Aaron New, Author at South Sound YMCA - Page 3 of 8

By Lesli Baker and Bryan Irion

Happy Healthy New Year! Have you ever heard of the “Meatless Monday” Movement? Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for their health and the health of the planet. The campaign was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, the Founder of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.  

Eating less meat and more healthy plant-based foods can help reduce the incidence of chronic preventable diseases, preserve precious land and water resources, and combat climate change. 

Meatless Monday’s simple message to “skip meat once a week” works because it provides a regular cue to take action on Monday, which research shows is the day people are most open to making positive changes. Starting each week practicing Meatless Monday can lead people to eat more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based meals throughout the rest of the week. 

Our Membership Director Bryan Irion gave Meatless Mondays a try in 2022 and has plans for the New Year to do it again! We thought we should share his experience, and perhaps you would like to join Bryan in this healthy Meatless Monday endeavor! 

From Bryan 

I had a close friend who told me in February 2022 that they participated in “Meatless Monday’s” and was raving about the results. I decided to join in and began a 12-week journey of Meatless Mondays! I am probably like you and love meat (I still do). But I wanted to do something meaningful and open myself up to something that has many benefits. My goal is start “Meatless Monday’s” again in January 2023. Join me!

What is Meatless Monday?

Meatless Monday is a very basic concept that can not only help your own health benefits but also the health of our planet! The concept is simple – no eating meat on Mondays!

Why Mondays?

For me – Monday is an opportunity for a fresh start to a new week. During my 12-week Meatless Mondays I felt energized and prepared knowing that I was accomplishing something! It kickstarted my week. To me, having a productive Monday = a great chance to have a productive week! By week 3 I enjoyed and embraced my Sunday night routine of preparing for my meatless Mondays!

Why Meatless?

Meatless Monday can make a big difference for your health and the health of our planet. Replacing meat with plant-based choices each Monday can offer many health benefits and help you act against climate change by reducing your carbon footprint and conserving precious environmental resources.

My favorites Monday eats:

Breakfast –

  • Oatmeal with Mixed Nuts, Berries, & Brown Sugar
  • Scrambled eggs with fried diced white sweet potatoes, spinach, and feta cheese

Lunch –

  • Mixed greens salad with radishes, hard boiled eggs, crunchy onions, spicy ranch
  • Tuna Sandwich with pickles and siracha on flatbread

Dinner –

  • Black Bean Burger with Roasted Veggies
  • Riced Cauliflower bowl with veggies & avocado
  • Quinoa & Brown Rice Tacos
  • Cauliflower patty (delicious – found at safeway) with waffled sweet potato fries

Top Benefits for me:

  • Weight Loss – 8 pounds in 12 weeks!
  • Energy Levels were way up! Improved workout routine.
  • Saved Money! Meat is expensive!
  • Gave me overall confidence to step out of my comfort zone and try something new

Looking for exciting activities to get your kid moving and playing this winter? Check out the new selection of programs at your local YMCA! Classes will change each month so your child can explore, create, and thrive in new ways.

All classes:

  • $10/month per class for facility members
  • $40/month per class for non-facility members.
  • Parents/guardians MUST be present in the facility during these programs


Find registration info on our Youth Experiences here




  • Preschool Sports – Thursdays 10-11am – ages 3-5
    • Learn the fundamentals of a new sport each month.
  • Tumblebugs (Gymnastics) – Thursdays 4:30-5:30pm – ages 5-9
    • Put those gymnast skills to the test! Learn some exciting skills on your path to being an Olympic champion (or just for fun)!
  • Creativity Club – Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm – ages 5-9
    • So many arts to try, and this is the place to try them! Join us each month as we create with a new medium.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – Wednesdays 5-6pm – ages 5-12
    • Get cooking and learn new skills to improve your food!
  • Pickleball – Saturdays 10-11am – ages 5-9
    • Participate one of the fastest-growing sports in the world! Learn the fundamentals and put them into practice.
  • Rock Climbing – Saturdays 11am-12pm – ages 5-9
    • Whether your kid wants to climb the couch or El Cap, here they can learn the fundamentals of climbing on our exciting rock wall.
  • Tabletop games – Fridays 4-6pm – ages 10-13
    • This month, we’re playing Dungeons & Dragons! Create a character and roam the world on your next journey to becoming a hero!
  • Pickleball – Friday 5-6pm – ages 10-13
    • Participate one of the fastest-growing sports in the world! Learn the fundamentals and put them into practice.
  • Rock Climbing – Fridays 6-7pm – ages 10-13
    • Whether your kid wants to climb the couch or El Cap, here they can learn the fundamentals of climbing on our exciting rock wall.


