• Prisma Header June 2023
  • FOA Banner Nov 2022
  • IB Header Feb 2023
  • YMCA Summer Basketball
  • GFS Level Up ad
  • CCES April 2023 Header
  • SCCT Header Summer 2023

Learn to Fence at Foothills Fencing Academy

Posted on | 30 Comments

Thank you to Foothills Fencing Academy for sponsoring this giveaway on Kidding Around Greenville. Be sure to read this post in its entirety as the nice folks at FFA are giving away 4 weeks of beginner classes!

In college I was forced to choose between a multitude of courses worth only a couple credits to fulfill some obligation that I can’t remember now. But I do remember being psyched that Fencing was an option – so I signed up and couldn’t wait to wield my sword as a bad ass Medieval princess that I wish I was born as.

It was challenging but it was really, really fun. I had no idea the coordination and strength it took to learn the footwork, the proper way to earn points against your opponent, and the workout that every class entailed. I managed to pass the course, even toppling some of my male classmates in the process, and developed an unparalleled confidence that still lingers even today, long after my Russian instructor went back to coaching Olympians.

Here in the Greenville area, the Foothills Fencing Academy (FFA) is an awesome facility that teaches fencing to both kids and adults, even producing NCAA athletes and high-level fencers that go on to compete in worldwide tournaments.

Foothills Fencing Academy

The Foothills Fencing Academy is located in Piedmont, SC, only a 15-minute drive from downtown Greenville, and consists of a 4,000 square foot, air-conditioned facility with six tournament strips (they are like small runways but people-sized) which are on a raised wooden floor in order to provide better protection for joints than a concrete or tile floor.

The FFA offers open fencing time as well as classes and summer camps. The FFA is the finest fencing facility in the entire area and all their coaches are professional members of the USA Fencing, certified by the USFCA and have undergone background checks.

Why Fencing?

Fencing is a great way to develop coordination, agility, discipline, strength, balance and focus. Fencers must problem-solve quickly, assess situations, and learn how to think strategically – all crucial life-skills outside of the sport of fencing.

Fencing is also a wonderful activity to stay fit and healthy, work muscles from your feet and ankles all the way up through your shoulders and neck. It’s a sport of both mind and body.

Fall Classes

Whether you’re 8 or 38, Foothills Fencing Academy can introduce you to the fascinating sport of “Physical Chess” with their beginner classes for kids and their parents too! Beginner classes cover the basics – including the rules of fencing, footwork, blade work, and tactics. Fencers will develop coordination, discipline, speed, endurance and balance. By participating in three sessions of classes, students will learn the basic fundamentals of all three weapons. Oh yeah, its a fun sport in an air conditioned facility!

In addition to adult, family, and youth classesprivate lessons are available as well. Plus they host birthday parties, homeschool groups, after-school groups, or church groups.

They provide all the safety equipment for an introductory period but fencers must purchase their own gear after two months of training.

Beginner Classes

Beginner classes run in 4 week sessions and begin August 14th. But no worries if you’re not that quick because new classes will kick off again throughout the fall! All equipment needed is furnished for the first two month; all you need is the right clothing!  Cost is $75 plus a $10 US Fencing Membership.

For more details visit their website or call (864) 593 3684.

Adult Beginner Classes

Fencing is a sport for all ages!  The USA Fencing Association sanctions tournaments for adults, beginning with competitors as young as 13 years of age, as well as exclusive tournaments for specific age brackets ranging up to 70 years and over! This is also a great class to share some time for parent and teen.

Any new students should arrive for this first class at 6:15 for footwork preparation.  Class will last until 7:45.  The next three weeks class will meet from 6:45-7:45.

Youth Beginner Classes

Youth classes are for ages 8 years through 18 years. Class will meet for four weeks.

Beginner classes for age 8-10: A weekly one hour session introduces students to fencing while improving coordination and critical thinking. Coaches use a mixture of fun games and discipline teach your child the basic fundamentals they need to begin fencing.

Beginner Classes for ages 8-18: This hour-long class introduces your child to each of the three Olympic style fencing weapons. Students learn to move and hit safely. They are introduced to the basic rules, footwork, blade work, and tactics of each weapon.

Family Beginner Classes: these are a great chance to get the whole family involved and learn a new sport.

