Heloventure founders can say they've probably seen the Golden Gate Bridge from above more often than they've seen it from below. That's because in 2010, the aviation-loving duo joined their piloting experience and passion for flight with the purchase of an R44 Clipper helicopter, which they now use to give area tours, hands-on introductory flight-instruction, and even aerial support for professional and amateur photographers. Heloventure was born with that acquisition, with the duo respectively having 20 years of piloting experience and 10 years of hands-on mechanic experience and organizing lessons and instruction.
Since its start, the business has expanded from commercial flights to performing scenic tours by helicopter and airplane that grant stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Coast and Napa and Sonoma wine region, while Mt. St. Helena. Mt. Diablo. and Mt. Tamalpias rise high above the endless valleys. For passengers who want even more control in their sky travel, Heloventure's flight-instruction program grants its students ground instruction and flight time in either a Robinson R-44 chopper or in a fixed-wing airplane. As students learn to properly pilot their aircraft, they get a gleam of the forces that drive pilots to do what they do, and they learn the dangers of decorating one's home only from in-flight shopping magazines.
"Home of the Fighting SHE-Weezels," boasts SHE Academy’s website, where a sharp-taloned, grinning weasel dons a furiously furrowed brow and a dainty pink hair bow. This combination of fearsomeness and femininity mimics the comprehensive workshops found at SHE Academy, whose name stands for "self-defense, healthy lifestyles, and environmental and economic training." Workshops prep women and girls for real-world situations, sharpening their physical combat abilities and verbal assertiveness, boosting their body images, and increasing their environmental fluency. The academy also encourages further study, sponsoring a scholarship for participants who exhibit a passion for women's rights and ecological sustainability.
Founder and president Helen Grieco is a women's advocate who used struggles from her own childhood as a springboard toward a lifetime of anti-violence activism. Combining a bachelor's degree in women's study with a master's in female-focused clinical psychology, Helen spent more than two decades as a counselor and cofounded the anti-violence organization Brave People.
The studio at CrossFit Sonoma County pulses with high-intensity workout routines. Led by coaches Sarah Pierce and Dan Schmieding, who both compete in national CrossFit events and hold multiple CrossFit certifications, students undergo varied exercises from the scheduled Workout of the Day. Sarah and Dan circumnavigate the floor, guiding movements, ensuring safety, and gingerly removing any unnoticed "Kick Me" signs pinned to T-shirts. Combining weightlifting, gymnastics, and track-and-field techniques, CrossFit aims to build resilience, strength, and versatility, equipping students with the stamina for athletic and everyday activities. Instructors scale each workout up or down to accommodate individual levels of fitness or exercisers recovering from restrictive injuries. Encompassing more than 3,000 square feet, CrossFit Sonoma County’s gym—nicknamed “the playground”—houses atypical equipment such as pommel horses, suspended rings, tires, sledgehammers, and weight sleds to facilitate each patron’s fitness goals.
Fit Body Boot Camp's instructors all over the world share a common goal: to help clients hit their fitness and weight-loss goals with regimented training programs. Trainers lead group workouts that combine cardio with resistance exercises, strength training, and light alligator wrestling. They design the workouts to be as time-effective as possible and vary the routines constantly to avoid workout plateaus that can leave clients feeling uninspired. Trainers empower their students with healthy eating guidelines to keep motivation high outside of class.
During one-on-one sessions, certified personal trainers plan out tailored fitness programs, which clients can take with them to Fit Body Boot Camp’s gyms to continue shaping up on their own.
As a member of the Pacific Coast Horse Association and the U.S. Equestrian Federation, head trainer Renee shares her equine wisdom through horsemanship lessons at Crystal Clear Farm. She puts her 200’ x 300’ riding arena to excellent use, educating first-time riders, developing beginners, and advanced A-circuit competitors year-round. Over the course of her 30-year career, Renee has seen her students qualify for and win such events as the PCHA Championships. She has also been regularly involved with USEF judging clinics, which further inform her eye for technique as well as her ability to determine whether or not a horse is actually just two guys in a Halloween costume.