With nothing but their legs, a launch pad, and a little wind, paragliders achieve mankind's ancient dream of flight without the help of motors or fancypants pilots. A dedicated revolutionary against the tyranny of gravity, paragliding instructor Jon Potter invites one and all to join him atop the hills of Pittsburgh for a flying lesson that can be tailored for students of any experience level. Potter gladly hurls himself from virtually any flyable hill in and around the city. Beginners start by taking wing from bunny hills, and more advanced gliders tackle the more challenging courses.
HappyFeet founder Andy Barney boasts a lengthy resumé: the Oxford, England, native was a semipro soccer player by the age of 16, studied physical education in college, and coached youth soccer for 10 years before moving to the U.S. In America, he coached at Avila University and wrote the book Training Soccer Legends, but one day he found his extensive experience challenged by an unlikely group—preschoolers. He had agreed to spend what he thought would be an easy afternoon leading tots in a soccer workshop, only to end up exhausted yet inspired to design a curriculum specifically for younger kids.
His research eventually led to HappyFeet, where instructors play with kids aged 2–6 using a proprietary lesson plan the company dubbed “story time with a soccer ball.” Each kid receives a ball, and beyond practicing basic skills such as dribbling, striking, and autograph signing in a noncompetitive setting, the incorporation of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs enables kids to exercise both physical and mental faculties. The 45-minute indoor classes, which were reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune, are held onsite at preschools and sports facilities such as PISA. Little ones can also be enrolled in HappyFeet’s leagues, where a 15- to 20-minute mini class precedes a 30-minute game.
At Lakevue Athletic Club, a staff of seasoned competitors breeds a love of fitness through tennis, group exercise classes, and personal training. Atop eight indoor courts and three outdoor courts, a fleet of tennis pros enacts lessons anchored in players' strengths. They specialize in QuickStart tennis, a recently minted method of play that emphasizes building the skills and confidence of child athletes without serving them trophy-shaped pancakes for breakfast. Within the walls of an 11,000-square-foot fitness center, personal trainer Kyle Waters shepherds clients through two downstairs cardio rooms with Star Trac treadmills and several weight rooms loaded with Cybex Eagle and Hammer Strength machines. Inside two studios upstairs, health gurus conduct classes in everything from yoga to step aerobics to kickboxing.
Though they welcome clients of all ages into their fitness facility, Fouad “Fred” Jaroudi and his staff at Community Health Center specialize in exercise for ages 35 and older using the second floor’s passive workout machines. Downstairs, younger visitors hook up their music while using more-intensive weight machines, treadmills, and free weights along with a punching bag and speed bag.