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.
The sniper crouches behind a tree bathed in the glow of a black light, catching his breath as the music filling the air pounds in time with his racing heart. He pokes his head around the trunk just as his adversary rounds the corner and fires bright green beams in his direction. The gunslinger sprints away, trying to protect his shining blue vest from taking a game-ending hit. High-adrenaline scenes such as this occur on the laser-tag arena throughout the day and into the night at Boomers Family Fun Center.
Founded with the goal of fostering a safe environment for children and teens, Boomers Family Fun Center upholds their mission within a meticulously maintained, 10,000-square-foot gaming facility. The laser-tag arena beckons players into its black-lit confines designed to resemble a jungle replete with luminescent plants, glowing insects, and confused Tarzans wrapped in Christmas lights. Armed with their high-tech phasers and computerized vests, gamers of all ages take to the playing field, lobbing light beams back and forth as trained staffers referee the action. Along with its signature laser-tag sessions, Boomers grants respite to weary players with arcade games and an onsite concession stand stocked with pizza and soda. The friendly staff also presides over parties that include access to a private room and exclusive rounds of laser tag.
Husband-and-wife team and Prana Power Yoga cofounders Philippe and Taylor Wells foster an environment in which clients can explore holistic wellness through yoga, intensive workshops, and events. Instructors at each heated studio locations roll out the welcome yoga mats, encouraging students of all interests and skill levels, from mothers-to-be to veteran sun saluters, to build strong bodies and peaceful minds in a judgment-free environment. During athletic Vinyasa-style yoga classes, certified instructors crank up temperatures as high as 99 degrees before taking mat mavens through a sequence of sweaty postures linked with mindful breathing exercises designed to boost lung capacity to Sting-like levels. Meanwhile, visitors in search of a transformative experience can attend one of the studio's workshops or events, which range from juice cleanses to destination yoga retreats in Nayarit, Mexico.
Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, the staff of climbing instructors at Boston Rock Gym teach torsos how to ascend altitudes with indoor-, outdoor-, and youth-climbing activities. The savvy instructors lead the way around the facility’s more than 40 ropes, which set the stage for both group and private indoor lessons, as well as open climbing sessions in which self-guided climbers reach for neon-colored handgrips while being supported by auto-belay devices. Outdoors, students learn to navigate nature’s authentic slabs during lessons and clinics that start with the basics and graduate up to advanced ice-climb maneuvers. Additionally, the facility’s youth programs cater to smaller grips and aim to boost self-confidence while preparing children for the physical-fitness portion of the SAT.
The Little Gym is the home of Serious Fun! The Serious side is the great three-dimensional learning that takes place in all of the age appropriate classes (gymnastics, dance, sports) for children between 4 months of age and 12 years of age. The FUN part is what the children experience in every class, birthday, and camp!
Inside Athletic Evolution, a 30,000-square-foot sports complex, seasoned trainers craft fun, customizable workouts from functional movements designed to build strength, stamina, and flexibility. Filled with running, barbell drills, and bodyweight exercises, each small-group class draws inspiration from Olympic events such as track and field, naval warfare, gymnastics, and weightlifting. Abs and arms ripple as students wield kettlebells and climb 25-foot ropes that dangle from the ceiling, and the facility's 65 yards of indoor turf set the stage for sprints, prowler pushes, and impromptu lawnmower races.