Fists fly amid a regulation sized boxing ring as the stern commands of an on looking coach keep the fighters in check. Though there may be gravel in his voice, each demand is intended to motivate students of all levels as they hone their boxing skills during small group boxing sessions at Peter Welch's Gym. And leading the pack of coaches who "… will motivate you, but never intimidate you," as told to the Boston Common by Melinda Sarkis—is the owner himself, Peter Welch, a Golden Gloves champion and fighting coach for UFC fighters Kenny Florian and Brock Lesnar. With decades of "old school" boxing experience tucked into his belt, Peter has developed a hands-on boxing program that teaches novice fighters using the same workout as professionals, while instilling confidence through effective conditioning and coaching.
His namesake gym recently moved to a new location that boasts a free weight area, flat screen TVs, and spacious locker rooms. The gym's week-long schedule is open to all including men and women of any age, and has even had visitors such as Anthony Bourdain.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
HablEspana transforms students into Español elocutionists with its Beginner Bootcamp classes, each taught by a native Spanish-speaking instructor. In less than one month, linguistic learners can turn graceless gibberish into speech as smooth as velvet that’s been through the blender. Each two-hour class encourages active participation and stimulates learning using audio-visual materials, Spanish TV segments, and music and video series. Classes remain personal since sizes range from three to eight students, or the ideal size for building a human pyramid. Students will receive handouts and materials in class, and may also choose to purchase a book recommended for the course ($20, not covered by this Groupon). Classes take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Members of the lauded burlesque troupe The Boston Babydolls share their accumulated skills during fun courses and workshops that welcome anyone regardless of experience level. During four-week intro courses, they'll cover burlesque fundamentals such as shimmies, bumps, and tassel twirling, as well as go over burlesque history and costuming. Courses cover topics such as how to build an alluring burlesque bra to spice up established dance routines.
The Boston Babydolls have won the Boston Phoenix's Boston's Best Readers Poll in 2012, 2011, and 2010 for their mélange of sensual dance routines, tinged with devilish comedy and retro style from the 1920s and 1950s. Singing, magic, and circus arts spice up their performances to keep guests entranced without the use of ancient incantations.
Fine Art Poker School finely combs through the basics of Texas hold 'em, honing play strategies in four-hour sessions led by expert instructors. Classes are limited to 10 players, fostering individual suggestions and round-by-round hand analysis. Gain confidence at parent-teacher tournaments by knowing the hand rankings, rounds of play, etiquette, and classic bluff scowls by heart. The Improving Your Online Poker Play seminar spans a variety of common questions on the subject, including where to play and the reasons why most people lose at online poker. Students learn strategic betting tactics to avoid future ante issues and dissect professional-grade software to increase personal odds and feel confident suggesting spade-shaped casserole recipes.
Propelled by a degree in human development, Fran Durekas desperately sought a career where she could put her passion for children to use. Instead of finding full-time work, she landed a spot at a small after-school program near Stanford University—it was anything but ideal, as the miniscule budget and poor quality often forced her to dip into her own funds for supplies. She began looking for a way out when the director offered her the chance to buy out the program and transform this little part-time gig into the career she was looking for. The thought of redesigning the curriculum to match her high standards, treating the teachers as professionals, and upping the involvement of area families thrilled her. She went for it, opening her first Children’s Creative Learning Center in 1992.
Now a multistate company accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, CCLC continue to overhaul their programs to keep pace with the latest research in the field of early development. CCLC hire top educators, focusing on developing social, emotional, physical, and intellectual skills while maintaining important boundaries and a feeling of play. Recently, educational company Knowledge Universe brought all CCLC under its umbrella, providing its newest independent division with even more resources to help children grow into well-rounded students and not into giant, skyscraper-destroying monsters. They also offer daycare services, which operate in or alongside many of the classroom facilities at CCLC.