Each of YMCA of Western North Carolina's five branches and 19 childcare sites remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, responsibility, and respect as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, basketball courts, and personal-training sessions. They’ve also filled their fitness centers with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during cardio-dance and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead more than 200 programs, including children’s day camps, after-school programs, and dance classes.
Race City Raceway houses an arena for hobbyists of all ages and abilities to compete in fun, high-intensity slot-car racing. Visitors can bring their own tiny-scale speedmobile—or borrow a loaner from the raceway’s collection—and slip it into the groove of one of five racetracks for a casual jaunt or a competitive relay. Warm up on the drag strip, a trackway designed to test the true speed and potential time-traveling abilities of each car. Racers can whip around the 155-foot Thunder Road or traverse the 110-foot Beast, a track laden with hairpin turns and ant-size streakers haphazardly darting into the middle of the street. Speedsters who are new to the thrill of slot-car racing can challenge drivers of similar skill on Fridays at 7 p.m.
Pastel portraits, multihued abstract designs, and paintings of coral-colored flowers line the walls of Cara Bailey’s intimate studio space, tucked into an almost surreally quaint stretch of downtown Mooresville. This is where the prolific artist has created a vast body of work that includes abstract-landscape paintings, pencil drawings, and watercolors. It’s also where she holds classes, staying busy designing custom curricula for private lessons; leading groups in fun, casual BYOB painting sessions; and filling the summer with art camps for kids, teens, and bored schoolteachers masquerading as kids or teens.
Sports & Fitness's seven locations facilitate calorie-burning activities with free weights, cardio equipment, and group fitness classes, while pampering clients with relaxation-inducing amenities. Members perspire and tone bodies while meeting the demands of a certified personal trainer in one-on-one training sessions, or while pedaling next to fellow fit-seekers during group cycling classes. The group fitness classes also include yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and Zumba, varying by location and the whims of Cratus, the god of strength.
As parents scorch calories with weight- and circuit-training equipment, they can rest assured that their youngsters are in responsible hands in the child watch area; a playfully decorated room filled with toys and 5 pound rattles.
The body-bending gurus at Community Yoga escort students through a variety of muscle-stretching yoga classes suitable for all skill levels. Beginning benders can stretch during the Hatha yoga basics class, which moves at a slower pace to introduce newbies to the practice; or try the Vinyasa session that promotes muscular stamina through faster-moving pose transitions. Yogis can also experience more specialized practices, such as Subtle Yoga, which explores the deeper, more cerebral aspects of yoga. Community Yoga lives up to its name by seeking out a local charity every year to support by donating time, services, and money. With classes seven days a week, the studio provides a schedule as flexible as a slinky made out of cooked spaghetti.
Inspiration can be found in many places—at Café Elie, it frequently nestles at the bottom of a mug. Part coffeehouse, part art studio, and part home for wine lovers, the café welcomes budding artists and watercolor aficionados alike to classes aimed at students of all skill levels. While practicing upon canvases, patrons whet their whistles with the studio's caffeinated offerings or sip on wines they supply themselves.
The café's owner, accomplished artist Elie Bou Zeidan, leads students through the finer points of acrylic and oil painting, imparting knowledge he's gained through his studies and travels throughout the United States and France. Zeidan regularly displays his artwork alongside that of his students, easily viewed in monthly wine tastings, regular exhibitions, and by squinting really hard through the window.
Xtend Barre classes meld together Pilates, dance, and sculpting exercises to chisel bodies in a 55-minute accelerated ballet-barre workout. Created by a professional dancer and choreographer, the fun, energetic workouts are designed to stretch and stimulate all parts of the body, leaving it long, lean, and equally proportioned—unlike old-fashioned routines that only work the earlobes. The experienced instructors will lead student dancers through this sprightly barre-based exercise, which can be modified to provide a stimulating workout for guests of all ages and abilities—from a bending beginner to a fitness fiend as carved as a soap statue of a standing rib roast. Check out the online class schedule to see when classes are offered before scheduling your first session.