Certified fitness instructor Grazia DiDonato, of Wildwood Crest, likes teaching exercise classes outdoors, where there are no mirrors.

“You have to make eye contact and get close with people,” said DiDonato, 44. “It’s a lot more intimate that way.”

Students are less self-conscious, so they focus more on the workout, she said.

DiDonato leads a free outdoor boot camp, funded by the Cape May County Library, on the back lawn of the Wildwood Crest library branch Tuesday mornings. She sets up a circuit with about 25 stations, overlooking a bike path and ocean.

About 20 people have participated each week since its start June 5, but DiDonato estimates she can accommodate as many as 50 for the hourlong class that includes hurdles for pull-ups, bosu for squats and push-ups, bands for bicep and tricep work, and a lot more.

“We get around the circuit a few times and always end with some great ab work,” she said. “I modify the exercises (for skill levels).”

DiDonato, who formerly worked in television, public relations and marketing in New York City, started working out to lose weight after her second child was born. She teaches body sculpting, spinning, Zumba and boot camps at Miracles Fitness in Rio Grande, and lives in Wildwood Crest with husband Tom DiDonato, a builder; and children Michael, 14; Rosalia, 12; and Thomas “T.J.”, 5.

Avalon retiree sworn for CASA

Retired clinical psychologist, grandmother and artist DebAnne Macaluso, 66, of Avalon, was one of 13 people recently sworn as a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer for CASA of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. The group’s 160 volunteers advocate for 320 of more than 700 children living in foster care in the two counties, the organization said. For more information, visit www.AtlanticCapeCASA.org.

Talent search is on in Sea Isle

Contortionist Victoria Jacoby, 16, of Cape May City, was the $1,500 grand finale first-prize winner in the first Sea Isle City’s Got Talent Contest last summer.

The 2012 contest will take place 8 p.m. Friday nights through Aug. 17 at the Excursion Park Band Shell, JFK Boulevard and Pleasure Avenue. It is open to amateur performers of all ages. Each week’s winners will advance to the grand finale in August. To register, visit www.seaislecitysgottalent.com. A $25 fee is due the night of the performance.


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