Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
The mounded terrain and cavernous bunkers of Riverbend Golf Club's 18-hole, 7,374-yard course recall the windswept terrain of golf's original Scottish links. The distant peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains peek over the course's sparse population of valley oak trees, adding scenic flair to an environmentally friendly layout that houses egrets, herons, hawks, and winged divot tools. Both the front and back nine play to dramatic conclusions, as the 9th and 18th holes are the first and second most difficult on the course, respectively. The course strictly enforces a dress code, so players should dress in a collared shirt and leave behind jeans and hard-spiked stilettos, or and they can peruse the fully stocked pro shop for club-appropriate garb and new gear.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
At Fresno Fencing Academy, head coach and former Soviet and Ukrainian champion fencer, Vladimir Ostatnigrosh, distills his experience to foster a new generation of duelers within a 4,200-square-foot facility that boasts electric fencing strips, a fitness room with weight machines, and changing rooms. Ostatnigrosh invites students of all levels, aged 7 and older, to discover the art of parrying and thrusting, which nurtures self-discipline while bolstering the cardiovascular system and developing the skills necessary to retrieve stolen lunch money from Zorro. The academy’s classes, which range from introductory to competitive levels, cover the three Olympic fencing weapons: the foil, the épée, and the saber. Those expert swordsmen and swordswomen who have mastered the fencing rules and refrained from detonating any last-resort grenades during a match defend the academy’s robust reputation at local, regional, and national tournaments.
Professional photographers Jonathan Mathis and Carlos Guzman nurture and support budding photographic talents with their classes and workshops. During the six-hour Point & Shoot digital photography workshop, budding shutterbugs maximize camera potential as an expert instructor discusses the basics of camera operation while shining light on the various camera modes, menus, and zoom features. In both Point-and-Shoot and DSLR camera classes, instructors also cover the fundamentals of editing, cropping, printing, and storing. At the end of each workshop, apprentices review their photos from the session and discuss them as a group, pointing out strengths, weaknesses, and skillfully camouflaged Waldos. Other classes and workshops have included sessions on topics such as studio lighting, documentary photography, and digital editing. Creative Digital Workshops also hosts low-cost lectures and demonstrations to inspire communities to see and capture their worlds through a camera lens.
With eclectic backgrounds in ballet, Scottish Highland dancing, and environmental law, California Arts Academy co-owners and directors Julie Ann Keller and Christopher Campbell bring their students their own distinctive expertise and worldviews. Backed by a cadre of instructors, the duo strives to create a space where kids can freely express themselves through gymnastics and musical theater and can elaborate tap-dance routines that summon the ghost of Fred Astaire. California Arts Academy was also named Favorite for Children's Dance Classes, Art Classes, and Live Theater by the readers of the Central California Parent Magazine 2012-2014. Not content to just offer classes, Keller and Campbell hold semiannual auditions for their performances.