The USA Fencing Association sanctions tournaments for youth, beginning with 10 and under programs. Boys and girls participate together locally, but compete separately at national tournament events. The coaches will use fencing games and lots of fun to introduce your child to this exciting sport!

Register today

Foothills Fencing Academy
1004 Piedmont Hwy
Piedmont, SC 29673
(864) 593-3684
[email protected]


One lucky KAG reader is going to win 4 weeks of beginner fencing lessons with our friends at Foothills Fencing Academy!

This giveaway starts now and ends at midnight on August 31, 2017. Good luck!

Our giveaway rules:

  • You must be 18 or older and live in the USA to enter this giveaway.
  • You must use a valid email address to enter this giveaway.
  • One entry per person per day.
  • We will contact the winner via the email address provided within three [3] days of the giveaway ending. The winner will have three [3] days (72 hours) to respond via email. If the winner does not respond within the three [3] days (72 hours), the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen. Directions for claiming the prize will be given via email. A valid photo ID and/or mailing address may be required.
  • For a complete list of Kidding Around Greenville SC’s giveaway policies and terms and conditions, see the Kidding Around Greenville SC policy page. By entering this giveaway, you agree to comply with Kidding Around Greenville SC’s terms and conditions.

Has your family ever tried Fencing?

Meet Kristina, Team Writer
Kristina_headshot 150 pixel Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer and New Jersey native who is thrilled to call the Upstate her new home. She loves cooking, trying new foods, and checking out all that Greenville has to offer.

Piney Mountain Bike Lounge Has a Pump Track Out Back

Posted on | 1 Comment

Local mom Liene reviews Piney Mountain Bike Lounge in Greenville, SC. This unique bicycle shop and taproom should be on your summer bucket list!

There is one spot that definitely needs to be on your bucket list this summer if you live in Greenville and have kids who enjoy riding bikes – Piney Mountain Bike Lounge!

Piney Mountain Bike Lounge is a cross between a bicycle shop and a taproom, complete with a pump track out back! Located between downtown and Paris Mountain, the Lounge caters to mountain bikers on their way to and from the mountains. It has also become a gathering spot for the local community to come together and share their love for riding – or share their love for craft beer while their kids are busy wearing themselves out on the dirt bike course!

Why we love Piney Mountain Bike Lounge

Our most recent visit was a weekday. The boys were all still running full steam, wearing on my last nerve. We still had several hours of daylight, and so we loaded up three kids, three bikes and three helmets and headed to Piney Mountain Road.

Although the exterior looks much like it did when it was the Landscapers Supply, the interior has been completely revamped. On one side is the bar, serving up craft beer alongside what is the bicycle repair space. On the other side is a lounge, complete with couches, a foosball table and handlebars in the place of mounted trophies. The center is filled with all the latest cycling gear and bicycles, trail maps on the walls of favorite dirt biking destinations in the area. Finally, in the back you’ll find the former loading dock, converted to outdoor patio. Full of picnic tables, the space overlooks the pump track, a small, looping trail system that you can ideally ride continuously without pedaling.

Since their grand opening in March, Piney Mountain has settled in with a rotation of food trucks to make the Lounge truly a one-stop evening hot-spot. Including Upstate favorites such as Automatic Taco, Ellada Kouzina and Chuck Truck, for the current schedule check the website or follow Piney Mountain Bike Lounge on Facebook.  For the beer enthusiasts, a list of the 14 regional and local craft beers on tap can be found here.  The pump track is closed when it’s wet for safety reasons as well as to protect the track, and a waiver must be signed before use. Usually one of us will take the boys & bikes around to the track and get them set up, while the other orders food and beer and gets settled in at one of the tables by the track – then it’s just a matter of shouting out a few encouraging words to keep them circling the track while we enjoy our meal.

Piney Mountain offers a variety of tune-up and service options as well as a demo option if you’re looking to buy a bicycle but not quite ready to commit. For those with kids in middle or high school that might be interested in a mountain biking team, NICA (the National Interscholastic Cycling association) is coming to Greenville and often meets with Piney Mountain – check out Upstate Composite on Facebook for more info.

When it comes down to it, I’m really more of a Swamp Rabbit Trail gal than a Paris Mountain cyclist, but Piney Mountain is a great addition to the cycling scene in the Upstate. Whether you’re looking to get your bike ready for the season, catch up with friends after a day at Paris Mountain, or just ‘cycle’ through some of that energy in the kids on these long days, make sure to swing by the Lounge this summer!

