Rose City Rowing Club rents 4,400 square feet of the Portland Boathouse for equipment storage and showers, but that’s not where the heart of its business takes place. On the Willamette River, middle- and high-school rowers soak in the sights and move in synchronicity, timing each catch and drive as their narrow boats glide across the water.
Team manager Lynn Walton emphasizes that the focus is on the team, not just an array of star players. “If you sign up to row with us, you row as many days as you want, and you race in every event you go to. We don’t have cuts.” Throughout the season, athletes’ participation in the low-impact, high-intensity aerobic sport helps to boost strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Oarsmen and oarswomen broaden their social networks by befriending their teammates, who may be from different schools, districts, or positions on the paper v. plastic debate.
Walton says rowing is a great way to boost admission potential in high school; college teams are growing and continuing to expand their athletic rosters, scouting and offering scholarships that can especially benefit female candidates who show interest and potential. One of the best parts of rowing is it can build healthy habits to last a lifetime. “When we go to regattas, there are people who are 85 years old who are rowing and racing still, and they started rowing in college, back in the 1940s,” she says.
The Fire Dash doesn't simply test participants as runners?it tests them as if they were probationary firefighters ("probies") completing tasks actual recruits would have to accomplish. The 5K obstacle course begins with a flat-out sprint and then finds probies crawling through tunnels obstructed by smoke, fire, and lost kittens. Although each obstacle can be completed individually, some are more easily tackled by teaming up with fellow runners?as the firefighters who designed the race say, "leaving others behind to get to the finish line isn't a good trait for firefighters."
To honor the race's inspiration, a portion of the proceeds are donated to organizations such as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and local benevolent funds.
At any given moment throughout the week, Black Rose CrossFit whirls with activity as groups hurl medicine balls, swing kettle bells, leap on boxes, and push themselves toward personal goals. The facility's main program, CrossFit, challenges participants with fast-paced, high-intensity workouts built around those functional and natural movements. When adults vacate Black Rose after their sessions, the gym does not fall silent, though, as children aged 6–13 funnel in for rounds of Kidfit and Muay Tykes. Designed as a quick, educational workout for youngsters, Kidfit emphasizes the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle in a team environment.
Metro Dance Academy helps create a love of dance and cheerleading in students through a robust slate of classes. With a wide variety of classes for students of all skill levels, the instructors at Metro Dance Academy strive to help dancers grow as individuals and as a group by fostering a positive, encouraging atmosphere. The dance program offers a curriculum that spans jazz, tap, ballet, princess ballet, hip-hop, technique, musical theater, and contemporary dance. The dance schedule runs from September through June and culminates with an end of year recital in the spring.
The black-belt instructors at Way of Life Taekwondo & Fitness Arts lead students ages 3 and older through the crescent kicks, punches, and blocks of traditional and competition tae kwon do. Throughout each class, they emphasize self-confidence, fostering a positive environment where students gain strength and flexibility as well as self-defense techniques. Fully realized fitness buffs, the team instructors also help students roast calories with resistance weights and athletic equipment through Apex Fitness classes.
The team at 8 Track Experience doesn't like their races to blend into the pack. A popular offering is the 8 Track Relay that thrives on a '70s disco party theme, and 8 Track Experience also grants its participants slip and slides, live bands, and a beer garden. The company has raised more than $450,000 to date for local nonprofits while granting its participants rollicking times, hot showers, camaraderie, and entirely legal runner's highs.