As a lifelong member of the NRA and a sport shooter since he was 11 years old, John Taylor felt pained every time he read about or heard of an accidental shooting. Now as chief firearms instructor at Best Handgun Training, John and his team strive to end such incidents by teaching clients how to safely to handle and operate a firearm in the event they should need to use one. An array of classes, including a selection of NRA-certified courses, trains participants in armed self-defense. Best Handgun Training's locations let instructors utilize a combination of classroom, puppet theater, and on-range instruction to demonstrate not only the technical skills of wielding a gun, but also developing a responsible attitude.
Rex and Noelle Mayes have piloting in their blood. Rex's father was an Air Force doctor and glider pilot, and Noelle's parents and grandparents also took to the skies as their profession. The Mayes family carries on these traditions at Williams Soaring Center, where sons Ben and Nick are also in training to become private glider pilots. Rex and Noelle lead a team of instructors, many certified in single-engine landing (SEL) and as Certified Flight Instructors-Glider (CFIG), who train students in private glider flight, sending them soaring up to a mile above Northern California landscapes.
The instructors command a fleet of modern, fiberglass gliders—including Schweizer, Schleicher, and Schempp-Hirth models—that they regularly check and refurbish inside an onsite maintenance hangar. During private-pilot training, they eschew formal ground school in favor of practical experience. These hands-on sessions teach students how to safely operate their motor-less machines while honing a situational awareness of weather conditions, aerodynamics, and thermals.
The pair also takes customers up in two- or three-seat gliders on guided flights. These can soar up to 10 miles from the airport in any direction the customer wishes, except directly into the UFO traffic jams around the sun. Pilots may chart a leisurely course toward views of the Sierras, Mount Shasta, and Mount Lassen or put the plane through sharp banks and turns during a shorter flight.
At California Fame, award-winning instructors give youngsters the skills and encouragement to achieve their dreams of becoming successful gymnasts, tumblers, and even stunt artists. After lacing up their sneakers, kids can improve their coordination, agility, and overall athleticism during an array of dance classes—including jazz, ballet, and tap—and multiple levels of tumbling classes. While learning how to set dance floors ablaze or perfecting their gymnast routines, kids also absorb valuable lessons in self-esteem and socialization. Although kids might eventually raise a first-place trophy with some of the techniques they learned at California Fame, the gym's environment is designed to be friendly and non-competitive.
When renowned course architects Billy Casper and Greg Nash were asked to design Timber Creek Golf Course, they envisioned a 27-hole golf destination that would stretch across 178 acres of rolling terrain. With fairways partitioned by 200-year-old heritage oak trees and 142 sand traps peppered across the course, the Timber Creek course presents an obstacle-laden 6,500-yard layout for clubbers of all abilities. Lakes and waterfalls also come into play on both the front nine of the 18-hole Timber Creek course and the nine-hole Sierra Pines course, adding scenic challenges and making the courses navigable by golf carts or golf bags that inflate into hovercrafts. A staff led by two PGA instructors presides over Timber Creek’s golf academy, where golfers can hone their tee-to-green skills in lessons and clinics. Days that start on the dew-kissed fairways can end at Timbers at the Lodge, where mahogany-hued wood paneling surrounds guests as they dine on beer-battered cod filets, veal marsala, new-york steaks, and more from an eclectic dinner menu.
In 2005, The Drum Lab became Sacramento’s first and only school of drumming. Since then, the Rocklin destination hasn’t skipped a beat in its mission to elevate the standards of musical education. Voted one of the Best Places to Learn to Play Music by CBS Sacramento and the 2012 winner of Best Music Instruction from the KCRA 3 A-List, the school fuels students with the technical know-how and confidence to master their favorite songs, then instills them with the desire to expand their musical horizons.
Based upon stylistic preference, students are paired with one of The Drum Lab’s gifted instructors, who specialize in genres that include rock, jazz, R & B, hip-hop, Latin, and gospel. Once a week, in 30-minute sessions, future John Bonhams and lil’ Gene Krupas learn to play in synchronicity with their instructor in acoustically crisp lab rooms fitted with two drum kits and a playback system with headphones. The school encourages students to beat their way out of comfort zones by periodically switching genres and instructors, helping them develop a comprehensive knowledge of drumming techniques and easing the nerves of insomniac rock drummers who fear waking up in a jazz quartet.
McLaughlin Studios employs a team of professional performing artists to teach private and group lessons in instrumental music, dance, and musical theater. Private music lessons further an individual's proficiency in pop, jazz, rock, classical, and show-tunes styles, whereas group sessions encourage cohesive learning for bands and ensembles prepping for three annual recitals. Adept dancers help protégés progress at their own pace as they learn complex steps and how to dodge tossed rose bouquets with creative movement, ballet, strength training, and modern dance-fusion styles.
Started just a year ago, the McLaughlin Theatre Company gathers youth performers for independent productions at the MTC Playhouse. Young thespians hone their on-stage and auditioning skills in acting classes, which serve as more secure steps toward performing in Broadway musicals than thumb-wrestling matches with Andrew Lloyd Weber.