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Kroc Center Boston marks one-year anniversary with exciting new arts programs

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Kroc Center Boston marks one-year anniversary with exciting new arts programs

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center has changed the face of Uphams Corner with its beautiful state of the art fitness, sports, educational and church facility. This spring, the center celebrates its first anniversary with an impressive line-up of unique programs, designed for everyone at every age.

From swimming to Zumba to rock climbing, New England’s largest community center has steadily expanded and diversified its offerings since opening its doors last April.

Operations Manager Chris Needham said the Kroc Center team is continually working to improve the center’s service to the community and its loyal members.

“We’re approaching our one-year mark with energy and creativity, focused on enhancing our service,” he said. “We’ve been the best kept secret in Boston. Now, we want to become the best known center in the city. We provide so many unique programs, classes and services – things no other community center or gym in the region offers.”

Already well known for its indoor water slides, three-story rock wall, N.C.A.A.-regulation basketball court and high-tech exercise equipment, the center is growing its arts and music programs this spring. New seasonal offerings begin in mid-April.

New classes include dance for youth and adults, incorporating elements of modern and hip hop to provide a powerful physical, spiritual and cultural experience.

Members have expressed a desire for more culturally diverse arts, Kroc Membership Sales and Marketing Manager Yhinny Matos said. That’s led to innovative offerings, such as Capoeira, a martial arts form fusing flexibility, balance, strength and coordination.

“Our center serves a very diverse community,” Matos said. “And our members are looking to stretch, culturally. For the future, we’re considering more eclectic forms, like Bollywood-style Indian dance and Afro House. We’re really embracing ideas that will inspire and energize everyone.”

Music production and audio engineering classes will also expand, fully utilizing the Kroc’s cutting-edge recording studio. “Our studio is an amazing artistic and technological resource for the entire community,” Matos said. “We want local musicians to know we’re here to help create professional recordings, and to teach them new skills.”

Course offerings include Introduction to Music Production and Introduction to Audio Engineering for youth and adults, in which students will learn to produce, edit and record original compositions.

Strings in the Spring is another new offering, taught by the Community Music Center of Boston. In this innovative music program, students aged 9-12 will gain performance skills and deepen their understanding of music through fun violin instruction. The center will also offer various voice and piano lessons.

More theater programs are in the works, too. “We would really love to end the season with a production,” Matos said. “We have a beautiful theater and so many talented youth.”

Parents pursuing their own fitness and educational goals at the Kroc also have more options for childcare. In addition to the childcare room, open to children from three months to 6 years old, the center’s drop-in Stay and Play program offers swimming, play and arts and crafts for kids aged 7 to 11 years old while parents work out.

The Kroc Center also continues to increase access to members of all income levels. The organization recently added a new scholarship tier with significantly reduced membership rates for families making less than $17,000 per year, Needham said. Those interested can apply at the front desk.

Free senior programs will also continue, with lunches, board games and book readings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday. Senior aerobics and water aerobics are also free.

“It’s important to the Salvation Army to truly serve our community,” Needham said. “We’re proud to provide all families access to our amazing center, which offers so much in the way of fitness, health and education for people of all ages and interests.”

Non-members also have access to Kroc programs, through slightly higher fees. Costs vary and can be found in the seasonal program guide, available online and at the Kroc. The center also offers reasonably priced day passes at $5 per child, $10 per adult or $15 per family. Day passes are a great way to explore the center – as a potential member – or treat the family to swimming and water slides on a warm spring day.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center, at 650 Dudley St., is open seven days per week. For more information, please call 617-318-6900 or visit www.myk rocboston.org