The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
At The Clubs at Charles River Park, the path to lighter and leaner physiques leads clients through indoor and outdoor training facilities. Those areas?from lap pools to row upon row of cardio and strength equipment?set the stage for individual workout sessions as well as motivational fitness classes focused on functional training.
In these sessions, certified trainers might lead groups through yoga poses or teach boot-campers to swing kettlebells. The trainers also work with clients in one-on-one sessions, and lead aquatic high-intensity interval training sessions in the pool. But whatever the workout, most visits to The Clubs at Charles River Park end in same place: the locker room, where saunas give exercisers and the imaginary Mickey Goldmills who coach them a relaxing reward.
Golfers across the handicap spectrum practice bogey-thwarting skills at Natick Golf Learning Center, where PGA- and LPGA-certified pros preside over a multifaceted outdoor practice facility. The center?s outdoor driving range offers 75 artificial and natural-grass hitting mats; two chipping greens, a putting green, and a practice bunker let players practice their finesse shots. During daily lessons, the pros enlist video analysis and other teaching aids to help pupils tackle new skills or correct recent on-course weaknesses.
It's a community hotspot highlighted by a particularly cool spot: a renovated, indoor lap pool. This temperature-controlled oasis is the crown jewel of Randolph Recreation, whose facilities emphasize its surname. Visitors can swim, take a fencing lesson, or play a friendly game of basketball without sneaking onto their neighbor's driveway in the middle of the night. On top of these before- and after-school activities, the center fosters liveliness during the summer via day camp and day trips, which include excursions to Lobster Fest and Martha's Vineyard.
Located inside Randolph High School, Randolph Community Pool is an aquatic haven that hosts lap swimmers, swim meets, and classes for children and adults. Water-aerobics classes burn calories while removing the intense joint impacts that can make regular cardiovascular exercise uncomfortable. The pool's lifeguards man its white, wooden guard towers, watching over swimmers below and keeping an eye out for invading British redcoats.
The NAUI-trained diving instructors at Cuzins Outdoors specialize in turning ocean-shy beginners into full-fledged scuba masters. Students stretch across a wide spectrum of age and experience, training in the program that best suits their individual needs, from introductions to recreational diving to advanced certification courses. In basic classes, pupils learn to submerge in the controlled setting of the Cuzins swimming pool, whereas more experienced divers can team up with an expert teacher to add to their existing skills with specialized training in areas such as ice diving and exploring wrecks. Cuzins Outdoors also rents and sells equipment and gear, even altering wetsuits to mend a busted zipper or add tweed elbow patches.