club #2 for summertime fun. Overseen by trained lifeguards, swimmers submerge themselves in the facility's three large outdoor pools, splashing down via a diving board or pool slide. When exercise is the main priority, lap swimming offers an endurance-building workout, while a knee-high wading pool gives tots a safe place to splash. Outside the water, dry-land activities adjacent to the pools include games of horseshoes, volleyball, basketball, and ping-pong, which help families dry off before munching on meals cooked in the outdoor brick barbecue area or purchased from the snack bar. For special events, clubhouses complete with commercial kitchens are available for rent.
Andy Siebert floated in the water, weightless—almost as if in outer space—and watched as all 40 feet of a Galapagos Island whale shark drifted past him. It’s moments like that one that Andy lives for, having devoted his life to scuba diving. He took his first dive as a teenager, but didn’t take the sport seriously until he turned 42, at which point he began his journey to log more than 3,000 dives.
Now, as owner of Scuba World, Andy works to help others discover their love of the underwater sport. One part retail shop and one part scuba-diving school, the PADI five-star IDC dive center is chock-full of gear for purchase and rental, as well as expert instructors who teach classes for divers of all levels, including instructor-level classes. Their classes range from beginner discovery sessions to open-water-certification courses to rescue-diver classes for the more advanced diver who is worried about all those fish in the ocean who need help getting out. Andy’s wife and partner, Lynn Siebert, plans trips that take divers to waters all over the world, including the nearby Monterey Bay and more far-flung expeditions in Micronesia.
To create Stoney's Rockin' Rodeo in 2007, the owner combined his two passions in life: cooking and country dancing. As a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, he has been adamant about offering hearty eats at affordable prices, which is why Stoney's menu is a line-up of comfort cuisine including barbeque meats, half-pound Angus burgers, and steaks grilled to order. At the restaurant’s front bar saloon, drinks are poured while guests belt out their favorite tunes during nightly karaoke or as they perch on a high-top chair to watch a sports game on one of five flat-screen TVs.
At the back of the house, novice line dancers and seasoned do-se-do-ers participate in free country-dance lessons in a spacious dancehall. Award-winning instructors also guide partnered and non-partnered dancers through workshops. Weekly concerts showcase such artists as Chris Young and Phil Vassar, who deliver the real-deal country music that gets everyone kicking up their heels and high-fiving with their imaginary spittoons.