Plan your own trip to Piney Mountain Bike Lounge

20 Piney Mountain Road, Greenville

For more information about Piney Mountain Bike Lounge visit their website. They can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook

See Liene’s original post on her blog, Femme au Foyer, here.

Does your family love to bike together? Don’t miss our list of places to ride your bike in Greenville.

Would your family love Piney Mountain Bike Lounge as much as mine does?

Meet Liene
Mother of three young boys, Liene is constantly on the move since returning to Greenville in 2012. Whether she’s exploring the state parks and natural areas of the Carolinas or teaming up with other moms to organize activities for the kids, she’s always searching for the next adventure in the Upstate. For everything from hiking, travel, cooking and crafts to multicultural & global education posts, visit her blog, Femme au Foyer.

The Downtown Spartanburg Headquarters Library Even Has a Playground

Posted on | No Comments

Jennifer Curry reviews the Downtown Spartanburg Headquarters Library. For more ideas of things to do inside see our list of Things to Do Inside in Spartanburg!

Looking for a place your kids will love that is always free with tons of stuff they can borrow to take home and enjoy? Does this magical place exist? Yes! The Headquarters Library in Downtown Spartanburg is full of excitement every day and has free items to borrow that everyone in your family will enjoy.

What makes the Headquarters Library so great?

Located on the 1st floor of the Headquarters Library is a massive children’s area that is enclosed and contains books, hands-on learning toys, a children’s computer lab, and more! As soon as you enter the area, you find the train depot. This special space has a gigantic train mural for the Hub City, as well as a train wall and the train depot where librarians await.

In this space, you will find several different hands-on activity tables such as the light-up magnetic blocks. Children are drawn to the space because of the toys and colors, but the library has specifically chosen activity tables that help children learn and be creative. Plus, this is not your typical “quiet” library space – play is encouraged!

Even more exciting is the beautiful outdoor children’s garden that includes a fully enclosed playground. Not only is the playground enclosed, it does offer shade! With a mixture of climbing equipment and musical play instruments, this playground is a hidden gem. There is plenty of seating for parents, so you can rest easy while your children run and play.

Plus, there are restrooms in the children’s area including family restrooms and a private nursing area.

Even your big kids will want to stay

Also located on the 1st floor is a room made just for tweens. If your kids are between the ages of 10 and 12, they are welcomed to the Tween Zone. This room is a hang-out space for this age group and is where several events just for tweens are held.

Did you know the Headquarters Library also has an entire private space just for teens? The Teen Services department is located on the 2nd floor (also the main floor of the library). Tell your teens to look for the orange walls.

This space not only holds the young adult book collection, it also is a unique hang-out space just for teenagers – no adults allowed! With televisions, computers, tables, booths, and even a stage, teens are invited to enjoy this space designed just for them. The Teen Services department hosts several teen-only events each month as well.

This library offers free programs too

Spartanburg County Libraries offer a huge number of free programs each month. Since Headquarters Library is the main branch, there are multiple programs happening here weekly. For example, the Headquarters Library hosts over 10 story time programs each week!

In addition to story time programs, the Headquarters Library also hosts movie viewings, author lectures, books clubs, and more. They even offer fitness programs such as yoga. All of these programs are free of charge!

During the summer, the library hosts a summer reading program for all ages (separate programs for children, teens, and adults). Each division offers prizes to those who complete their summer reading program. The adult and teen programs encourage patrons to attend the free library programs, which count towards winning the summer reading prizes.

See our calendar for a list of library events.

This library is not just for checking out books

Often, people are under the assumption that libraries are just for checking out books. This could not be further from the truth. One visit to the Headquarters Library will let you see there is so much more available to patrons than books.

For example, the third floor of the library offers a large computer lab for those needing internet, Word programs, or printing. In addition, the Headquarters Library also has private study rooms patrons may use. If you or your teen has a big project, these are great spaces to utilize.

But, more than books and computers, the Headquarters Library also has an entire audiovisual section that allows individuals to borrow movies, television series, music, video games, and more. These are not old movies or music either – these are brand new releases you may borrow for free. This section is located on the main level.

Did you know you can also check out magazines from the library? Instead of spending money on subscriptions or stocking up on new magazines at the grocery checkout aisle, you can borrow magazines from the library. Headquarters Library has a huge magazine section with current and past issues.

