Aaron New, Author at South Sound YMCA - Page 5 of 8

By Lesli Baker

Fall has arrived, and with it Halloween – the time of year when we seem to be surrounded by sweet treats and candy. Even just entering the grocery store we are bombarded with sales techniques to temp our taste buds! And while there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, keeping our hands out of the candy bowl can be a real TRICK!

Here are some ideas for some healthier Halloween options without losing the fun!

Frankenstein Monster Apples

Try cutting a green apple into a wedge, cut out a section, and put some almond butter inside. Add a slice of strawberry for a tongue, sunflower seeds or raisins for the teeth, and candy googly-eyes for extra effect!

Banana Ghosts

  • 4 medium bananas
  • 3/4 bag white chocolate baking chips
  • 16 candy eyes
  • 8 raisins (for the mouth)
  • 8 bamboo skewers
  1. Cut the bananas in half and stick them on a popsicle stick or a bamboo skewer. Make sure not to stick it too far – it’ll poke through the other end of the banana!
  2. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
  3. Melt white chocolate (I like to use white chocolate baking chips) in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until melted. Dunk bananas in the melted chocolate and use a knife to spread around the chocolate on the entire banana.
  4. Before the chocolate hardens, place the candy eyes on the banana and the raisin for the mouth. Or drizzle a little chocolate on the bottom so it acts as glue for you to be able to stick it on!
  5. Plop a raisin on for a howling ghost mouth!

Instead of Candy as a Treat…

Another healthy Halloween option that I like especially for Trick-Or Treaters. Instead of bags of candy, I head to the Dollar Store and pick up Halloween-themed party favors! Pencils, erasers, plastic eyeballs, bugs, and spider rings! Always fun and never fails to prevent falling victim to a trick!



The Y is excited to welcome Kyeshia Likely as our Executive Director of Community Engagement. This new role in the organization is focused on developing innovative approaches to service delivery through deep stakeholder engagement and co-creation of programs. Additional focus will be on the creation of organizational policies and structures that remove barriers and foster equity and inclusion for all.

Kyeshia sees herself as an empowering leader with a passion for developing relationships and advocating for the needs of people most impacted by systemic structures of oppression. She began her career as an AmeriCorps volunteer where she served communities in the Greater Seattle area. During this time, she supported school retention efforts, access to basic needs, and mentorship programs.

Most recently, Kyeshia put her community-building skills to work through youth programs at a Seattle-based nonprofit, Choose180. A highlight of her time there was forming a youth-led advocacy division which supported young people around Washington State in drafting and learning about community policy reforms.

As Executive Director of Community Engagement in the South Sound YMCA, Kyeshia is determined to form stronger community bonds that will create a platform for all voices to be heard, especially young voices.

Kyeshia will join the Y team on Monday, September 26th! Please join us in welcoming her to our amazing South Sound community! Reach out to Kyeshia at likelyk@ssymca.net.



The Y is thrilled to announce the new Director of the Shelton Family YMCA – Claudia Suastegui. Through a very deliberate search and selection process with numerous outstanding candidates, Claudia rose to the top through her natural relationship-building skills, positivity, and ability to break down walls by focusing on common experiences

Claudia comes to us from the Caldwell Branch of the Treasure Valley Family YMCA in southwest Idaho, where she is currently the Youth Development Director. She loves the Y, where she says she feels a sense of belonging. Throughout her 20-year career with the Treasure Valley Y, Claudia served in a variety of roles and was instrumental in the opening of the Caldwell Branch in 2005.

A graduate of Boise State University, Claudia began her pre-Y career as a social worker with Terry Reilly Health Services, where she worked with migrant families connecting them to critical services, building community, and developing trust. An immigrant herself, Claudia became a US Citizen in 1995.

After her recent visits and meetings with volunteers and staff, Claudia sees that “this community has everything it needs to thrive – deep roots, a beautiful environment, and a willingness to help one another”. Claudia and her family look forward to calling Shelton home.

Claudia’s first official day with our YMCA is Tuesday, September 6th. Please give her a call, shoot her an email, or stop by the Y to welcome her to our community!

suasteguic@ssymca.net | 360.918.0304


What is Welcoming Week?

We believe our communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome, and we work together for the common good. Created by YMCA of the USA’s national partner Welcoming America, Welcoming Week, which takes place each year in September, celebrates the growing movement of communities that fully embrace new Americans and their contributions to the social fabric of our country. It’s a chance for neighbors—both immigrants and U.S.-born residents—to get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as a community! 

From September 9 – September 18, the South Sound YMCA will be joining Y’s all around the nation in demonstrating inclusivity and accessibility to our community through Welcoming Week.  

At our Y, it will consist of a variety of activities, events, and learnings to promote cross-cultural understanding and raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone! Most activities will be woven into the day-to-day happenings at our facilities, ending with a big event on Friday, September 16. 

You can expect special additions to all of your regularly scheduled classes, special activities throughout the week for the kids, and presentations of all types from our community resource partners on September 16th! Don’t miss this valuable community celebration!


Shelton Family YMCA

Friday 9/9

  • Bachata dance lessons – 5-6pm
  • Free Community Dance – 6-8pm

Saturday 9/10

  • Native American art gallery – 12-5pm

Monday 9/12

  • Volleyball night – 6:30-7:30pm
  • Maraca making activity – 4-7pm

Tuesday 9/13

  • Real Talk: 3-7pm
    • Share your story and experience on what it was like being a newcomer to the states. Stories can be told anonymously by submitting a written account of your experience or can be done live in-person in a safe and supportive environment
    • Anonymous submissions may be emailed to hernandezk@ssymca.net or turned in at the Shelton membership desk
  • Research History Project – Mexico’s independence
  • Facility Tours available in Mum and Spanish – 3-7pm

Wednesday 9/14

  • Spanish Family Movie Night in the gymnasium – Encanto – 5:30-7:30pm

Thursday 9/15

  • Chip and Chat: 3-7pm
    • Meet our personal trainers, swim instructors, and group exercise instructors while trying salsa from Olympia Salsa Company
  • View the history research projects put on by our talented teen leaders club – all day
  • Multicultural story time – 4-7pm

Friday 9/16

  • Resource Fair – 3-7pm

Saturday 9/17

  • Dance Fitness Extravaganza – 11am-1pm
  • Touch a Truck (at Mason County Recreation Area, 2100 E Johns Prairie Rd, Shelton, WA 98584) – 9am-12pm

Sunday 9/18

  • Sugar Skull (Calavera) Display – all day


Falls at any age are dangerous, and as you age your risk for serious injury increases. In the United States, more than one out of four older adults fall each year, and one out of five falls result in serious injury (CDC). There are many factors that increase the risk of falling in older adults. These include mobility problems, balance disorderschronic illnesses, and impaired vision. Many falls cause at least some injury. These range from mild bruising to broken boneshead injuries, and even death. In fact, falls are a leading cause of death in older adults.

Join us September 18-24, 2022, for a nationwide observance to raise awareness of falls prevention to reduce the risk of falls and help older adults live without the fear of falling.

Events during Falls Prevention Awareness Week include:

  • Guest Speakers Donna Feddarn and Alison Lord from the Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging – 9/19 at noon 
  • Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance demonstration day (open to all) – 9/20 at 10am
  • Fall risk assessment opportunity- 9/21 at 10am