  • Tumbling – Wednesdays 6:30-7:15pm – ages 4 – 9
    • Put those gymnast skills to the test! Learn some exciting skills on your path to being an Olympic champion (or just for fun)!
  • Basketball skills – Thursdays 6:30-7:15pm – ages 5 – 9
    • Practice new skills and techniques to improve your basketball skills.
  • TikTok Fun – Fridays 3-3:45pm – ages 10 – 14
    • Get moving and playing with the latest trends on TikTok.
  • Kids Night Out – January 27 6:30-9pm – ages 5 – 11
    • Parents can enjoy a night out while kids enjoy the pool, games, snacks, and more at this monthly hangout!

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 “matunda 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

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

The Shelton Family YMCA is excited to announce extended operating hours and new programming in the community!

Beginning October 31, the Shelton Y will extend facility and Kid Zone to provide more opportunities for families to enjoy the Y! And thanks to our community partners, LAP SWIM IS NOW AVAILABLE with your Y membership!

Be sure to join us for SUNDAY FUNDAY at the Y! Everyone is welcome to join us for exciting activities and classes each week, including new fitness classes, resistance training, salsa dancing, and more.

Check out some of our new offerings below and keep an eye on the schedule to stay up to date on new classes and activities for the whole family!


NEW Facility Hours

  • Monday – Friday – 5am – 9pm
  • Saturday – 8am – 5pm
  • Sunday – 10am – 5pm



Lap Swimming

  • Monday – Thursday – 5:30pm – 8pm

Competitive Youth Swim Team
Open to students 8-18. Must be able to demonstrate the basics of the four competitive strokes. Learn more at the link here.

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 5:30pm – 7:15pm


NEW Kids Zone! Hours

  • Monday – Thursday – 8am – 12:15pm and 4pm – 8pm
  • Friday -Saturday – 8am – 12:15pm
  • Sunday – 10am – 2pm


NEW Programs and Activities

Women & Weights

Strong as a Mother

Island Vibes Ride

Join the Resistance

Salsa Dancing

Brain on Games

Considering going plant-based for the Thanksgiving holiday? Here is a great replacement for the traditional turkey! It is a favorite holiday dish of mine, and even if you DO have the turkey on the table, this is also a delicious addition. Mushroom Wellington with Pecans is savory, saucy, and filling, with the delicious touch of the light, fluffy pastry layer, you will want to make it part of your family’s tradition!

*Make sure to thaw your puff pastry before you start (overnight in the fridge is easiest!) Recipe makes 2 rolls.


  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed in the fridge overnight (use cold – not at room temp)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
  • 2 pounds mushrooms, sliced with stems (except Shiitake stems)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4–6 large garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or sage or thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine, or another red or white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans (or sub hazelnuts or walnuts)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons truffle oil (optional)
  • “Egg” wash – use nut milk, cream, or melted coconut oil to brush on the pastry. If not worried about it being vegan, whisk an egg with a tablespoon of water
  • Cheese to taste, like pecorino, gruyere, goat cheese, cream cheese, or a vegan cheese (optional)


  1. Make sure your puff pastry is thawed before you start – cold but thawed (note if it is too warm, it may fall apart; if too cold, it will be too stiff to roll).
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. MAKE THE FILLING: Heat oil in an extra-large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt and sauté, stirring often, until mushrooms release all their liquid. Turn heat down to medium, and continue sauteing until all the liquid has evaporated. Be patient, this will take a little time! Once the mushrooms are relatively dry in the pan, splash with the sherry wine and balsamic vinegar, and again, sauté on medium heat until all the liquid has cooked off. This is important- you absolutely do not want a watery filling (it will turn into a mess!). Add the toasted chopped pecans, pepper, truffle oil. Taste, adjust salt to your liking. At this point, you could fold in some cheese if you like.
  4. Let the filling cool for 15-20 minutes (you could make the filling a day ahead and refrigerate).
  5. Fill 2 Puff Pastries: Carefully unroll the puff pastry onto a parchment lined baking sheet (if it seems stiff, let it thaw a few more minutes until pliable).  Place half the filling in a mound along the center (see photo) and working quickly, roll the pastry up, and over, seam side down. Fill and roll the second sheet.
  6. Brush with the egg or eggless wash.
  7. Score the pastry using a sharp knife with your choice of design – crosshatch, herringbone, leafy vine, or just simple diagonal slits.
  8. Bake: Place the sheet pan on the middle rack in the oven for 35 minutes, checking at 20 mins, and rotating pan for even browning if necessary. Let the pastry bake until it is a deep golden color – to ensure it’s done and flaky all the way through. You may need to add 5 more minutes depending on your oven. Convection will help if you have this setting (use it for the last 5-10 minutes) Please, let’s not have any pale pastries!!! Nice and golden!
  9. Cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. It’s OK to serve at room temp, but warm is best.