For more than 130 years, the YMCA has worked to facilitate growth for individuals as well as communities by providing social-enrichment programs that promote honesty, respect, and responsibility. YMCA of Greater San Antonio, which features locations throughout the metropolitan area, helps people improve their lives with healthy living programs that offer inclusive training classes as well as lifelong learning classes. Youth development initiatives and childcare services allow children as well as teens to develop positive behaviors while exploring their interests in a safe, supportive environment. The centers also encourage social responsibility by providing opportunities to support local communities through volunteerism and charitable giving.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center began weaving itself into the fabric of San Antonio’s arts and theater scene more than three decades ago to share the richness of Chicano, Latino, and Native American art forms. Now a cornerstone of the community, the nonprofit touches the lives of more than 100,000 people each year with theater and dance performances, cultural festivals, and creative classes. The center passes down traditional forms of expression, such as Mexican Folklórico dance and cactus juggling while also embracing contemporary art forms such as photography.
Each year, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s festivals welcome large crowds of adults, kids, and multiple Waldos. Foremost among them are CineFestival, the Tejano Conjunto music festival, and Hecho A Mano, a holiday crafts and arts festival. For its members, the center organizes a wealth of educational programming, teaching everything from oil painting and guitar to karate.
For more than 20 years, Alamo Area Mutual Housing Association's mission has been to develop and manage affordable housing in San Antonio and Bexar County. Now, as a way to give back and further support the community, its House Our Heroes 5K helps provide safe and stable housing to veterans who have experienced homelessness; proceeds from the race also supply them with financial assistance and an extensive roster of services and support. While being cheered on by volunteers and local celebrities, runners circle Woodlawn Lake Park, an 100-year-old natural oasis in San Antonio.
SUPSATX invites its guests to experience the natural beauty of the San Antonio River from a unique vantage point: gliding across the open water while standing on your own two feet. From SUPSATX's riverfront location at the Blue Star Arts Complex, visitors hop on a board and paddle down an urban waterway. Patrons rent boards by the hour, half day, or day, taking in sights such as the historic King William district as they float down the river. But the standup paddleboard trips don't just provide a dose of breathtaking scenery—they're also a full-body workout, whether customers are simply touring the river or taking a paddleboard yoga class.
As the Spanish translation of Raices de Arte Espanol attests, owners Carmen and Jose Linares each have strong roots in the arts. Born in Spain, Jose began playing guitar professionally at 12 years old, traveling the world to perform for icons such as President John F. Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. Dancing by age 3, Puerto Rican–born Carmen trained in New York with the American Ballet Theatre, toured with the ballet companies of Philadelphia and San Juan, and began teaching flamenco in San Antonio in the 1970s. Today, the couple shares the art of flamenco with others at their studio, where students apply their own expressive twists to footwork and even wield castanets to clack out rhythms or Morse-code messages to one another as they dance.
The low-hanging branches of southern live oak trees stretch out over the house and pavilion areas at Don Strange Ranch, dappling parties, weddings, and corporate team gatherings with splashes of sunlight. Since 1952, the 125-acre longhorn ranch in the Texas Hill Country has hosted myriad events, including scenes from the PBS music documentary series Live from the Artists Den and the wedding of country music stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
More than just a picturesque backdrop, the ranch’s rugged natural surroundings host outdoor activities such as ropes courses and kayak trips down the Guadalupe River. And the friendly staffers who man 350- to 400-foot ziplines work to ease guests out of their comfort zones, like a mother bird pushing her young out of the nest for their first extreme base-jumping lesson.