At each of its 31 area locations, the YMCA of Greater Houston pursues a mission to bring health, wellness, and personal growth to communities. Kids leap into activities ranging from swim lessons and youth sports to a teen Youth & Government program that stirs up confidence and leadership abilities in students, preparing them for mudslinging student-council campaigns.
Zumba, ballroom dance, and Les Mills group exercise classes shake up adult workout routines, as complimentary childcare frees up parents to pursue fitness goals. Meanwhile, adult sport leagues such as basketball and racquetball result in friendly competition and hyper-literate team names inspired by obscure philosophers.
Mary O'Connor sprouted from a huge family tree, one so big that the town of Port O'Connor, Texas was named after her family. She married into a clan of equal size, the Bramans, and looked after her children and grandchildren, cultivating their talents. She recognized in her grandson Joe a natural aptitude for the culinary arts, and she set him on his path to become a chef, sommelier, vintner, and person who eats sometimes.
Today, Joe owns and runs Braman Winery, honoring his grandmother with every ounce of wine he bottles. He creates complex flavor profiles in his wines, whether they're straight cabernet sauvignons, meritage blends that include sweet malbec grapes, or drier whites such as his pinot grigio. The winery also offers an assortment of meats, crackers, and cheese available for purchase along with unique items from the gift boutique.
At Paint Until You Faint, students are introduced to the diverse world of art creation with recreation firmly in mind. Artists bring a favorite beverage to class, and sip on it continually while a 1950s-style jukebox plays tunes in the background and a professional instructor guides them through recreating a painting step by step. Students of all skill levels are welcome to join for the camaraderie while forging their own image on the canvas.
Pieces by local artists, yoga demonstrations looping on a flat-screen TV, and comfy furniture all line the sun-soaked lobby at Bikram Yoga Sugar Land. The waiting area exudes the same soothing vibes students find inside the studio, where teachers lead 90-minute yoga sessions. Each class consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which pupils of all ages and body types enact in a room heated between 105 and 107 degrees. The heat helps bodies stretch during the intensive cardiovascular workout, which burns calories, melts away stress, and increases flexibility.
If that sounds overwhelming, don't fret??the studio hosts beginner's classes several times a day, and supplies helpful info for first timers. Bikram Yoga Sugar Land even offers courses for kids, special-needs children, and babysitting for moms. Once class lets out, students can enjoy one of the studio's relaxing spa treatments, which range from massage therapy to organic facials.
What began as a small studio with five enthusiastic dance students has transformed into a full-fledged company that's educated thousands and won multiple awards along the way—including a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Today, Strictly Street Salsa has a whole team of instructors that has danced its way across the likes of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, and Rome and is ready to introduce students to new cultures through the art of dance. The studio offers classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers in both salsa and tango and hosts dance workshops that blend Latin dance with various cultural elements, including African movement, gypsy music, and good old-fashioned American screaming.
In the programs at Drama Kids International, youngsters learn more than how to fake-cry. Since 1999, the drama company has defined "drama" loosely, focusing more on the general goal of helping kids tap into their imaginations. The team does just that with their after-school programs and summer camps, which teach kids ages 3-18 to feel at ease on stage, whether they're starring in a comedy or making a speech. Some programs touch on behind-the-scenes skills, too, from stage managing to writing plays better than Hamlet 2: Shark Hamlet.