Programs that build character, leadership, and valuable skills for young people are at the heart of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama’s main mission. Today more than 8,000 children and teens count on the four area BGCCA clubs as a place where they can learn to grow and hone their abilities. By providing a safe place where children and teens can both learn and have fun, the centers hope to promote healthy lifestyles, community engagement, and a greater readiness for the working world. That mission is most apparent in the success of program graduates, who graduate from high school at a rate of 90%, compared to 66% nationally.
Slinging strikes and slamming home runs since 1885, the Birmingham Barons ready themselves for another year of fierce Minor League competition. Pitcher Charles Shirek and returning manager Bobby Magallanes look to build momentum from the team's 2011 playoff appearance and begin the 2012 season with numerous wins, few losses, and no trouble from the actual barons of Birmingham. Duos of Barons fans can head to Regions Park for a six-pack of bat-and-ball spectacles. The 10,800-capacity stadium hosts a profusion of special events, such as a fireworks displays, T-shirt giveaways, and panel discussions on traditional baseball-stitching patterns. Groupon customers should call the box office to schedule their welcome announcement at least one week prior to the chosen game.
Endurance Trainer fosters the core-crunching, shoulder-sculpting athletics of pole dancing through instructor Laura Wiggins, an AFAA-certified personal trainer. In Intro to Pole, all-female apprentices acquire essential pole techniques, including a basic spin, a level-one climb, and a top-secret antigravity booster. Intro classes also include mellifluous dance transitions and more traditional floor-based choreography. Laura limits twirling trainees to four to ensure plenty of space and personal guidance. The studio’s wood-shuttered windows and no-observers policy ensure privacy, and also prevent interruptions from any lost firemen trying to slide down to waiting engines. Endurance Trainer recommends that new pole-pivoters bring a yoga mat and bottled water, eschew lotions and oils, and wear comfortable, leg-baring workout gear to best achieve gyroscopic suspension.
Sips n Strokes gifts paintbrush-wielding neophytes the tools and confidence to create, with a mélange of masterpiece-making tutorials and a bring-your-own-beverage policy. Artists can elect a class from the shop's calendar to hone the painting style that best complements their home, office, or neighbor's windshield, including picks of imagery from Parisian scenes to funky roosters. Each course, led by an instructor well versed in the trade, pairs well with the liquid inspiration of each student's choosing. Silence-seeking artists or easily corruptible mimes may opt for an afternoon or weeknight session, as the weekends generally garner 20 to 50 rowdy rookies.
Moxii specializes in transforming student apartments and non-student homes with professionally selected items in a variety of textures, patterns, and colors. Fix broken items fashionably with the pretty girl tool set ($38), brighten up dull design with a ceramic wall sconce with tea light ($48), or snooze on straight style with a couple of apple blossom pillows ($25). Savvy Egyptian cotton bath towels ($14.95 each) let you dry off in a hue of your choice while the Regina laundry bag ($68) makes dirty laundry feel like runway models that haven't taken a shower in days. You can also purchase two Groupons and combine them toward larger purchases such as the customer favorite Damask quilt ($159), a beautifully crafted quilt that tastefully updates the ancient design with patterned color contrasts.