After one look at the pristine pools packed with toys, and it’s no surprise why La Petite Baleen’s four San Francisco-area swim facilities are so popular with kids. What may be surprising however, is that the flourishing network of schools started humbly in the backyard pool of John Kolbisen and Irene Madrid.
In 1979, the public school teachers were brainstorming ways to integrate their passion for educating kids with their love of the water. Starting with their own three children, some neighborhood kids, and one cleverly disguised frog, John and Irene began teaching swim lessons with a rather progressive philosophy: They approached swimming not just as an extracurricular activity, but as a means to boost self-confidence, build friendships, and learn to overcome fears.
More than 30 years later, La Petite Baleen has become a renowned family of schools, partnered with the U.S. Swim School Association and the Swim for Life Foundation. Part of the success has to do with how children are grouped. In weekly sessions, pods of tots of similar age, skill level, and personality evolve at a similar pace—earning individual achievement ribbons as they do. Kids make friends in the group, and the recurring scheduling means that they can stay enrolled with their new buddies indefinitely or until they grow their own dorsal fins. Each location’s indoor pools are kept at an inviting 90 degrees, in an attempt to make even the most timid student to feel comfortable in the water. Perhaps most importantly, the teachers participate in ongoing training designed to encourage empathetic, yet firm teaching methods.
At Maloney's Horses and Ponies, majestic steeds graze and buck in open pastures backed by a landscape of picturesque rolling hills and whispering ocean waves. Standing in the sea breeze is Cheryl Maloney, the proprietor and head riding instructor. Before opening her school, Cheryl taught throughout the United States and England, most recently directing the Stanford Riding School for 12 years. She is joined by fellow instructors Sara Williams, Sarah Platshon, and Jack Gosse-Fuchs; together, the team leads lessons in English-style riding for students of all ages and skill levels.
During lessons, students learn the fundamentals of riding—from sitting in a basic balancing position to standing while singing the horse anthem—along with necessary horsemanship skills such as grooming and tacking. The lessons take place in Maloney's all-weather back sand arena, where picturesque ocean views frame a colorful jumping course, and a front arena dedicated to dressage and flat exercises. The school also has access to more than 7 miles of beach trails that lead riders on explorations of the bluffs or trots down to the surf. The school also boards horses, sells and leases new mounts, and holds summer camps for riders up to 15 years old.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, strengthen bones, and increase metabolism. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottles to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions can create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to help create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
Sun Center for Well Being utilizes Network Spinal Analysis™ (Network Care). We provide a unique healing and wellness perspective. Unlike the treatment of disease that may merely alleviate a symptom, Network Care results in what is called “wellness behavior” or an increased “sense of well-being.”
At Premier Plastic Surgery, board-certified plastic surgeon James Newman, MD, FACS and his fellow board-certified plastic surgeons enhance beauty within their state-of-the-art surgical suite. Dr. Newman completed his residency and a fellowship in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford University, where he now serves on the clinical faculty. He completed an additional fellowship with an emphasis on laser surgery after recognizing the large role lasers now play in surgical procedures. The renowned surgeon also lectures internationally and has authored more than 30 surgery-related scientific publications and a coloring book.
Dr. Newman and his staff perform a variety of medical procedures, ranging from face-lifts and Vaser ultrasonic liposuction to minimally invasive body-contouring and enhancement techniques. They can also combat signs of aging via nonsurgical means, including dermal fillers that smooth wrinkles and Vaser Shape sessions that, like a rearview mirror in place of a bathroom mirror, make bodies look smaller.
As the head surfing instructor at Sea, Surf & Fun, Frenchman Fabien passes on board-riding expertise he has picked up on world travels. He has cut through the mist-veiled trenches of waves in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Brazil. Armed with certifications in CPR and basic first aid, Fabien heads to Half Moon Bay to conduct surfing lessons that emphasize safety. He works toward this end by keeping a low student-to-teacher ratio and only surfing one ocean at a time.
Students practice patience and respect for both nature and their fellow boarders, understanding that the ocean can prove dangerous when taken for granted. In addition to group lessons, the hang-ten outfit conducts all-day surf camps that may also include beach volleyball, soccer, and walking tours.