When Joy was a child, she would wake up in the morning and amble over to her family's Arabian horses, whom she would then feed and groom. Eight hours later, she'd come home from school and care for them some more, getting the horses dressed to go dancing at equine speakeasies. "Riding," she explains, "was a part of life, and all extra-curricular activities included horses." Joy was still a young child when she set her sights on becoming a professional horse trainer. Since then, she has won numerous riding awards and worked with a number of horses. At Joy Reed Training & Management, she shares her love of the sport with riders of all skill levels. In her own words, she seeks to help "build confidence, self-esteem, pride, and responsibility in youth and adult riders."
Since hosting their first class in 1989, Arizona Climbing and Adventure School's instructors have sent an estimated 37,000 students scurrying up the earth's craggy cliffs. Instead of learning climbing in an indoor facility, participants climb nature’s precipices outdoors upon the Southwest's cliffs and mountains. Adventurer and school director Mark Brontsema guides his students and fellow instructors by a philosophy that emphasizes self-reliance, goal setting, and teamwork. He now brings more than three decades to his post as school director, taking time from a busy schedule that includes writing gear reviews for the New York Times.
The school offers a large number of courses that target students of varying skill levels and reveal technique secrets in small groups of two to six students. Classes may focus on rappelling and anchors, guide services, and equipment-free bouldering, which relies solely on the climber's hands, feet, and retractable suction cups. Adventure courses include day trips and overnight climbing excursions, while special workshops address topics such as backpacking, being an ecologically responsible climber and hiker, and using GPS devices.
"I'm bored!" is probably the most common phrase uttered by children out of school for the summer. Even inundated with an abundance of toys, games, and technology, kids still want more. Instead of getting them yet another magical centaur, parents can keep their offspring occupied with one of Arizona Summer Camps's diversions. The camp teams up with a variety of local businesses to present a diverse array of summer camps to engage the minds and bodies of youths. The quality of instruction is top-notch, and the student-to-teacher ratios are kept low.
Kids can expand their horizons with science-driven experimentation in fields such as robotics or computer gaming, or break a sweat and a few boards in one of several martial-arts camps. Gymnastics camps bolster coordination and strength in wee ones.
Arabian and Saddlebred show horses are the stars at the Pirate Performance ranch, where trainers specialize in showing styles ranging from halter to driving. A sandy, outdoor arena––including a round pen and plenty of turnouts––sets the stage for lessons in Western, English, sidesaddle, and Dudley Do-Right riding styles, and all training is tailored to ensure a healthy riding relationship between driver and steed.
Generally, adulthood forces people to give up childish pleasure, robbing them of the joy associated with playing in puddles, unearthing hidden treasure, and being silly in public. Sierra Adventure Sports wants grownups to regress, if only for a day. In service of that goal, the company organizes a variety of novel races that range from city scavenger hunts for the casual adventurer to creative triathlon courses for the ambitious athlete.
Scavenger Blitz, for instance, turns exploring one's city into a fun, fast-paced race scattered with clues, obstacle courses, and riddles. Racers in teams of at least two scour the urban jungle in search of 12 clues, which can include challenges, riddles, or orders that need be completed before crossing the finish line. Some send racers hunting for a snapshot in front of a landmark, whereas others challenge them to complete some special feat, such as conquering an obstacle course on stilts. The Mad Mud Run challenges participants to sprint and frolic through a dirty and deliciously fun outdoor obstacle course littered with manmade obstructions such as cargo nets, hills of hay bales, monkey bars, and slimy mud pits. Extreme Heat Adventure Races combine equal parts triathlon and scavenger hunt to create a 10–12K journey filled with running, river rafting, and mystery challenges that could pit teams against anything from blindfolded puzzles to wall climbs. Most Sierra Adventure Sports events encourage racers to compete in costumes of all types save for gremlins, which multiply in water and unfairly dominate the timed results.
Arizona Mudathon prefers to make the challenge of inner and outer strength a messy one. An all-terrain obstacle course transitions from sloshing mud pits to hurdles to an imposing 10-foot wooden climbing wall. While racers kick up desert dust, their families and supporters cheer them on from the sidelines.