by Laura Katsnelson
lesting A.R.Kade. "exer gamer" system uses electronic gaming machines to make exercise fun.
4 xercise and video games seem
to be polar opposites. But
when the innovations in elec-
tronic gaming are "taken into account,
who says that they can't go together?
Many young people already have
jumped on the technology bandwag-
on, using Dance Dance Revolution
and Wii games for both entertain-
ment and exercise.
However, the new XRKade fran-
chise has fully embraced this con-
cept by installing kid-friendly virtual
fitness centers around the country,
including one at the Sports Club in
According to iTECH Fitness Inc.,
Above: Jennifer Yellzarov and Laura Katsnel-
designers of XRKade, the idea is to
son try Dance Dance Revolution as instruc-
provide "the most advanced active
tor Ben Maynard looks on.
gaming and entertainment systems
where people become a human joy-
Jennifer Yelizarov of Farmington Hills and T2T Staff Writer Laura Katsnelson, both 17,
stick." The overall goal is to make ex-
test out a driving game as Instructor Ben Maynard gives instruction.
ercise more fun as well as to encour-
age kids to get up and get fit.
The XRKade room offers a wide variety of ac- months, most likely because XRKade member- ance to control a snowboard. Jennifer liked the
elliptical bike/car-racing simulator. "I loved being
tivites, including virtual snowboarding, kickbox- ship is included with swim club membership.
I decided to examine the facility firsthand and able to use my own pedal speed to ram into other
ing, four-player Dance Dance Revolution, ellipti-
cal bike racing, golf and bowling, and both Wii try out the games for a couple of hours. Jennifer cars. It's something I could never do in real life!"
Sports and Wii Fit. Every machine is adapted for Yelizarov, 17, of Farmington Hills also came along she said.
At the end of the trial session, we both agreed
a gym setting and several have controllers specifi- to give her opinion. While Jennifer is someone
cally manufactured for exercise. This means that who likes to work out at the gym, I prefer to walk that we had gotten a good cardio workout. There
the games are sturdy and can safely accommodate
or jog outside and play tennis. However, neither of wasn't much to do for muscle training so it may
not have been as effective as a gym, but it was a lot
us had any experience with virtual exercise.
kids getting their workouts.
more entertaining, and "exergam-
Most "exergamers" are ages 8-14 who are already
At first glance, the room looked like the typical
ing" provides a fun alternative for
into video games, but older teens and adults also arcade, but once we played a few games, we could
have responded positively to the Novi XRKade, feel our heart rates increasing. Instructor Ben
instructors said. With several multiplayer games,
many kids can compete against friends while their
parents are at the main gym or pool. And families
can be seen on the machines during the summer
Maynard, 17, explained how to play each game.
My personal favorite was the snowboarding
machine. I got to experience the thrill of racing
down a mountain by using my leg strength/bal-
Laura Katsnelson, 17, will be a senior at
Walled Lake Western.
slice of life/class of 2009
FJA ceremony punctuated by personal tributes about each graduating senior.
lose to a standing-room-only crowd
filled Temple Israel's sanctuary in
West Bloomfield June 15 for Frankel
Jewish Academy's seventh graduation ceremo-
ny. Forty-six graduates filed in to Elgar's Pomp
and Circumstance played by the Kids Klezmer
Band of Michigan.
Speeches recalled experiences that represented
the essence of the Frankel Jewish Academy in West
Bloomfield — invitations to teachers' homes for
Shabbat dinner, intellectual challenges by fellow
students and teachers, going to a school where be-
ing known and appreciated for one's strengths and
foibles was the rule not the exception.
The faculty tributes that precede the presenta-
tion of diplomas are the pinnacle of each year's
graduation ceremony. This tradition epitomizes
the bond between FJA teachers and their students.
The tributes were punctuated by laughs, tears and
embraces that belied the mutual fondness and re-
Danielle Brodsky's parents were there to see her
graduate this year. However, her mother, Stacy,
has attended every FJA graduation, child or no.
"Graduation is one of the school's shining mo-
ments," she said after the ceremony.
Frankel Jewish Academy seniors Ari Kurzmann, Eli Newman,
Matt Greenberg and Ben Goutkovitch
teen2teen June 25 • 2009