Aaron New, Author at South Sound YMCA - Page 2 of 9

In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth, the Y is honored to commemorate and celebrate female figures within the history of the YMCA movement who were vital to the success and empowerment of all current and future women leaders in the Y. Here, we’re sharing a few of those stories.


  • As part of the YMCA’s massive World War, I support effort, Addie Hunton was one of only three African American women assigned to serve over 200,000 segregated Black troops stationed in France. Hunton was also YWCA secretary for Black student work and vice president of the NAACP.


  • Ellen Brown was the first female YMCA employee in 1886 when she was hired to serve as the “boys work secretary.” Brown taught a night class at the Y that grew so rapidly, it eventually became a whole department!


  • Wilhelmina “Willie” Aveling began her YMCA career as a physical director in Atlantic City. In 1933, she joined the staff of the Chicago Metropolitan YMCA to find ways to improve programs for women and girls. For the next 28 years, she helped develop policies and recruit women leaders within the YMCA movement. She was the first woman to be inducted into the YMCA National Hall of Fame.


  • After holding various executive leadership roles in the Newark and Chicago YMCAs, in 1976, Violet P. Henry became the first woman to be named to a top management position at the Y’s national office. She provided leadership for numerous national and international commissions and committees that worked for the rights of women and people of color.


  • One of the founding members of the San Jose YMCA, Xinia Brenes Jenkins was deeply involved in the Costa Rican Catholic youth movement. The Latin American Confederation of YMCAs reached out to Jenkins for her assistance in instituting a national Costa Rican YMCA. Jenkins’s work for the Costa Rican YMCA focused on providing programs for refugees, relief for those affected by housing shortages, and offering vocational skills training for women and agricultural skills training for Costa Rican natives.


  • Fighting to improve the status of women in the YMCA, Winifred Colton began her extensive YMCA career as women’s and girls’ work secretary at the YMCA of Metro Chicago. In 1957, the YMCA’s National Council’s statement of purpose no longer applied to “males only,” and Colton became the first woman professional on the national staff.


  • Marguerite Cockett graduated from Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1905. In 1916 she bought a car and brought it to France where she worked as an ambulance driver under the American Fund for French Wounded. She spent three months in Serbia establishing a French-Serbian hospital and served on a hospital ship in the Mediterranean. In 1917 she established the first canteen under the YMCA American Expeditionary Forces.


  • In 2021, Suzanne McCormick became the first woman to serve as CEO of the YMCA of the USA.

We are very excited to help guide you through YMCA360. One of the best features of the platform is that you can connect to it through your computer, on an app on your phone, and even stream it to TV through Roku and other streaming devices!

But here, we’d like to share with you how to use YMCA360 in our Y, called:


  1. First, locate the iPad on the wall in the Multi-Purpose Room with the television. The iPad will be mounted conveniently on the wall.
  2. Find a workout by selecting a category or using the search function to type in a style of workout (i.e. yoga, HIIT (high intensity interval training), cycle). Scroll down and to the right for more video options within each category.
  3. Tap the video to read more information about the class.
  4. Tap the play button in the center of the video preview. The video will display and automatically begin on the studio’s television. Be patient, it takes a breath or two to pop up on the screen.
  5. To stop a video during the streaming, tap “Stop Playback” on the iPad.
  6. Volume should be pre-adjusted. Please ask for Help from a staff member if there are any issues with the screen or with the volume.


  • KIDS AND FAMILY For families and kids, videos include youth sports, Fun Fit, martial arts, visual arts, culinary arts, nutrition and more
  • MIND & BODY Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Meditation, Mind Matters
  • FITNESS FIRST All active videos that include cardio, strength, dance & step, cycle, HIIT, core, weightlifting, mobility, Parkinson’s and Cancer support, Healthy Eating and more
  • BOOMERS & BEYOND Videos for the Active Older Adults including cardio, circuit, strength, bootcamp and stretch
  • AROUND THE Y Videos uploaded from Y’s across the country from many genres
  • LIVE STREAMING Classes streaming in real-time from Y instructors across the country

By Lesli Baker

MARCH is Women’s History Month!

The nation’s first Women’s Day celebration was in New York City in 1909. By the early 1980s, cities and states across the county were marking the occasion and Congress passed a resolution designating March as Women’s History Month in 1987. Since 1995, every president has issued a proclamation declaring March Women’s History Month usually with a statement about its importance.

Here are some important facts to consider during Women’s History Month.

The 2023 Women’s History Month theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. This year, the National Women’s History Alliance “will encourage the recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.”

Wyoming Territory was the first place to grant women the right to vote.

The Wyoming Territorial legislature gave every woman the right to vote in 1869. They elected the country’s first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, in 1924.

The 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was signed into law on August 26, 1920. But at the time, a number of other laws prohibited Native American women, Black women, Asian American women, and Latinx women from voting, among others. It wasn’t until 1924 that Native women born in the United States were granted citizenship, allowing them to vote.

Women couldn’t get credit cards on their own until 1974.

