PickUp USA takes the infamous pitfalls of pickup basketball—uneven teams, sloppy play, and incessant arguing over fouls and whose mama gives the best hugs—and replaces them with officiated and organized game play without the restrictions of a league. Its members hit the courts in a pristine 17,000-square-foot space, which features a lounge, a stretching area, and courts built by the designers who create them for the NCAA and NBA. Here, California Basketball Officials Association–trained referees officiate one-on-one to five-on-five games every day and night of the year. Though they are unscheduled, the matchups unfold in an organized, staff-guided fashion, a scoreboard keeps track of points, and a constantly running clock keeps games rotating.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
Atlantic Cirque’s team of experienced instructors imparts their substantial acrobatic know-how to fledgling performers during a five-day Winter Wonder Cirque Camp. The camp is capped at 20 students to facilitate individualized attention and to ensure camper safety. Each action-packed day, agile pedagogues instruct students in a variety circus disciplines and equipment, including trampolines, stilts, and aerial apparatuses such as the trapeze. Between the spinning of plates and construction of human pyramids, students scrutinize Cirque du Soleil videos in order to glean inspiration for their own routines and partake in camp games to further fun-having. To cap off the week, families and ancestral ghosts descend upon Atlantic Cirque at 3 p.m. on Friday to take in the Winter White show wherein students show off their newly minted skills before receiving the keys to their own clown cars as a camp graduation present.
Epic voyaging need not be reserved for classical heroes who speak in dactylic hexameter. Just as Odysseus slayed the hurricane from aboard his inflatable raft, you too can conquer vengeful waters with today's Groupon to Gold Rush Whitewater Rafting. For just $50, you'll go on a heart-pumping, rapid-raging tour of the South Fork of the American River (44% off a $90 value).
Throughout Los Angeles, children as young as 2 are honing coordination, social skills, and other life essentials in Super Soccer Stars LA's kid-friendly camps. Each age-specific session is based on curricula designed by both soccer experts and early childhood and behavioral specialists in order to grant little ones with a fun and well-rounded experience in each drill they run and game they play. From dribbling and passing to more general principles such as teamwork, campers will learn skills that will help them succeed beyond the soccer field in the classroom, on the playground, and in the ball-kicking portion of state standardized tests. At the end of each camp day, children show off their new abilities by competing in a mini World Cup.
On 12 sunny courts at Arcadia Tennis Center, certified instructors help students learn the fundamentals of tennis and hone their playing skills. Under new management as of June 2012, the staff is dedicated to new beginnings, organizing group lessons for both juniors and adults, each with a low student-to-teacher ratio to ensure individual improvement. In addition to the beginners' lessons, Arcadia Tennis Center hosts youth summer camps and regular leagues, which merge healthy competition with the sport's social aspects, much like a football game's halftime debutante ball.
With 30 years of high-quality home cooking beneath her belt, owner and chef Deb Swartz crams studious brains with recipes for seasonal delights in succinct demonstration classes that pepper tongues with sample tastings of a complete meal’s worth of recipes. Hosting 30 students each, the Cooking Essentials series fills Sunday afternoons with simple home recipes based around versatile techniques such as broth making, meat braising, or meat praising, which boosts protein self-esteem with compliments written in butter. Attendees can register for the January 15 session on winter soups to discover the secrets behind simplified gumbo or to craft a slurpable, sugary treat in the form of blueberry dessert soup. Alternatively, January 29’s session on winter fish dishes explores the methodology of seameats such as crab bisque or fish baked three ways.
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