Project: You

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Invest in yourself by learning a new hobby or skill this year.

As parents, we are always looking for ways to keep our kids busy and involved. We want them to learn new sports, try out new hobbies and meet new friends. While it’s important for our children to be involved — there are plenty of educational, physical and emotional benefits — we should also dedicate some of that same energy to ourselves. After all, the same benefits that apply to our children also apply to us. Studies have shown that how you spend your leisure time can impact your health, and hobbies can be good for you in many ways, including improved health, lower stress and better sleep. Plus, adults who participate in hobbies and sports have been shown to generally just feel happier. And we all want that, right? Here, we’ve outlined six local businesses that offer classes and activities perfect for adults who want to learn a new skill.

LEARN TO SAIL
We are lucky to live near Lake Lanier, which offers a number of ways to get outside and enjoy nature. If you’ve ever wanted to learn to sail, Lanier Sailing Academy offers a Basic Keelboat 101 course, where their certified instructors will take you from landlubber to experienced skipper capable of handling a 22-foot sloop-rigged keelboat. According to Lanier Sailing Academy’s website, the Basic Keelboat 101 course is a hands-on class, in which you will spend 90% of your time on the water, where you not only steer the boat, but you also trim the sails.

The class is structured for all experience levels looking to become certified and lasts three days (taken over three weekends) lasting from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Class sizes are kept small, with only three students maximum per instructor. The keelboat course comes with Lanier Sailing Academy’s guarantee that each student will pass. In the event a student does not pass the course within the scheduled completion date, the academy will provide additional instruction until they are certified at no extra cost.

Once students are certified they receive a free four-hour sailboat rental (a $350 value) and a $600 discount on joining the Passport Sailing Club. For sailors with some previous experience, Lanier Sailing Academy also offers a two-day short course for the Basic Keelboat 101 certification.

Students are in good hands with Lanier Sailing Academy, which has been teaching sailing courses on Lake Lanier for 53 years. For more information visit LanierSail.com.

EXPLORE YOUR ARTISTIC SIDE
If you’ve been itching to flex your artistic muscle, head over to Suwanee Arts Center, which offers a number of classes with locally and nationally recognized artists and educators. Suwanee Arts Center provides an all-around curriculum from novice to advanced levels in a broad range of programs that strive to develop individuals’ artistic interests and abilities. Some of the center’s popular classes include a calligraphy writing class taught by Diane Brinkley, where students learn to write in calligraphy using brush pens while learning the basic skills and strokes of Copperplate Calligraphy. Instruction also includes how to make gift tags, notecards, envelopes and signs. “Calligraphy is something I’ve always wanted to learn,” says Sheila Crumrine. “Diane is so very patient and a wonderful teacher. She gives you all the tools and lots of ideas.”

Suwanee Arts Center also offers a basic to intermediate drawing class that helps beginners realize that they can draw better than they ever thought. The class’s visual sketching exercises are aimed at increasing proficiency and range from simple to more complex. In addition to beginners, experienced artists will also enjoy and benefit from the drawing exercises and practice.

Suwanee Arts Center also offers a range of photography classes taught by award- winning photographer Chris Anderson, including Fundamentals of Photography, a three-month journey to improve your photography. If you want something with less time commitment, consider their iPhone photography class, a two- hour class that lasts one day. There are also one-day Intro to Photography workshops from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Anderson was recognized as one of the Top 101 Landscape Photographers of the Year in 2020. His work has been shown at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Tula Arts Center and with Atlanta Celebrates Photography, among others.

Suwanee Arts Center is located in Town Center at 3930 Charleston Market St.. For more information and for a full class schedule, visit SuwaneeArtsCenter.org.

LEARN TO SEW
Suwanee’s Threaded from Heaven teaches sewing fundamentals to adults and children alike with a mission to “be a light in the community one stitch at a time.” Its five star-reviewed Sewing School Basics is a four-part class that teaches the fundamentals of sewing and creates a solid foundation. Adult classes are curriculum based and teach the techniques that students need to master before tackling a complete project, such as learning to work with seam finishes, zippers and buttons.

Threaded from Heaven’s newest class, Kick Start Sewing, is aimed toward those who are considering quilting, alterations/upcycling clothes, or project sewing. This two-part class teaches participants how to operate a sewing machine with students working toward making a project to reinforce what they have learned.

