The Little Gym of Gurnee, a branch of the nationwide network of Little Gyms, fosters educational wonderment, physical development, and self-confidence in children aged four months to 12 years old through engaging, interactive classes. Trained instructors lead the classes and impart motor skills, language development, and leadership skills through karate and dance classes, as well as brain boost activities—all with the goal of encouraging age-appropriate development in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
Bittersweet Golf Club’s 18-hole course winds through mature hardwoods and the brambly grasses of native wetlands, supporting the ecosystem that continues to thrive around the former bird sanctuary. Recent renovations have made the Bittersweet course more playable, a personality shift that earned it the Daily Herald’s 2010 Readers' Choice Award as well as several dates with a local soccer field. The course still retains many of its score-mangling qualities, as evidenced by the presence of water hazards on all but one hole, including two ponds that line the sides of the narrow fairway on the ninth hole, appropriately dubbed “Slim.” Bent-grass greens await clubbers at the opposite end of every tee, sporting a slick surface that can complicate even simple putts. To get golfers in shape for the demanding links, Bittersweet’s pro shop and staff of PGA instructors outfit clients with the skills, apparel, and divot-tool implants needed to hunt pins with confidence.
When Sensei Katrina Polen teaches Ryukyu Kempo karate to students of all genders and ages during classes, she’s not just showing them self-defense techniques—she’s encouraging them to adopt a lifestyle of fitness, character growth, and creativity. She oversees sparring matches that teach the value of a strong work ethic or stunt double, and also plans optional competitions for those desiring more concrete stakes. To allow her protégés an artistic say in their practice, she gives them free reign of the demonstration group, TeamKat, which plans routines for performance.
She also offers non-karate classes in the form of Zumba, cardio-kickboxing, and personal-training sessions. She works to cultivate a tight-knit sense community by hosting additional events, such as birthday parties and bimonthly movie nights.
The coaches at Gym Spot have trained several award-winning state and regional gymnasts, as well as recreational gymnasts. However, they also train babies. Their curriculum covers classes for children as young as 12 months, as they believe that a gymnastics education develops universal life skills, not just the ability to win medals. Their preschool sessions allow toddlers to work with their parents or on their own, depending on age, as they practice hand-eye coordination and cooperation.
As for children in 1st through 8th grade, they participate in activities that align with the USA Gymnastics program, including tumbling, vaulting, balance beam, and bars. Students who hope to compete, meanwhile, work on graduating each successive USAG level.