A community presence in Ottawa for more than 140 years, YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region remains true to its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages across all seven of its facilities. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, personal training, and full gymnasiums outfitted with equipment for basketball, soccer, and rope skipping. They’ve also filled their fitness centres with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during yoga, boxing, and salsa-dance classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children’s day camps, after-school programs, birthday parties, and outdoor education.
These YMCA-YWCA outposts are dedicated to helping all members of the community. They provide those in need with emergency and youth housing, employment services, and domestic-violence support programs. They further strengthen and unite the Ottawa community through the YActive Assist program, which adjusts membership rates to help families that can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
The Athletic Club strives to help burn-feelers of all abilities attain their fitness goals with a plenitude of fitness classes and equipment, keeping their doors open until midnight through most of the week. Patrons enjoy access to an array of luxurious amenities, including a spacious multisport gymnasium and a child-care centre. A club tour familiarizes newcomers with the facility's sprawling layout. Hearts get ticking on the club’s 160 pieces of well-maintained cardio equipment—outfitted with individual televisions—and over 200 weekly group fitness classes helmed by expert instructors that encourage participants to box, cycle, and Pilates their bodies into sweat-gilded temples.
A unique AntiGravity yoga class employs a silk hammock to help sun saluters as they strike inverted poses and make shadow puppets with their toes. Pellucid saltwater pools accommodate leisurely lap swimming and experiments testing the buoyancy of various cheeses, and a separate women’s-only aquatic area offers an array of aqua-fit classes that sculpt muscles with subaqueous exercises such as pool-noodle wrestling. After a workout, gym-goers can revel in the soothing vapours of the steam and dry saunas in the changing rooms or mill about the WiFi-enabled Members Only lounge. The Athletic Club contributes to global and local nonprofits, expanding the reach of its health initiative from gym members to those in need.
Andrea Harper wears many hats, but they are all connected by a common thread—or pole, as the case may be. She is a certified personal trainer, nutrition and wellness specialist, and pole-fitness instructor, whose fascination with physical health centers around empowering spins. As the owner of Cherry Blossom Pole Dancing Studio, Andrea passes on the moves that made her one of Canada's top 16 pole dancers at Miss Pole Dance Canada 2010, leading women of all backgrounds through lessons designed to strengthen their bodies, self-esteem, and sense of rhythm. During pole-dancing classes, she and her team of instructors take pupils from the fundamentals to advanced techniques, such as convincing your brain that the floor is actually the ceiling. She limits class sizes to 10 students within the hot-pink-and-green studio, ensuring that everyone is able to pair up with a pole. The pole isn't the only gravity-flouting tool at Andrea's disposal, though; she also schedules courses that rely on aerial silks and hoops.
To put a personal touch on twirls, she offers parties replete with dance routines and fun props for all occasions. These soirees readily accommodate groups with 1,500 square feet of space and were suggested by the Ottawa Citizen as one of the top three creative bachelorette-party ideas.
While growing up in their hometown of Ottawa, Michael Falucci and Gabriel Wolinsky always dreamed of becoming professional dancers. For years, they trained in dance studios throughout North America before moving Toronto to pursue performance careers. Their hard work and determination paid off, landing them roles in professional theatre productions such as Guys and Dolls and South Pacific along with film and television parts in Disney's Eloise and Degrassi Goes Hollywood. After their Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour, where they racked up frequent flyer miles by leaping across stages in 60 North American cities, Michael and Gabe returned to Ottawa to open their own dance studio—Capital City Dance.
At the studio, the duo draws from their years of experience in dancing and coaching, captaining a crew of fellow professional dancers as they lead classes in a range of styles. Throughout the week, Capital City Dance resounds with the sounds of ballet music, tap shoes, and disconcertingly loud jazz hands as the staff leads classes and workshops for young and old. The studio hosts recreational classes as well as a competitive program, where students are regularly entered in regional and national dance competitions.
He's out there somewhere—the notorious Pirate Pete. Over every sailor's adventure, the shadow of his greed looms. But the crew of Pirate Adventures is ready. On their 50-foot ship, 12 water cannons point toward the sea, guarding the vessel from his villainy while they search Davy Jones's locker for sunken treasure. If Pete should show his face, he'll get a face full of water. If he should happen to board anyway, it'll be the plank for him.
During Pirate Adventures' 75-minute treasure hunts, children and their parents sail into this exciting world of high-seas adventure. Crew members welcome aboard new mateys with face-paint, pirate garb, and a sea-worthy moniker, such as "Black Beard' or "Esmerelda, Princess of the Dolphins." Beneath the Jolly Roger flapping in the breeze, the crews decipher maps, solve puzzles, and sing sea shanties, eventually fishing their sought-after treasure chest from the water's depths. Throughout the hunt, the Pirate Adventures crew keeps their unpatched eyes on safety. Everything is kept up to Transport Canada's code: they have all trained in marine emergency procedures, marine first aid, and safe vessel operation.
Dozens of veteran gymnasts serve as instructors in Starr Gymnastics’ three Ottawa-area facilities, where they favour instruction that emphasizes the most beneficial aspects of gymnastics: enjoyment, physical fitness, and socialization. Since only a small percentage of gymnastics athletes ever cartwheel their way to the competitive level, Starr Gymnastics' instructors teach proper balance-beam technique and safe tumbling skills without skimping on the fun, reminding their gleeful charges of gymnastics' inherent power to imbue agility and a foundational skill set easily applicable to turbo-kicking bad guys in dark alleys.
Starr's high-spirited staff occasionally spices up the play by inviting pint-sized gymnasts to don costumes or by darkening the arena while pupils leap, flip, and bear glowing cuspids amid a sea of black lights. The gym's festive approach to youth fitness occupies vacationing students during school breaks with summer camps, and birthday celebrants frequently gather in colourful private rooms for party packages that include equipment access and a T-shirt for the guest of honour.
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