Sarah Clinton, Author at South Sound YMCA

By Lesli Baker

Happy Holidays! There are many Holidays this time of year!

I thought that I might share a few with you, as each of our valuable YMCA members may observe a holiday different from each other! A wonderful way to celebrate our diverse community to know and appreciate the Traditions of our neighbors.


Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt. Those who took part in the re-dedication witnessed what they believed to be a miracle. Even though there was only enough oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, the flames continued to burn for eight straight nights.

Hanukkah celebrations revolve around lighting the menorah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown. The ninth candle, called the shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Typically, blessings are recited and traditional Hanukkah foods such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are fried in oil. Other Hanukkah customs include playing with dreidels and exchanging gifts.


The name Kwanzaa comes from the phrase “mutanda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, families gather and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara, then one of the seven principles, values of African culture, is discussed. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.


In the Christian faith, Christmas is the historical celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether celebrated for this religious reason or solely as a cultural celebration, Christmas traditions vary around the world. Americans celebrate with Christmas trees, visits from Santa Claus, and dreams of snowy landscapes.

Other Days of interest that are observed in December are:

  • Dec 1 – World Aids Day
  • Dec 2 -International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
  • Dec 5 – International Volunteer Day
  • Dec 7 – Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance
  • Dec 10 – International Animal Rights Day
  • Dec 13 – St. Lucia Day
  • Dec 18 – International Migrants Day
  • Dec 21 – Winter Solstice
  • Dec 21 – National Homeless Persons Remembrance Day
  • Dec 31 – World Peace Meditation Day

Falls Prevention Awareness Week is September 18-22. Falls are the leading cause of injury related ER visits for older adults, the major cause of hip fractures and responsible for more than half of fatal head injuries. Below, the National Council on Aging shares 10 myths related to older adult falls.

After exploring these myths, the Y wants to remind you that we are here to help! Our Moving for Better Balance series is an evidence-based program that works to improve balance, muscle strength, flexibility and more. Visit our webpage here, or email for more info.


Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.

Reality: Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” But the truth is that 1 in 4 older adults fall every year in the U.S.


Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.

Reality: Falling is not a normal part of aging. Strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.


Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.

Reality: Some people believe that the best way to prevent falls is to stay at home and limit activity. Not true. Performing physical activities will help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health.


Myth 4: If I stay at home, I can avoid falling.

Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.


Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.

Reality: While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you’ve been a “couch potato” your whole life, becoming active now will benefit you in many ways—including protection from falls.


Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.

Reality: Taking any medication may increase your risk of falling. Medications affect people in many ways and can sometimes make you dizzy or sleepy. Be careful when starting a new medication. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions of your medications.


Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.

Reality: Vision is another key risk factor for falls. Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss that increase the risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are programs and assistive devices that can help. Ask your optometrist for a referral.


Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.

Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility. However, make sure you use these devices safely. Have a physical therapist fit the walker or cane to you and instruct you in its safe use.


Myth 9: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m concerned about my risk of falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence.

Reality: Fall prevention is a team effort. Bring it up with your doctor, family and anyone else who can help. They want to help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falling.


Myth 10: I don’t need to talk to my parents, spouse, or other older adults if I’m concerned about their risk of falling. It will hurt their feelings, and it’s none of my business.

Reality: Let them know about your concerns and offer support to help them maintain the highest degree of independence possible. There are many things you can do, including removing hazards in the home, installing safety features like grab bars or walk-in bathtubs, finding a falls prevention program at the Y (Take a Stand to Prevent Falls – South Sound YMCA) or setting up a vision exam.

Walking into a gym without a plan can be challenging. Where do you start and what do you do? Maybe you have a plan walking in but can’t decide whether to focus on weight loss, cardio, or building endurance.

Look no further than Sprint 8 at the South Sound YMCA.

This revolutionary exercise program offers an efficient and effective way to boost cardiovascular health, burn fat, and enhance overall fitness – in just a few quick sessions each week.

What is Sprint 8?

Sprint 8 is a dynamic interval training program designed to maximize the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Developed by ACSM certified trainer Phil Campbell, Sprint 8 combines bursts of intense exercise with brief periods of active recovery. Each workout consists of eight 30-second high-intensity intervals followed by 90 seconds of active recovery, totaling just 20 minutes.

What Makes Sprint 8 Unique?

  • Time Efficiency: Sprint 8’s most distinctive feature is its efficiency. With just three sessions per week, you can achieve remarkable results. Its time-saving nature makes it ideal for individuals with busy schedules who still want to prioritize their health and fitness.
  • Customizable Intensity: Unlike many other workout programs, Sprint 8 can be tailored to individual fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete, you can adapt the intensity to suit your needs. This flexibility ensures that everyone can participate and progress at their own pace.
  • Scientifically Proven: Sprint 8 is based on scientific research that supports the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training. Numerous studies have shown that these short bursts of intense exercise can significantly improve cardiovascular health, increase aerobic capacity, burn fat, and stimulate muscle growth.

