The door of the limousine opens and flash bulbs burst in a thunderstorm of press and paparazzi. The crowd shoulders each other behind velvet ropes, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the diamond-studded star at the head of the red carpet. When the sea of people parts, a self-assured third-grader is revealed as she greets her fawning public.
Popcorn Media gives kids the chance to experience strutting down the red carpet during their Movie Star workshops and weeklong camps. Attendees soak up the secrets of screen acting from a director who works with Disney and Nickelodeon studios while producing their own unique work. They oversee each production element that goes into a film's creation, from lighting and filming to rehearsing and giving their parents an autograph. At the end of each session, kids attend a red-carpet premier of their work amid the applause of friends and family.
Birdman Academy takes its name from the pseudonym of its founder, Kevin Koonce. The Birdman estimates that he has trained thousands of hang-gliding lessons, and during that time he’s taught nearly 8,000 first-timers. Currently, he nests at Point of the Mountain, a spot known for what the Academy calls, "legendary conditions." This means consistently smooth winds, which are ideal for training new hang-gliders, paragliders, and baby pterodactyls recently thawed from blocks of prehistoric ice.
From its origins in the Uinta Mountains’ Washington Lake, the Provo River descends to Utah Lake. On its way, thousands of years’ worth of the river’s water has carved the nearly 7,000-feet-deep Provo River Canyon. The water carries adventurers as well, bearing expeditions toward the landmark’s geological contours in vessels furnished by Runoff River Adventures.
Owned and operated by its guides, Runoff River Adventures has attracted some of the best river navigators in the business. Each guide has personally traversed more than 200 rivers, whose collective currents criss-cross countries across the world. The aquatic experts wield this experience as they guide kayaking and rafting expeditions down courses that can pass through roiling rapids or stick to calmer areas, such as goldfish bowls. Instructors also helm paddling and rafting courses, which focus on oar work and the art of the lake roll and river roll. Once they have mastered the basics, adventurers can confidently sally forth for self-guided tours in inflatable or non-inflatable kayaks, rafts, and innertubes that function as both flotation devices and very large headbands.
After years of training and diving around the world, owners Colby, Darren, and Tony decided to spread their love of scuba by opening North American Divers. They instruct classes such as Discover Scuba Diving, where be-finned students try breathing underwater for the first time. During Advanced Open Water classes, more experienced divers earn certification across five dives at locales such as Sand Hollow and the California Channel Islands. They also rent out gear such as regulators, oxygen tanks, and wetsuits. Additionally, the trio’s team of in-house certified technicians fixes nearly all makes and models of scuba and snorkeling equipment with a simple twitch of their nose.
The safety-certified coaches at Olympus Gymnastics have taught talented tumblers that have gone on to participate every year in the Junior National Olympics and Utah State Championships. Students ages 3 to 15 years can pick from a schedule of floor-tumbling classes, dropping into the facility once a week to increase their physical dexterity, hone their mental determination, and develop their vocabulary for pommel-horse whispering. Coaches teach tots the basics during classes, and leaping adolescents limber up their bodies in tiered levels and earn their way toward airborne flight, vaulted exploration, and bar-gripping acrobatics. The experienced staff evoke a positive and encouraging atmosphere, in which every child receives individual attention, support, and an opportunity to take an honest bow that wasn't earned by being the first to throw pudding across the school cafeteria.
Unlike jumping onto a treadmill, Fit Club Utah’s exercises require a little briefing. The instructor may explain, for example, just what one does with the giant sledgehammer resting on a recalcitrant-looking truck tire. But once the tutorials are through, students jump into high-octane action, swinging the hammer through the air and flipping the tire end over end to build rippling muscle and amp up cardio strength. To keep the sessions engaging, instructors create new routines, filled with box jumps and sprinting, and modify exercises to each client’s individual fitness level or desire not to sweat in their workout tuxedo.