Jessica Ferris can trace her interest in sailing back to her childhood in Chicago and northern Michigan, where she plied Lake Michigan's waters with her family. As she grew up, she expanded her boating territory to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As an adult, she brought her talents home to Chicago as an ASA-certified keelboat captain and the founder of Skyline Sailing School. Here, she passes on her seafaring knowledge in classroom courses that teach sailing principles such as basic terminology, rules of open-water travel, points of sail, knot tying, and choosing the right shoulder parrot. She also engages students with hands-on open-water classes aboard 26-foot keelboats, which begin with an exploration of basic sailing skills and progress to lessons in more advanced maneuvers.
Raging Buffalo's adrenaline junkies have turned their athletic addiction into a successful enterprise by offering snowboarding and wakeboarding lessons to beginners and experienced riders. In the summer, their instructors take to the wake for lessons that start at the wakeboard school—open since 2001—before taking students on 15-minute riding sessions. When winter comes, the instructors dry-dock their boards in local bear caves and show students how to navigate the drifts with snowboard lessons at their ski park, which opened in 1992. Additionally, Raging Buffalo plays host to a variety of events, from rail jams to USASA competitions.
The Slaughter’s roots are planted firmly in Chicago soil. Since its founding in 2006, the franchise has consistently opened roles for the city’s gridiron stars, both on the field and in the front office. This Windy City loyalty has been apparent before the team even played its first snap; Slaughter is a nod to the city’s working class and to the old Chicago stockyards.
In 2009, the Slaughter rewarded the Second City with a championship during an undefeated season as part of the Continental Indoor Football League. A year later, the team joined the Indoor Football League, where it remains today, playing all of its home games at Sears Centre Arena. There, frequent promotions help create a party-like atmosphere, and spacious concourses let fans spread out and play their own pickup games using wadded-up slices of deep-dish pizza as the ball.
With its bare hands, Norris Recreation Center tears through the piecemeal membership and class fees that keep exercisers from traditional gyms, and flings open the doors to its modern facility. A gift from the St. Charles–native Norris family, the nonprofit establishment makes living healthier a viable option. Within its stone walls, five dedicated rooms bustle with the whir of cardio and weight-training equipment, and swimmers careen down the 12 lanes of the 50-meter pool during lessons, lap swims, and open pool time. The squeaks of pivoting sneakers peal off the racquetball court's walls, and twosomes, foursomes, and Billie Jean King's army of clones descend on the four tennis courts, which guests rent by the hour. Members can simmer in the center's saunas or whirlpool, or shuck off tension with a swedish, sport-injury, orthopedic, or deep-tissue massage before showering and retrieving their gym bags from complimentary lockers.
Trained instructors lead 13 free classes throughout the week, with diverse aerobic curricula that include cycling, Zumba, and Pilates. For individualized guidance, personal trainers coach clients out of workout plateaus. As parents work out, childcare professionals engage lads and lasses with interactive games, toys, and movies in the center's nursery, where kids build social skills and imagination while pretending to be heroic astronauts, firefighters, or accountants.
Studio 3 Productions documents and enhances weddings with an arsenal of services that includes photography, videography, DJing, and lighting. A team of photographers and videographers carefully documents each wedding-day tradition, from the exchange of rings to the firing of the flower girl out of a cannon, producing keepsakes that range from simple scrapbooks to high-tech films replete with montages and other special effects. Meanwhile, the company’s LED lighting can add pizzazz to receptions, with curious customers able to view a small-scale simulation in advance at the studio.
Alternatively, portrait sessions at Studio 3’s studio or on location capture authentic flashes of subjects’ personalities as they pose solo, with loved ones, or with pets. After shoots, the studio’s framing services accent prints, equipping subjects with a high-quality wall decoration to replace their collection of unpaid parking tickets.