Benefits of Sprint 8

  • Improved Cardiovascular Health: Sprint 8 elevates your heart rate during the high-intensity intervals, stimulating cardiovascular adaptation and improving heart health. Regular participation in Sprint 8 has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and enhance overall cardiovascular fitness.
  • Enhanced Fat Burning: The intense bursts of exercise during Sprint 8 sessions trigger a powerful metabolic response. This leads to an increase in calorie burn not only during the workout but for hours afterward. Over time, this metabolic boost helps burn fat and contributes to weight management.
  • Increased Energy and Stamina: Sprint 8 enhances your aerobic capacity, allowing you to perform everyday tasks with greater ease and endurance. By pushing your limits during these high-intensity intervals, you’ll gradually build stamina, experience less fatigue, and enjoy increased energy levels throughout the day.
  • Muscle Tone and Strength: Sprint 8 engages multiple muscle groups during each workout, leading to improved muscle tone and strength. The high-intensity intervals provide the necessary stimulus for muscle growth, making it an excellent choice for individuals looking to tone their bodies and increase lean muscle mass.

Get Started

Sprint 8 is available as both a class and a self-paced program. The program is available on many of the Matrix machines on the floor, like treadmills and cycling bikes. Try the program for yourself by selecting the Sprint 8 option on the screen and selecting an option based on your ability. You can also get guided instruction in Sprint 8 GX, available as monthly sessions with three classes a week. Find an upcoming session and register now!

Join us to experience new youth programs every month!

Registration Required | $10 for members | $40 for non-members






  • In this class kids will have fun learning new art techniques. A different art medium will be taught every week in a fun and exciting way!
  • Mondays at 4:15pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • This is a fun and community building class that will help homeschooled kids get their PE credits! We will learn a variety of different group games and even a couple of sports.
  • Tuesdays at 1:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-14


  • Rev up your child’s creativity and engineering skills with our Lego car class! Your child will learn to build and design their own unique vehicles using Lego bricks and other materials.
  • Tuesdays at 4pm@ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • Learn the fundamentals of Floor Hockey by learning skills and doing drills. This class will always end with a game of hockey too!
  • Tuesdays at 5pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • Tumble on in for high energy fun that teaches basic gymnastic skills in a positive, fun, yet challenging atmosphere!
  • Tuesdays at 5:15pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10 (Intermediate)
  • Thursdays at 4:15pm @ Shelton | Ages 3-5 (Beginner)
  • Thursdays at 5:15pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10 (Beginner)


  • In this class we will explore a new sport each week! This class is perfect for everyone whether you want to hone some skills or if you just want to expand you knowledge of different sports.
  • Wednesdays at 1pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • This class creates opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow through gardening. We want every child to experience the unique transformation that occurs when they spend time caring for a garden.
  • Wednesdays at 4pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • Come in and enjoy making some new paintings! Some will be watercolor, some will be acrylics, all will be a blast!
  • Wednesdays at 5pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • Here we will focus on the basic skills of Basketball such as dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense. This class is great for kids who are new to the sport or those who just want a refresher on the basics.
  • Thursdays at 5:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • In this fun and engaging class, kids will have the opportunity to explore the exciting world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Through hands-on activities, experiments, and projects, kids will develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity skills.
  • Thursdays at 6:15pm @ Shelton| Ages 5-10


  • This is a fun class that will allow young kids to learn all about art! We will work on all different art styles and techniques. All experience levels are welcome!
  • Fridays at 12pm @ Shelton | Ages 3-5


  • Unleash your child ‘s creativity and curiosity with our art and science class! Through hands-on experiments, projects and explorations, your child will learn to observe and experiment while also expressing creativity through art.
  • Fridays at 4pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • Get ready to build strength, confidence, and a healthy body with our youth weightlifting class! Our expert trainers will guide you through safe and effective weightlifting exercises that will help you develop proper technique and form. Whether you’re a beginner or have some lifting experience, we’ll challenge you to push your limits and achieve your goals.
  • Saturdays at 1pm @ Shelton| Ages 8-10


  • Bust a move is a fun class where your child will learn new dance techniques and will learn a Hip-Hop dance! This is a fun opportunity for anyone interested in dance and all experience levels are welcome!
  • Sundays at 1pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10



Registration Required | $50 for members | $75 for non-members

Each youth camp this summer will be something new and exciting for kids to learn! They will last 2 hours a day and will go for a whole week! Check out what camps we are offering in June!


  • During the week of dance camp your child will learn several different forms of dance. Each day will highlight a different type of dance for the first hour. The second hour of each day they will learn a choregraphed dance and Friday there will be a performance put on for the parents.
  • June 19-23 from 12-2pm @ Shelton| Ages 5-10


  • During the week for survival camp your child will get many opportunities to learn different survival techniques. They will learn everything from how to make a shelter outside, some first aid, and even get to try MRE’s.
  • June 26-30 from 10am-12pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10

This month, our Health and Well-Being Director Lesli Baker highlights the work of instructor Heather Sundean!

Heather specializes in strength training and intuitive eating. Heather loves to introduce people to lifting weights and help them feel comfortable and confident at the gym. She enjoys working with a diverse clientele, and has worked with youth, adults, seniors, and those with disabilities. Because we live in a world that puts a lot of pressure on us around diet and exercise, Heather strives to support clients in carving out their own relationship to food and movement. She believes each of us should get to decide what’s best for our own body!

Heather facilitates StrengthLab on Saturdays at the Plum Street YMCA! StrengthLab is an intermediate level, small group weightlifting class focused on building muscle and strength. If you’ve ever been curious about how to incorporate barbells into your workout or want to improve your form and technique on your barbell lifts, this is the class for you! Ask for more information about training with Heather at our Welcome Center at Plum Street or Briggs on your next visit!