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.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.
Throughout the 11 courts lined up inside and outside of Court Yard Sportsplex, tennis balls thwack against rackets swung by players in private lessons, instructional clinics, and competitive interclub matches. Elsewhere, cardio and weightlifting machines whir with the effort of exercisers, and the squeak of tennis shoes echoes upon basketball and racquetball courts. In the heated outdoor pool—open Memorial Day through Labor Day—younger kids splash in the 3- to 5-foot waters during beginners' swim lessons, while older kids sluice through the water with instruction on a variety of strokes. Music emanates from classrooms, where a Joffrey Ballet–trained instructor orchestrates youth ballet classes and adults embrace personalized instruction with ballroom-dancing lessons. After any activity, members can soothe exerted muscles with the onsite massage therapist, who calms muscles with one of nine modalities and essential oils infused with lullabies.
Powered by a custom-built, no-emission technology, single and double go-karts race down straightaways and hug the turns of The Web Extreme Entertainment’s more than 500-foot electric track. Heart rates race in the indoor laser-tag arena, where games unfold on eight upper-level platforms, each with their own open-grid floor. Meanwhile, guests can conquer the pins and pretend to be giants at a Hawaiian-themed miniature-bowling alley replete with six wood-grain synthetic lanes, score monitors, and optional bumpers. More miniaturized fun kicks off at Jurassic Par, a black-lit nine-hole course where guests putt past such prehistoric creatures as a 17-foot-tall apatasaurus and 6-foot-7 disco enthusiast.
At the Winners Café, chefs reenergize visitors with oven-baked dishes such as 100% ground-chuck burgers and cincinnati chili. The Web accommodates groups of up to 600 guests in its spacious party rooms and keeps the fun going until midnight every Friday and Saturday.
Fitness 19's founders launched their first family-oriented gyms in 2003, hoping to splash the exercising experience with local flavor and familiarity. Life Fitness cardio machines—including treadmills and ellipticals—unite with strength-training machines and free weights to help members to build leaner physiques as certified personal trainers patrol the deep-red-carpeted workout area. The expert staff can also guide clients through yoga, martial arts, and weight-loss-centric personal-training sessions. Every location also hosts a kids' room, where youngsters can craft macaroni kettlebells under the supervision of a full-time staff member.
Founded by a group of young breast-cancer survivors, Mommy Has Breast Cancer devotes itself to the assistance of mothers and families affected by the disease. They recognize the struggle of battling breast cancer while raising a family, which often leaves women having to choose between focusing on caring for themselves or their children. To help lighten the burden, the organization assists women and their families with childcare, housekeeping, age-appropriate education materials for the family, transportation to treatments, and healthy prepared-meal delivery.
Terri Shaffner, a dancer with more than 30 years of experience, opened her own studio—Encore Performing Arts—in 2005. There, she and her team of talented instructors help children develop strength, confidence, and positive self-image through weekly dance lessons. Students stretch, leap, and spin during ballet, tap, and hip-hop classes. There's also a special program for dedicated homeschooled students, expanding their abilities in the fields of singing or dance.
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