When Sensei Katrina Polen teaches Ryukyu Kempo karate to students of all genders and ages during classes, she’s not just showing them self-defense techniques—she’s encouraging them to adopt a lifestyle of fitness, character growth, and creativity. She oversees sparring matches that teach the value of a strong work ethic or stunt double, and also plans optional competitions for those desiring more concrete stakes. To allow her protégés an artistic say in their practice, she gives them free reign of the demonstration group, TeamKat, which plans routines for performance.
She also offers non-karate classes in the form of cardio-kickboxing and personal-training sessions. She works to cultivate a tight-knit sense community by hosting additional events, such as birthday parties and bimonthly movie nights.
The horseback lesson takes place at Sunflower Farms, which boasts 170 acres of pristine wooded lakefront farmland, ideal for galloping horses and running a mildly successful Internet business. Start the two-hour session with an hour-long ground lesson that helps riders get to know their horses, covers the basics of riding equipment, and teaches horse-grooming methods. Once riders feel comfortable enough around a horse to not be overwhelmed with the desire to challenge it to a staring contest, they'll saddle up and ride for a full hour, outfitted with a certified helmet from Saddlers Row. Sunflower Farms instructors will work with riders of any skill level, from beginner to competition level.
With 17 of its 18 verdant holes featuring in-play water hazards, the challenging yet fair links at Bittersweet Golf Club have earned its apropos moniker, as well as the Daily Herald's 2010 Readers' Choice Award. Mature hardwoods and wetlands stand guard over four tees as orbs assail formidable fairways, and groomed, game-bolstering bentgrass greens counteract any frustration experienced at tests such as the ninth hole, which bares the name "slim" despite being constantly full of gummy worms. To further increase player enjoyment, the course's toughest turns and landings were recently widened, persuading 3-woods to spend less time off to the side with their still-rooted ancestors.
The Little Gym of Gurnee, a branch of the nationwide network of Little Gyms, fosters educational wonderment, physical development, and self-confidence in children aged four months to 12 years old through engaging, interactive classes. Trained instructors lead the classes and impart motor skills, language development, and leadership skills through karate and dance classes, as well as brain boost activities—all with the goal of encouraging age-appropriate development in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
RaveWaves refurbishes marine and terrene cruisers with comprehensive interior and exterior detailing. Doting maritime travelers can entrust treasured schooners to RaveWaves' detail technicians, who restore be-barnacled exteriors to a showroom gleam. Collinite 885 Fleetwax seals in clean surfaces and stands up to 90 days of elemental attacks from sun, wind, rain, and absent-minded gulls. A hand dry with microfiber towels and chamois eliminates the telltale signs that your boat has been around water. The technicians who sunburn easily go to work on interiors with a thorough vacuum, and a wipe down clears the cockpit and windows of the brightly colored evidence from your last wild Mary Kay party. Captains must drop off sea steeds for two to three days to ensure ample time for detail orientation.
With 70 years of teaching experience between them, Jane and Heidi Wilson form a mother-daughter team that has helped riders learn the grace and technique necessary to win awards throughout the Illinois show circuit. The pair leads horseback-riding lessons at Driftwood Stable that teach students of all ages and skill levels the fundamental skills of hunter/jumper or western styles. Students guide one of the 10 gentle school horses around the facility's 100' x 200' outdoor arena, heated 180' x 200' indoor arena, or acres of verdant pastures ruled by clans of warring bunnies.