The 88?x184? Mateflex court inside Benfield Sportscenter is a shape-shifter. One day, it might be a full-size soccer field ready for child or adult leagues. The next, it could be a baseball, field hockey, or lacrosse field. Or maybe it'll be split into several different volleyball and basketball courts, with one corner cordoned off for competitive I-spy tournaments. Whatever the sport, Benfield's staff can set up the indoor arena to meet the athletes' needs. Away from the arena, Benfield Sportscenter encompasses a 1,400-square-foot training area with exercise equipment, as well as a lobby with WiFi and a snack bar.
In addition to open sessions and leagues, the staff teaches a carefully designed child-development program for ages 3 to 5. The curriculum starts with a multi-sport class, then moves on to a tri-sport class, before finally placing kids in single-sport sessions. This encourages children to find their ideal sport, whether it's basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, or lacrosse.
All the moving and shaking inside Joe's has been known to register on the Richter and set off the sixth senses of forest creatures. Classes focus on styles and arts from around the world but are united by the common themes of fitness and fun, as well as by the plot twists in Donnie Darko and its sequel, Donnie Darko 2: Donnie Darker. The 20,000-square-foot performing center has enough space to accommodate a multitude of options—which it does—seven days a week.
THEARC is home to the only community theater in its area, which hosts the I Can summer program, an internship that teaches area young people ages 14–24 about technical-theater management. The eight-week paid internship will invite 10 new interns beginning this June for an introduction to the creative and practical skills required to produce and design plays. Interns also receive training in life skills such as resume writing, setting long-term goals, public speaking, and financial literacy. I Can aims to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the skills they need to achieve academic and career success. THEARC relies on the help of donations to provide each intern with the basic supplies they need to participate in the program.
THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."
The graceful ease with which a good bartender mixes drinks masks the difficulty of the job, one that requires knowledge and dexterity—not to mention charisma. The seasoned barkeeps at Bartender of America, a TIPS-certified school, know what it takes to be a good bartender and lead their students through deliberate exercises inside a fully simulated tavern environment. Amid ambient sounds and music, novice bartenders dole out maraschino cherries and shake martinis while refining their conversational skills and learning how to identify underage kids by their mustaches. Fully committed students can opt for the entire Bar 101 curriculum, attaining a bartending license and valuable tricks for managing their resume and acing job interviews, while abbreviated classes offer insight into the fundamentals of the trade.
Forty varieties of bourbon and 60 beer draughts flow freely from taps into souvenir glasses, slaking thirsty throats with unlimited sips as guests tear through smoky meat concoctions at the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival's tasting stations. Once stuffed with ribs, brisket, and sausage, attendees can retire to the tasting theater to take in a seminar from pit masters and gourmet chefs on preparing fine barbecue or brewing stellar bourbon. Live rock, blues, and bluegrass bands set the airwaves quivering from the main stage with wailing tunes or announcements drawn in barbecue sauce. A cigar tent provides a smoky haven for puffing on fine tobacco products, and big-screen TVs beam the latest sports action directly into eyeballs.