Threaded from Heaven owner Courtenay Christian is a BurdaStyle teacher, who completed her Advanced BurdaStyle Teacher certificate this year. During her time as a stay-at-home mother, Courtenay taught at Joann Fabrics before leaving to teach at Hobby Lobby in Buford. She opened Threaded from Heaven in September 2018. If you’re interested in learning to sew or improving your skills, Courtenay encourages you to give her classes a shot. “Let’s do this together,” she says. “People who work with a coach are more likely to succeed. We love helping people and we can help you avoid the common pitfalls and reach your goals. We help you stay accountable, have fun and sew, sew, and sew some more!”

Threaded from Heaven is located at 1145 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Suite B2, in Suwanee. For more information and to see a full schedule of classes, visit ThreadedFromHeaven.com.

TAKE A DANCE CLASS
Art is Motion is a dance and yoga studio dedicated to the artistry of movement that offers a number of classes in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Some of the studio’s most popular classes include Ballroom Dance, Latin Dance Club, and yoga classes. Group dance courses start with Level I for beginners and advance in difficulty with each level. These eight- week classes are designed to progress each week building on the previous week’s material.

The Ballroom Dance class covers six of the more popular ballroom social dances, including the Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing and Tango. Don’t worry, it’s not necessary to bring your own partner, as participants rotate partners regularly to focus on “lead and follow” while reinforcing foot patterns and creating muscle memory.

The Latin Dance Club class covers three of the popular Latin social dances, including Salsa, Bachata and Merengue. Join this class to spice up your weekly routine and learn dances that will help you to make an impression at weddings, parties and on vacation.

Art is Motion also offers small group yoga classes where the studio places a heavy emphasis on creating the optimal yoga environment and experience. Each instructor is vetted through a rigorous process to ensure that their knowledge, education, and instructional capabilities meet students’ needs and goals.

Art is Motion also offers additional classes, such as hip-hop, jazz, belly dancing, and private lessons. Their classes are open to all ages. Choose between Art is Motion’s two locations: Norcross (1560 Indian Trail Road, Suite 109) and Buford (4965 Lanier Islands Pkwy., Suite 102). For more information, call 678-577-2823 or visit ArtisMotion.org.

TAKE FLIGHT
Local flight instructor Brian Michael spearheads several efforts within the Lawrenceville chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA 690) to promote and support recreational flying in Gwinnett County. According to Brian, some of these efforts are youth focused, some are more geared toward adults, and some span any age range.

“For adults, our chapter participates in a couple programs put together by the EAA called Flying Start and Eagle Flight,” Brian says. “Flying Start is an event that we host at our chapter hangar, located on the grounds of the Lawrenceville Airport, to provide information to anyone who may have an interest in flying, but doesn’t know how to get started.” These Eagle Flights are a chance for adults to get in an airplane and experience what it is like to be a pilot. Flying Start and Eagle Flights combined are designed to answer any questions someone might have about the training, costs, and time commitments needed to fly. “We typically hold our Flying Start events in May and October, but perform Eagle Flights year round — all at no cost to the participants,” Brian continues.

In addition, Brian has been hosting a ground school for the last few years. “The ground school meets on a weekly basis, and is geared toward being a supplement to other training regiments offered by local flight schools or instructors,” Brian says. “It is possible, however, to gain the knowledge needed to take the private pilot written test solely after attending just the ground school sessions I offer. It just may take a while.”

This ground school, which is also offered at no cost to participants, is another opportunity for someone who is new to flying to ask questions and get a feel for what is involved in being a pilot before making any financial commitments. “Knowing that most people these days lead fairly active lives, there is no registration or commitment to attending any of these ground school sessions,” Brian says. “You just have to show up.”

If you’re interested in participating in Flying Start, Eagle Flight or the ground school, or to see a full calendar of events, visit EAA690.org.

FIND YOUR INNER SOMMELIER
Buford’s neighborhood winery, Cloudland Vineyards + Winery, is one of our favorite new local wineries. The vineyard and winery opened in October 2020. In addition to enjoying an excellent glass of wine, patrons are also invited to minimalist wine tastings, where Cloudland’s wine experts explain the wines as you enjoy the experience with your group of friends.

Cloudland also offers wine classes with owner Sean Wilborn on Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. for guests who want to go that extra mile and learn more about the wine world. This is an experience open to people who are new to wine and even sommeliers looking to advance their certification. No matter your experience, these classes are an opportunity to come together and share in the knowledge and fun in a relaxing environment. Reservations are required.

Cloudland Vineyards + Winery is located at 3796 N. Bogan Road in Buford. For more information, call 678-765-7945 or visit Facebook.com/cloudlandwines.

 

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