"Home of the Fighting SHE-Weezels," boasts SHE Academy’s website, where a sharp-taloned, grinning weasel dons a furiously furrowed brow and a dainty pink hair bow. This combination of fearsomeness and femininity mimics the comprehensive workshops found at SHE Academy, whose name stands for "self-defense, healthy lifestyles, and environmental and economic training." Workshops prep women and girls for real-world situations, sharpening their physical combat abilities and verbal assertiveness, boosting their body images, and increasing their environmental fluency. The academy also encourages further study, sponsoring a scholarship for participants who exhibit a passion for women's rights and ecological sustainability.
Founder and president Helen Grieco is a women's advocate who used struggles from her own childhood as a springboard toward a lifetime of anti-violence activism. Combining a bachelor's degree in women's study with a master's in female-focused clinical psychology, Helen spent more than two decades as a counselor and cofounded the anti-violence organization Brave People.
Petaluma is happy to boast the theatrical stylings of O'Brien Center of The Arts.
Head on over to the in-house restaurant for a delectable meal.
At O'Brien Center of The Arts, you can park quickly and safely in a lot next door.
After leading expeditions in search of underwater treasure, the instructors of Sonoma Coast Divers show their students how to cook and eat the spoils—abalone. They try to conclude each of their abalone diving classes with a group picnic, where everyone can compare their catch in hopes of snagging a record-size shell. Persistent hunters can even compete in the autumn's abalone cook-off, part of a Halloween celebration that includes subaquatic pumpkin carving.
These special events highlight the dive venue's dual emphasis on community and adventure. Whether they are hosting a scuba certification class, a Stress & Rescue course, or a simple air-fill service, the staff freely shares their passion for oceanic exploration. Their training pathways safely transform patrons from first-time pool divers into instructor-level dive masters. By filling their curriculum with specialty courses—such as night diving, wreck diving, and bubble collecting—they inspire guests to pursue different disciplines. They also plan several trips for all skill levels, guiding tours through local kelp forests and planning weeklong retreats to Caribbean islands.
At iCandy Pole Dance Studio, 11 poles await 11 students. The small class sizes ensure that each gal receives individual attention from the seasoned pole-dancing instructors. During group classes and private parties, they teach ladies of all shapes and abilities pole-dancing techniques while helping them forge stronger cores, improve their coordination and flexibility, and boost their self-confidence. In beginner classes, gals get acquainted with pole-dancing basics, which include gracefully pulling yourself up onto the pole. More-advanced tricks include performing inversions, or the Chinese pole technique, and gripping the pole with only the left pinky toe. In addition to leading pole-dancing classes, the instructors motivate women to whip into shape in fitness- and fun-focused hula-hooping and to channel their inner divas in chair-dancing sessions.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.