Additionally, the Spartanburg Libraries offer several library apps that you can use from home (i.e. Freegal, Hoopla, Overdrive, Zinio). These apps allow you to use your phone or device to check out eBooks and audiobooks outside of the library. But, that’s not all. These apps allow you to borrow and download current music, movies, television, and magazines to your devices for free as well.

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got your library card!

While program events are free and open to the public, if you want to take advantage of the library’s collection (or borrow materials), you will need a library card. Library cards are free to Spartanburg County residents. You just need proof of identity and proof of residency (if your driver’s license includes your current address, you can use it).

Most books, magazines, and music CDs may be checked out for 28 days. DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and video games may be checked out for 7 days.

The Headquarters Library is located at 151 S. Church Street in downtown Spartanburg. It is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Has your family ventured to Headquarters Library yet this summer?

Meet Jennifer Curry
Jennifer relocated to Spartanburg seven years ago, and now spends her days working from home and taking care of her two kids. She loves this area because we can go from rural areas to urban areas to the mountains within an hour. Her favorite things to do with her kids are using their imaginations and visiting Spartanburg County local libraries. Follow Jennifer at www.litlovingmom.com.

Greenville Martial Art Center Offers Classes, After School Care, and Summer Camp

Posted on | 14 Comments

Thank you to Greenville Martial Art Center for sponsoring Kidding Around Greenville and this content.

While parents may not see their kid wax on and wax off their car, they will see noticeable positive differences after their child spends some time at Greenville Martial Art Center learning skills that extend way beyond the studio and into everyday life at home and at school.

Greenville Martial Art Center (GMAC) is entering its 10th year of operation, having guided both kids and adults through Hapkido and Taekwondo programs and instilled greater confidence, self-esteem and practical self-defense skills.

What is GMAC?

GMAC is an independent, family-owned business that offers both Traditional Taekwondo and Hapkido styles of martial arts. GMAC is owned by Chris Key, who has been teaching martial arts for over 15 years. They offer an after-school program, STEAM infused summer camps, and tons of great evening classes for both kids and adults.

Summer Camps

Summer is just around the corner, unbelievably, so why not start checking out what’s available to not only keep your kids entertained? GMAC will help them become better people, teach them personal accountability, and they will have a blast all at the same time!

GMAC just opened up their summer camp registration and they’ve got some exciting weeks planned. Why choose one themed camp, when you can choose them ALL? Legos, Harry Potter, Minecraft, Community Service projects, Zoology, and Ninja week are just a few of the themed weeks awaiting your student this summer!

Through using a combination of martial arts, including traditional Taekwondo skills, and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) activities, GMAC put together themed weeks to keep children engaged throughout the entire day.

Camps are broken up into five blocks, each consisting of two weeks. Camp Blocks begin June 5th and run through the week of August 7th. Themes for each block include LEGO engineering, Super Hero Service, Explore Like a Ninja, and Wild About Animals. Kids will do things like volunteering at a nursing home or an animal shelter, build a Free Little Library and go on field trips.

GMACs mission is to form well-rounded leaders through self-discipline, accountability, and character-building activities. These are all useful skills that can be translated to both a school and home environment and really, what parent wouldn’t want a child who listens more and is personally accountable to clean their rooms? Make this a summer they will remember for a lifetime!

The cost is $140 per week of full-day camps. The camps run Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. GMAC asks that campers arrive no later than 9am and are picked up not earlier than 4:30 p.m.

GMAC does offer family and sibling discounts.

After-School Program

GMAC has multiple buses that pick-up children from elementary schools around the Simpsonville, Taylors, Greenville, and Five Forks area every weekday and engage them in a dynamic after-school program. It includes quiet time for homework and reading, snack time, and of course, classes where kids are taught taekwondo.

Classes are taught by the owner, Chris, who while holding black belts in both styles, is also a dad, and someone who may or may not admit to being a big kid himself. Watching him interact and teach the kids, it’s easy to see why both children and parents keep coming back to GMAC. He cares deeply about being a role model and excellent instructor and strives to channel the boundless energy of children into useful skills.

The after-school program runs from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. and is very reasonably priced. Please call GMAC for prices and available pick-up locations.


Hapkido is an eclectic yet traditional Korean martial art that combines dynamic strikes along with joint locks, throws, pressure points, and other techniques used to effectively control opponents.  It truly is one of the original mixed martial arts.

