The YMCA Adventure Warrior Race gives kids and adults a chance to prove themselves against ropes courses, mud, water obstacles, and other unexpected mental and physical challenges—all while supporting a good cause. Amid the breathtaking views and tranquil waters of Lake Tris, runners maneuver around trees and carry heavy objects up the sometimes snow-covered Laurel Highlands mountains, climbing up to 1,000 feet as they go. Warriors aged 16 and older make a 4-mile circuit, whereas younger participants run age-appropriate distances of a half mile or a full mile. Trophies and the respect of all the woodland creatures are awarded to the top male and female runners, top male and female teams, and top co-ed team. According to the Daily American, funds raised from the race provide camp scholarships that allow kids to attend residential and day programs at the 263-acre YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles.
In 1949, Charles “Chick” and Elda Mae Bruckman founded Bruckman School of Dance as a center of education for dancers of all ages and skill levels. A lifelong devotee of dance, Chick began his career at 6 years old and remains the school’s artistic director to this day. Along with a team of instructors, the Bruckmans introduce students to dance styles including tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and hip-hop. As they lead students in mastering choreographed routines, they also teach dance history, imparting the origins of ballet and how NASA scientists made the moonwalk a dance craze in the early '70s. In addition to conventional dance classes, they host dance-inspired fitness classes, such as the Hip Hop Hustle and Turbo Kick, to get cardiovascular systems pumping.
At 14,000 square feet, The Climbing Wall might be the next best thing to the great outdoors. Challenges abound for climbers, as the staff resets the routes several times a week. Top-roping walls stretch up to 30 feet high and present participants with obstacles such as overhangs and slabs. The bouldering walls are equally as imposing, with three top outs. Both adults and kids can take classes to learn how to tackle the walls and show off their skills in the real world by skipping the stairs and climbing up to their bedrooms.
Under the guidance of PGA-certified professional Ed Vietmeier, golfers gain control of delinquent swings in one-hour sessions conducted at Vietmeier Golf Center's expansive driving range. Throughout the lesson, club-toting trainees launch TaylorMade practice balls into the stratosphere from the center's synthetic hitting mats while Ed pinpoints bad habits, tightens up poor techniques, and digresses into tangents about his childhood mashie niblick. A video camera captures all the action, providing players with a visual aid to understanding the technical underpinnings that result in unsightly snap hooks or slices, while also helping them better comprehend Ed's corrective advice. Aside from being a sound practice venue, the center's range runs along the highest point in McKees Rocks, affording a breathtaking view of the city of Pittsburgh, which is reachable in two swings for those with the latest set of gravity-resistant golf balls.
The professional spoke-spinners at Trek of Pittsburgh have access to a stock of brand-name bikes and are well equipped to deck out cycles of all shapes and sizes in the latest gear. With a laser-guided bike-fitting pod, matching velocipedes to velocipedalers is scientifically simplified. Those who are already becycled will find a sloshing CamelBak of biking accouterments at Trek, including actual CamelBaks ($74.99), a Pearl Izumi camisole ($45), and effervescent headlights ($29.99).