Shelton Community Center expands children’s offerings

New programs for children and adults will be offered this fall by the city Parks and Recreation Department at the Shelton Community Center (SCC).

Program director Shauna Laucella Dumas said 32 children’s classes will be available in a wide variety of areas.

A hub of fitness, athletic, creative and literary activities for 22 years, the SCC continues to expand its offerings to meet the city’s demographic needs.

The center is located in the former Huntington School building. In 1991 the building was renovated, expanded and transformed into a community center.

The recreation facility features an eight-lane pool, full basketball court, outdoor baseball field, two weight rooms, several all-purpose meeting rooms where classes for adults and children are held, and a banquet hall with kitchen facilities.

“It had been vacant for several years and the town didn’t know what to do with it,” said Parks and Recreation Director Ron Herrick.

A native of Shelton, Herrick has been the center’s head for 10 years. When it opened, he was hired as its assistant director.

“This is probably the second busiest building in town, right behind the high school,” Herrick said.

He said about 6,000 people visit the SCC each week.

A pool to a gym

Parks & Rec athletic programs, such as baseball, flag football, lacrosse, soccer and basketball leagues, are operated through the SCC.

The pool, which is used for children and adult swim lessons and recreational swim, was closed for “a large renovation” during August. It’s scheduled to re-open in early September, according to Herrick.

Herrick said he’s hoping to replace the 22-year-old flooring in the large gymnasium, where basketball programs are held.

“We use this space for youth and adult leagues,” he explained. “We also have exercise and body sculpt classes.”

Although Parks & Rec programs receive first priority, the gym also is available for nonprofit organizations’ activities and fund-raisers.

On the lower level of the SCC, there is a dance studio equipped with mirrors and ballet barres. This room is used for dance and Tae Kwon Do classes, Herrick said.

The Huntington Branch Library is in the SCC building, too. The branch is set up as a “popular collections” library, meaning there is not a reference section and only limited non-fiction materials available.

The library does offer programs for all ages, as shown in this link.

There are also databases and ebooks for Kindles and Nooks and more.

It’s a good place to find best-sellers, however, said a library volunteer.

The U.S. post office and the city’s building maintenance office also are housed at the SCC.

For children

When Dumas joined Herrick at Parks & Rec earlier this year, her goal was to use the skills and talents of local business people and residents to increase programming for all ages.

“As a mom, I felt we didn’t have a lot of offerings for young children,” Dumas said. “For adults, we had a lot of fitness classes but not too much more.”

In a recently printed brochure, there are 44 adult classes listed, including 15 new programs, such as the Basics of a Beautiful Face. Taught by Marisa Dreyer, a professional makeup artist and “Glam Fairy” on the Style network’s television show The Glam Factory, the eight-week course will teach the basics of wearing and purchasing makeup.

Bokwa, the latest group exercise trend for cardiovascular workouts, will be offered at the SCC. Hip hop, jewelry making, Tai Chi and guitar lessons are also available.

Children can sign up for a cooking class led by Kristen Braccia Hufnagel, a chef and nutritional manager for the Bridgeport Public Schools, and a performance dance class taught by Julie Arcos, an instructor at Kicks Dance Studio. Terry Hernon, a former copywriter at Marvel Comics, will run the Amazing Writers’ Club.

“I was very selective about who I chose to teach each workshop,” Dumas said.

Signing up

The Parks & Rec’s brochure is online at

Registration must be completed in person and only cash or checks will be accepted. The programs are open to non-residents.

Dumas encourages people to register early. She said this summer’s newly expanded camp programs filled up quickly.

“The turnout was phenomenal,” Dumas said.

As a way to bring families in the community together, Dumas initiated the first family bus trip. A visit to the Bronx Zoo on Saturday, Oct. 5, will cost $69 per adult (ages 12 and up) and $64 per child (ages 3 to 11), including transportation and many zoo activities.

Dumas said she would like to offer a different family trip each season.