This is a guest post by Billy Soden, Program Manager at the Sabes JCC.
A quick glimpse at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park can tell you a lot.
Impressively equipped with a 195,000 square foot facility that features a health & fitness club, theatre, auditorium, art gallery, meeting rooms, gymnasiums, and an indoor/outdoor pool, the JCC provides programs and services in health & fitness, recreation, early childhood programs, arts & humanities, afterschool youth programs, day camps, special events, and more. JCC membership, programs and services are available to all regardless of race or religion.
On any given day, a leisurely stroll through the halls of this beautifully clean gathering center reveals a potpourri of activity that is as multifarious as the community it serves.
A warm greeting at the front desk lets you know you are welcome, and is the launch point for all who enter on their personal journey into health and fitness, lifelong learning, community engagement, or artistic immersion.
The eye-catching Health & Fitness Club will capture your attention immediately. The flurry of physical activity and hum of finely tuned exercise machines is enough to invigorate and motivate even those who are indifferent to the benefits of purposeful exercise. The room is scattered with both adventurous athletes and more simple health-minded folks of all ages, some coached by top-notch professional trainers, some not, serving as a reminder of what not to take for granted. Nearby, others are experiencing their fitness in group doses such as Power Yoga, Cardio Box, Athletic Conditioning, and Zumba! And any doubt that the JCC serves just one population is quickly extinguished when you see the 50+ crowd shakin’ it in the Forever Fit class! (Yes, your parents and grandparents may workout here, too).
Just off the health club are the JCC swimming pools. This immaculately kept indoor/outdoor swimming area is where your kids can learn to swim in the “Water Wigglers” class, learn how to log roll (yes…seriously, for ages 7+), or become a lifeguard and prepare for the “best summer job ever” in the Lifeguard Training class (ages 15+). Oh, and you can enroll in “The Fun Part” – a class that teaches underwater diving!
As you venture away from the fitness and pool areas, you’ll begin to get a feel for the variegated comprehensiveness of the JCC environment.
Peek into the classrooms down any given hallway and you’ll see kids, sometimes with their parents, actively engaged in furthering a new interest, making friends, or just having fun. In one room, you might watch a young duo enjoy a bout of sparring in the Sport Fencing class. Walk a few more steps and you might see a prodigy studying guitar or piano. Around the corner, you might see someone’s son or daughter studying robotics disguised as Star Wars-themed Jedi’s and Imperial Droids, or producing their own video games in the Video Game Animation class. Take a look outside and you’ll witness three-foot Donavan McNabb-types honing their passing skills in the Flag Football class, or kids being introduced to the Spanish language in the “Futbol! Spanish Immersion Soccer” class.
The opportunities for youth enrichment classes at the JCC are endless, and are constantly changing to meet the diverse needs and interests of the families that take advantage of them. Art, athletics, theatre, science, dance, music… it’s all there.
For every space that occupies kids being “enriched” at the JCC, there’s another occupied by adults doing the same.
Your stroll through the JCC won’t be complete until you experience adults (a.k.a. “Big Kids Of All Ages”) engaged in the likes of classes in painting, writing, parenting, or current events.
You will even see the special programming for older adults like driver safety classes, computer classes, and a group of “Musical Minyans” self-described as “an ever-growing, never-slowing group of mature performers dedicated to performing the great songs of stage and screen.” For those participants with special needs, the JCC also offers a complete inclusion program.
The Arts and Humanities are a trademark of the Sabes JCC’s commitment to supporting and celebrating the Jewish culture. The artistic-minded can bathe in the aesthetic surroundings that plays host to a myriad of programming suitable to a wide variety of tastes and interests. The JCC features:
- Ten art exhibits a year exploring the broadest range of Jewish thought and artistic expression in the Tychman Shapiro Gallery and the JCC lobby and hallway exhibition spaces
- A full season of dynamic plays and concerts presented by the JCC’s Performing Arts Program
- Jewish Journeys lectures and discussions with local and nationally recognized insightful authors, thinkers, and doers impacting our community and our world
- Live satellite broadcast from the 92nd Street Y in New York
- The region’s only Jewish Humor Fest – Two weeks of bringing laughter to the Jewish community
- • The Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival – Our community’s largest event each year, drawing thousands of people together to learn, be inspired, debate, and be moved by Jewish stories from around the world
- The Summer Musical Theatre Institute – Providing an educational experience and venue for young performers to hone their craft and gain skills and a Jewish experience
- Participation in Artsfest – A week-long gathering of Jewish teens from around the world who are interested in a wide array of arts, to learn, to gain skills, to be Jewish together
- Classes in art, dance, theatre, instrumental and vocal music and much more for children and adults
The Sabes Jewish Community Center isn’t for everyone… it’s for everyone AND their friends.
The Fall 2011 Program Guide was recently released and lists hundreds of enticing opportunities. Programs are just starting and convenient online registration is available for most programs by browsing through our registration page. The Sabes JCC invites you to take a virtual tour by visiting www.sabesjcc.org and then take a stroll through our hallways and experience the JCC for real!