One thing that sets Hapkido apart from other styles is that it is considered a “soft” style.  This means that instead of requiring practitioners to be big and strong, nearly anybody can utilize these techniques!  Using the principles of non-opposing force, circular motion, and fluid motion, a practitioner can subdue or control an opponent much larger than themselves.

The best part of Hapkido is that it is a great style for both men and women, and for all ages.  Currently their youngest student is six, while the oldest is in his 60’s (shhh! Don’t tell him we told you!)

Hapkido classes are held three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings.

All evening classes are affordable and family-friendly.

Who can take martial arts classes?

Everyone. There are evening classes for adults at GMAC. One of their current black belts didn’t start classes until he was 55! It is not uncommon to see a very wide age range among students in class.

While the after-school program is geared towards elementary-aged children, the Hodori (Little Tigers) Taekwondo classes are for kids as young as four-years-old. There are many family groups taking classes at GMAC, including the school owner, business manager, and their children.

Katrina Phillips, the program director at GMAC, says that children with any kind of attention-deficit disorder usually benefit greatly from their programs and are able to build better learning and listening skills.

GMAC offers family and sibling discounts, as well as a trial class so you can figure out what is best for you and your child. Martial arts are such a great way to provide structure and the opportunities to acquire valuable, life-long skills, so give it a shot!

Greenville Martial Art Center

Greenville Martial Art Center
1904B Roper Mountain Rd
Greenville, South Carolina

(864) 881-1397
[email protected]

Which martial arts class would your kid enjoy?

Croft State Park

Posted on | 2 Comments

Wooden dock, clear lake, tiny minnows sparkling in sunny shallow waters, tall trees, horses, hiking trails, and a playground.  Sound good?  Then you’ll want to check out Croft State Park the next time you’re looking for a family adventure.

STATE PARK POLICIES have changed due to current public health safety issues. We encourage you to check the updated COVID-19 State Park policies, before heading out to a state park.

A little about Croft State Park

The 7,000 acre Croft State Park offers miles of hiking, biking, and even equestrian trails.  On our visit, we walked the short Lake Craig connector trail and then enjoyed views of an absolutely beautiful Lake Craig.  We ate snacks we brought sitting on an adorable little dock and watched the tiny minnows in the shallow water around us.  The nearby fishermen were also quite entertaining for my crew.


We enjoyed a very peaceful morning in the park.  My homeschoolers were able to practice making super sentences with quality adjectives about all the things they were noticing from the dock.  “The sun sparkles on the backs of the wiggling minnows.”   The next time we go I will bring sketchbooks and writing paper so they can write down their sentences and illustrate.  There were definitely plenty of places to sit near the lake, and lots of grass for blankets, if that’s your preference.

You will find bathrooms conveniently near the parking lot for Lake Craig, and a short walk up the hill brings you to a nice playground with views of the park’s equestrian facilities.  While there were only a handful of horses and riders when we visited, my children really enjoyed watching as we walked past.  The playground was great for my children (ages 4 through 8), but younger children will need to be watched carefully due to the height of some of the equipment.

Hiking in Croft State Park

Croft State Park has many hiking trails, including an easy Nature Trail that’s about one and a half miles.  We went to the park intending to hike this trail, but even with a map, we struggled to find the trailhead.  We gave up and went on our little adventure at the lake and playground instead.  However, as we drove back down the park road headed for home, we noticed work crews clearing a few trees, and their trucks had been parked in front of the trailhead for the nature trail.  We could have driven by 20 times and never seen it! 

Fortunately, there’s so much to see and enjoy at Croft State Park, it didn’t matter much to us.  But, do bring a map with you, and if you’re looking for the nature trail, the trailhead is on the right, just before you get to the parking lot for the equestrian facilities.


Want to go?

Admission for Croft State Park is $3 for adults, and $1 for children 6- 15. Children under 6 are free.

You can rent canoes and kayaks:
Canoe rentals are available for $15 for four hours or $25/day. Kayaks are available for $10/hour.

The park is open 7 am – 6 pm daily (8 p.m. on Fridays), and 7 am – 9 pm daily during daylight savings time.

The park address is 450 Croft State Park Road, Spartanburg 29302.  We had no problem finding it with our phone GPS.

Have you ever been exploring at Croft State Park?