The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
Root 66 Aquaponics Garden Shop has all the accoutrements of a standard garden supply¬—USDA-certified organic seeds, pots, and organic fertilizers. But Root 66 is hardly your grandmother's general store. Its focus is hydroaquaponics, which creates a symbiotic relationship between a tank of fish and the garden on top of the tank. The sustainable method uses a system of pumps and tubes to harvest and distribute plant food from the fish tank below. The fish, in turn, are fed, sheltered, and taught to use salad forks by the plants above them.
In the shop's introductory video, founder Shawn Odneal says that hydroaquaponics is, "the future of food production and the closest I can get to self-sustainability," by "taking traditional gardening techniques and applying them in a new way." In addition to specializing in hydroaquaponics, he also strives to make gardening accessible to city dwellers with rooftop and vertical gardens.
The aestheticians, hair stylists, and nail technicians at G Skin & Beauty Institute never work alone. As students at the beauty school, they tend to clients as part of their training, always under the watchful eye of an expert. Their comprehensive, supervised services range from haircuts, deep-conditioning, and relaxer treatments to microdermabrasion and complexion-brightening facials. They can also revitalize entire physiques with body wraps. Regardless of the treatment at hand, the team strives to incorporate organic and natural products whenever possible, rather than those made with extracts from the Little Shop of Horrors plant.
The Riverside Theater Guild's cast of performers aged 8 to adult playfully recreates the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in its production of Princess and The Pea. Audience members of all ages will hum along with Princess Mabel of Mudville as she sings, dances, and develops an unnerving obsession with legumes en route to the Kingdom of Snob Hill, where her prince awaits. Along with sparking smiles throughout the community, the Guild aims to instill storytelling skills in youngsters by casting local stars-in-training and holding theater camps during the summer.
Ride Chicago and Rentaruckus are two different businesses that are bonded by their passion for promoting two-wheeled transportation. At Ride Chicago this passion manifests in a variety of classes, for which it supplies beginners with motorcycles or scooters. Once student riders are geared up, the facility’s state-certified instructors teach everything from scooter-riding basics to motorcycle licensing at controlled, off-street sites across the city and suburbs. This diverse curriculum allows people of all riding experiences to climb aboard a two-wheeler and learn safe canyon-hopping methods.
Rentaruckus’s mission is a bit more concise: get people behind the handlebars of a Honda Ruckus scooter. To do this, the staff offers rentals and organizes tours of Chicago, where swarms of the minimalist bikes buzz past the city’s historic neighborhoods and sights.
From hanging out with Patrick Swayze as a dancer for Universal Studio's 10th anniversary of Dirty Dancing, and dancing in a VH1 special for the 20-year anniversary of Grease to winning the United Country Western Dance Council World Championship's Jack & Jill competition three times—Brian Wong has accomplished a lot in his 20-year career. Throughout these experiences, though, it's his ability to turn dancing novices into confident dancers that has given him the most pride. In service of this passion, Brian founded Chicago Dance Factory, where he and a team of instructors lead dance classes at spacious locations scattered throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Brian's teaching philosophy emphasizes syncing students' bodies with the so-called "heartbeat" of the music before they attempt any patterns or steps. Using this unique rhythm-based philosophy, Chicago Dance Factory's instructors teach students various dancing styles—ranging from pop-infused West Coast swing to elegant ballroom—that can be unleashed during a night out, at weddings, or in dance-infused gang fights.
Hans Moscicke doesn’t just teach the drums; he practices what he preaches when playing with his band Milano, with whom he’s gigged such storied Chicago venues as Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, and Schubas. When he’s not bicycling or bird watching around his home base in Logan Square, he travels to neighborhoods to share his expertise with musicians of all ages and skill levels. Hans keeps lessons exciting with his collection of more than 1,000 pieces of sheet music from iconic bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana, allowing students to play along with their favorites and marvel at the secret coffee rings hidden within the pages. By practicing their most beloved songs as well as the lessons in their books, pupils become more engaged with the process and learn how to use their techniques in practical playing.