Until Congress passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, women couldn’t get credit cards in their own name. Often, they had to bring a man along to cosign for them, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Legal work done by late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laid the foundation for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as well as many other basic rights women have today, including the ability to attend state-funded schools, protection from pregnancy discrimination at work, and the ability to serve on juries.

The gender pay gap persists.

Despite the ever-growing number of women getting degrees, the gender pay gap has narrowed by less than half a cent per year since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963. In 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of both full- and part-time workers. The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent analysis of only full-time workers (2019) found that women earned 82% of what their male counterparts earned. And, while women are paid 82 cents for every dollar that a man makes, that gap widens even more for women of color, according to 2020 data by the National Women’s Law Center.

Kamala Harris is the first woman and woman of color to serve as Vice President.

After winning the 2020 presidential election with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris is making history as the first woman, first Black woman, and first Asian American vice president in U.S. history.

Join us to experience new youth programs every month!

Monthly registration is required. All programs are $10/month/class for members, and $40/month/class for non-members.




  • We will be working all different kinds of mediums, namely clay to start, but will have alternative activities for folks to engage with. We will be focusing on creating Earth-themed art, that will be displayed during the Olympia Arts Walk at our Plum Street location!
  • Tuesdays from 4pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9
  • Tuesdays from 5pm @ Briggs | Ages 10-13
  • Wednesday from 11am @ Briggs | Ages 3-5


  • Join us for intro to ballet to dip your toes into this beautiful and elegant form of dance. If your little one has been wanting to try it but hasn’t had a place to go, this is your opportunity!
  • Monday at 3:45pm @ Briggs | Ages 3-5; 5-9


  • Learn the basics and sharpen your skills of the game founded at the Y!
  • Thursdays at 5:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-9


  • Challenge and hone your skills with drills, with games at the end of every class.
  • Tuesdays at 5:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-9


  • Commit Dance Fitness is a dynamic fun-filled HIT (High Intensity interval training) dance workout. For all fitness levels and abilities! This class encourages self-confidence and creativity by allowing kids to be free to express themselves. 
  • Tuesdays at 4:15pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-9


  • Enjoy fun and diverse activities while letting your creative imagination go wild! This month, we’ll be making Earth-themed puppets!
  • Wednesdays at 4pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9


  • In this program, we will be learning how to upcycle different bottles, egg cartons, and other things that will be able to be used in our community garden! For the littles, we will be doing rock painting and other ways to engage our young ones in the garden creation!
  • Mondays at 11pm @ Briggs | Ages 3-5
  • Mondays at 4:30pm @ Briggs | Ages 10-13


  • This is an intro to hip hop dance, where kids will learn to move and feel comfortable in their bodies!
  • Saturdays at 10:15am @ Briggs | Ages 10-13
  • Saturdays at 11:15am @ Briggs | Ages 5-9


  • Learn the fundamentals of sports and active games, all while having fun and making friends!
  • Tuesdays at 1:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-13
  • Thursdays at 1:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-13


  • A wonderful way to expand your imagination and creativity! You’ll learn the basics of improv while being silly, having fun, and building new relationships!
  • Thursdays at 4pm @ Plum Street | Ages 10-13


  • We are offering a sensory specific PE time for our kids with autism and other sensitivities to be able to come in and play! This is catered to our homeschool community but we invite all who are available to come join and build new relationships!
  • Fridays at 11am @ Briggs | Ages 5-9


  • Amigurumi is a Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures.
  • Thursdays at 5:15pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-13


  • Each week we will have different focuses where we will play theater games, move our bodies, learn about stage directions and other important vocabulary, and practice getting into character. We will learn the very basics of what goes into make a production, and what it is like being on stage (and off!).
  • Mondays at 4pm @ Plum St | Ages 10-13


  • Learn cooking skills, explore new foods, and get empowered to make healthy choices while cooking a meal!
  • Wednesdays at 5:15pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9; 10-13


  • Experience all the various kinds of music – Bringing in lots of different instruments.
  • Mondays at 5:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 10-14


  • Beginning painting is good for the soul. Come have some fun, make new friends, and learn the basics of Bob Ross-style painting.
  • Mondays at 4:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-10


  • A social sport that combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton—Pickleball is FUN! Grab your paddles and hit the pickleball court!
  • Saturdays at 10am @ Briggs | Ages 5-9
  • Saturdays at 11am @ Briggs | Ages 5-9


  • Tie up your shoelaces and run on over to have some fun playing basketball or soccer-style sports! Energize your brain while developing your motor skills and learning about teamwork.
  • Thursdays at 11am @ Briggs | Ages 3-5


  • How high can you climb? Our youth climbing class is for the young climbers eager to advance their skills and knowledge of rock climbing. This class covers the basic skills and ideas of both indoor and outdoor climbing. Have fun while you increase strength, endurance, and confidence!
  • Saturdays at 11am @ Briggs | Ages 5-9
  • Fridays at 5pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9
  • Fridays at 6pm @ Briggs | Ages 10-13


