"Don't worry about how you play, just have fun." Parents cheer on kids with that advice all the time, but Kierre Jordan, the skill-development trainer at All Or Nothing Basketball LLC, will not. His basketball-training sessions are age and skill-level appropriate, but they're designed to push players beyond their limits and propel them to a professional level of athleticism. That's why he only invites serious players to sessions, including NBA players and other professionals. But that doesn't mean Kierre ignores the needs of beginners or banishes fun from the gym. He also meets novices where they're at with basics, such as dribbling and passing, and encourages them to attend group sessions where they can play among friends.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Robert Herzog dropped off his laundry, picked up his mail, and took the local C train to work instead of the express A train. When he arrived for work at the north World Trade Center tower that morning, nearly 300 of his coworkers were dead. Stunned by his inexplicable escape from death, Herzog battled through his trauma by focusing on the good things in his life. Earlier that year, he met his wife-to-be playing coed softball. He had enjoyed the league but felt he could do better. Tempered by the sense of charity and community that was so ubiquitous after September 11, he opened ZogSports—a sports league that donates 10% of its profits to charity—in 2002.
Since then, leagues have spread from New York and the northeast out to Atlanta and the Twin Cities. Casual competitors in their 20s and 30s team up in touch-football leagues and indoor-volleyball leagues, making new friends on the field, at postgame happy hours, and at preseason press conferences.
When teams sign up for ZogSports's leagues, they choose a charity to represent. From there, teams compete to win the league championship, come up with the funniest team name, or order the most drinks at the bar after the game, all of which earn them money for their charity of choice. To date, the company has donated more than $1.5 million to various charities.
A non-profit organization, Camp Village expands children's mental and physical abilities through one-week summer day camps. During the summer months, instructors and counselors lead children in 30 activities spanning a full spectrum of the sciences, arts, and outdoor adventure. On any day, children may transition from swimming or horseback riding to drama, music, and dance. Campers might develop technical prowess in rocket building and media production, or hone language skills in French, Spanish, and binary code. The roster of offerings also includes the Eastern fitness disciplines of tae kwon do and yoga.
To accompany these wide-ranging activities, staffers also take campers off-site for at least two field trips each week, heading to institutions such as the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, attractions such as Maxx Fun Family Entertainment Center, and annual events such as the National Black Arts Festival. Learning doesn't stop once school comes back into session—the organization extends its summery mission with year-round after-school programs.
Although each of the seven Just Fitness 4U locations has its own distinctions—such as the Lawrenceville location's 24/7 hours or the Marietta location's 25,000 sq. ft. facility and marble lobby—they more or less share the same tools for getting in shape. For starters, each is furnished with state-of-the-art Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment, which can be used or lifted to increase strength. Moreover, the facilities have a team of certified personal trainers and group fitness instructors who lead one-on-one workouts and fitness classes such Pilates, Zumba, yoga, and spinning, respectively.
Coach John "Q" McQueen scored 1,524 points during his collegiate career at Cabrini College, good for second most in school history. His all-around skill set was impressive, showcasing fundamentals to dominate opponents and score at ease. After that, John played and coached hoops in Europe, scouted for a cartoon Martian team, and later wrote a motivational book titled "Living Proof." Today, coach John runs Drillz and Skillz Hoopz, a youth basketball camp and clinic where youngsters learn the fundamentals of the game in addition to learning about character and ethics.
D1spects teaches children the values of teamwork and dedication through competitive football and basketball leagues. Although kids try out, each is guaranteed at least one quarter of playing time during each game. Players even get to experience answering questions like the pros do, with on-camera interviews taking place on the sidelines. At the end of the season, kids have a chance to compete for the playoffs and earn medals for their achievements.