  • We will focus on age appropriate and fun science-based activities to help kids expand their curiosity and even help with upcoming school projects.
  • Fridays at 5pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9
  • Fridays at 6pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9


  • In this program, we will be getting our hands dirty and starting to learn about seed starts and planning for summer gardens! We’ll plant our own gardens as well!
  • Saturdays at 12pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9


  • Come and embark on epic adventures and explore fantasy worlds with our engaging and interactive Table-Top gaming group! The story you will encounter is only limited to your imagination!
  • Fridays at 4pm @ Briggs | Ages 10-13


  • Aspiring to be strong and athletic? Our camp can help improve cardiovascular fitness, body composition, bone density, and self-confidence. Class will be introducing safe weightlifting, focusing on squats, dead lifts, and bench presses.
  • Saturdays at 1:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 10-14


  • Children will have FUN while focusing on age-appropriate activities to enhance motor skills, game play and get creative while playing with other kids in an open gym environment.
  • Registration and fee not required for Toddler Gym.
  • Tuesdays at 11am @ Briggs | Ages 1-4


  • Tumble on in for high energy fun that teaches basic gymnastic skills in a positive, fun, yet challenging atmosphere!
  • Tuesday at 5pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-9 (Intermediate)
  • Tuesday at 6pm @ Shelton | Ages 5-9 (Intermediate)
  • Tuesdays at 5pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9 (Intermediate)
  • Wednesday at 6:30pm @ Shelton | Ages 3-5 (Little Tumblers)
  • Thursdays at 3:45pm @ Briggs | Ages 3-5 (Little Tumblers)
  • Thursdays at 4:45pm@ Briggs | Ages 5-9 (Beginner)
  • Fridays at 3:45pm @ Briggs | Ages 3-5 (Little Tumblers)
  • Fridays at 5:45pm @ Briggs | Ages 5-9 (Beginner)


The history of the YMCA – like the history of the United States – is a story of incremental progress toward greater inclusion and equity for all. As we celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth, we are honoring the stories of Black leaders who helped move the Y – and America – forward.

Anthony Bowen

A former enslaved person and the first Black American to become a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, Anthony Bowen founded the first YMCA for the Black community in Washington, D.C., in 1853, eight years before the Civil War. Additional Black Ys and college chapters were established in the following decades, with membership reaching 28,000 nationwide by the mid-1920s.

William Hunton

The son a freed enslaved person from Canada, William Hunton began his Y work in 1888 as the first employed YMCA secretary at a “Colored YMCA” in Norfolk, VA. Hunton worked among the soldiers in the Army camps during the Spanish-American War and in developing Student YMCAs on Black campuses throughout the South. He helped communities meet Julius Rosenwald’s challenge grant to build YMCAs for Black communities, and then helped recruit and train the staff and volunteers to lead those associations.

Carter Woodson

In 1915, at the Wabash Avenue YMCA in Chicago, Carter Woodson organized the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which researched and celebrated the achievements of Black Americans. This led to his starting Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month.

Madam C.J. Walker

An entrepreneur, philanthropist and social activist, Madam C.J. Walker was one of the first self-made female American millionaires. She escaped poverty and built a company selling hair care products, which also gave her sales agents an income of their own. Walker was a philanthropic supporter of the YMCA and participated in and financially supported the NAACP’s anti-lynching movement.

Jackie Robinson

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first Black major league baseball player. This same year he also became a volunteer boys coach at the Harlem YMCA with fellow coach and teammate Roy Campanella.

Leo B. Marsh

In 1954, Dr. Leo B. Marsh became the first Black president of the Association of YMCA Secretaries. In 1971, Marsh brought the Black Achievers program (created by Quentin R. Mease at the South Central YMCA of Houston) to the Harlem YMCA. With the help of volunteer adult mentors, the Achievers program helps youth of color succeed in school and develop a positive sense of self.

Jesse Alexander

After starting his YMCA career an outreach worker with youth, in 1969, Jesse Alexander joined the National Council of YMCAs as where he helped organize the National Conference of Black and Non-White Laymen and Staff, which dealt with supporting efforts to overcome racism in the YMCA and ensuring that YMCA organizations existed where communities of color wanted them.

Violet P. Henry

After holding various executive leadership roles in the Newark and Chicago YMCAs, in 1976, Violet P. Henry became the first woman to be named to a top management position at the Y’s national office. She provided leadership for numerous national and international commissions and committees that worked for the rights of women and people of color.

Kevin Washington

In 2015, Kevin Washington became the first African American – and the first person of color – to serve as CEO of the YMCA of the USA. Besides reimagining a new service delivery system across the Y movement, Washington was a leading national voice for relief from federal government for nonprofits devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He spearheaded the highly successful #Relief4Charities effort, put Y-USA on a path to become an anti-racist, multicultural organization and engaged young people as changemakers in their communities.

Visit the YMCA Archives to learn more about the history of Black leadership in the YMCA.