Category Archives: Events

News about all Shelton Jaycees Events.

Vote for the Best Pizza in Shelton!

Under 41 & Over 21?

On Saturday Oct. 23rd the Shelton Jaycees are running a Best Pizza in Shelton Open House where attendees can learn more about the Shelton Jaycees and help choose The Best Pizza in Shelton.

Judging will be in 5 categories: Best Pepperoni, Best Sausage, Best Veggie, Best Cheese & Best Overall. RSVP required. Space is limited to the first 64 prospective members. Call event chairman, Jim Nissen, at 203-521-2498 in advance to reserve your ballot.

Event takes place at 6 PM at Pine Rock Firehouse 722 Long Hill Avenue in Shelton.  All ages are welcome however membership is available only to people between 21 and 40.

The Shelton Jaycees offer opportunities to meet people and volunteer.

Chapter President Kate Jager states “Members volunteer as much as they’d like and only at activities that interest them.”  It’s hands-on leadership training through community action beyond what’s available through employers and other civic organizations.

The Shelton Jaycees are a local non-profit service organization making a difference in Shelton and surrounding communities since 1954. They are most known for their annual Arts and Crafts Fair that has been run for 46 years at the Huntington Green in early June.  They are also well known for their Annual Car Shows.

Contact project chairperson, Jim Nissen @ 203-521-2498 and check out the event calendar listing.


Sunday March 29th: The Shelton Jaycees, a local non-profit community group, held their Annual Best Pizza in Shelton Open-house.  The event was held at Pinerock Firehouse in Shelton.  Over thirty people helped choose the Best Sausage, Best Pepperoni, Best Veggie, Best Cheese and Best Overall Pizzas.

Ten local Pizza establishments each donated and delivered a pie for each category.  They were delivered in identical generic pizza boxes to hide the identity of the restaurant.  Participants tasted small pieces of each pie and voted for the letter code assigned by a non-judge.

The voting was very close in each of the categories.

  • The Best Sausage Pizza winner was Carmine’s Ristorante Italiano – (203) 922-1233 located at 376 River Rd.
  • The Best Sausage runner up was Villa Pizza and Restaurant – (203) 929-1155 located at 888 Bridgeport Ave.
  • The Best Pepperoni Pizza winner was Vincent’s Italian Restaurant – (203) 929-9104 located at 526 Shelton Ave.
  • The Best Pepperoni runner up was Villa Pizza and Restaurant – (203) 929-1155 located at 888 Bridgeport Ave.
  • The Best Veggie Pizza winner was Giove’s Pizza – 225-6000 located at 494 Bridgeport Ave.
  • The Best Veggie runner up was Porky’s Cafe – (203) 924-4869 located at 50 Center Street
  • The Best Cheese Pizza winner was Antonio’s Pizza – (203) 924-0329 located at 151 Center Street.
  • The Best Cheese runner up was Basil’s Pizza – (203) 926-6848 located at 725 Bridgeport Ave.

The Best Overall Pizza winner was Villa Pizza and Restaurant. They finished a close second in the pepperoni and sausage categories and scored high in the cheese and veggie category to give them the most votes for Best Overall Pizza in Shelton!

For special recognition the project committee members chose:
V Ristorante for Best Toppings (203) 944-7337 located at 706 Bridgeport Ave.
Artan’s Pizza for Best Crust (203) 924-7514 located at 19 Kneen Street.
And Bella Vista Family Restaurant for Best Sauce (203) 924-5935 located at 94 River Rd.

The purpose of the event was to increase the Jaycees visibility in the community and attract new members.  5 prospective members attended and 2 joined that night!  Project Chairperson Sharon Herman said “I’ve attended two of these Jaycees Best Pizza nights before I signed up and joined the Shelton chapter.  This year I ran the event!  There are so many quality pizzas to choose from right here in town.  Shelton, not New Haven should be considered the Pizza Capitol of Connecticut!”

The Jaycees offer opportunities for people 21-40 to meet people and volunteer.  Their purpose is to provide hands on leadership experience and training, over and above what’s available through employers and other organizations.  They run dozens of community events each year and members volunteer as much or as little as they like based on their interest in the event.  Because the membership’s interests are so varied, this creates a huge variety of events.

Their best known project is their Annual Arts & Crafts Fair, always the first Sunday in June, on the Huntington Green.  They also run a very large Car Show & Bazaar at Riverwalk Park at the end of August.  They run fundraising events and support charities like the BGHS Umbrella program for Victims of Domestic Violence.  Members share personal and professional skills at events like an Online Networking Seminar, and a Professional Poker Seminar.  On April 26th they will be running an Earth Day Clean Up along the Farm Mill River on Beard Sawmill Road. Also coming up in April are two American Cancer Society Relay Team donation events. On April 19th there will be a donation drive at Walmart. On April 25th there will be a donation drive at Hula Hanks in New Haven. For details see the calendar section at the Shelton Jaycees home page.

In case you missed it … 2009

This section of our website includes news and details of past events this year. Of course if you really want stay up to speed with all the inside stuff, you need to come to the monthly membership meetings!

If it’s the second Tuesday, well… Membership Meetings are always the second Tuesday of each month, 8PM at the Pinerock Firehouse 722 Longhill Ave. So far in 2009, we’ve had 5 new members join. Welcome new members: Kristian, Sharon, Sarah, Adriana, and Jim L. Monthly meetings are a great way to touch base with new friends and old. Upcoming project reports run about 20 to 30 minutes. Shooting the bull runs about another 15 to 20 minutes after that. Later we usually head out to a nearby pub or restaurant. Guests and prospective members are always welcome!

January 30th & 31st eleven of us attended the CT Jaycees 2008 Year End Convention and Awards Banquet. Melissa, Adriana and Jim Lee were first timers!? Our chapter had a lot to celebrate. Last year we increased our membership nearly 30% and we were the second highest growth chapter in the state. Our chapter was recognized for excellence for hosting the 3rd quarter Region 1 Meeting and we finished the year ranked #5 in the CT Jaycees Parade of Chapters. Nikole Lindley won State Director of the Quarter, Jim Nissen won an Outstanding Local VP award and Kate Jager won the Year-End Outstanding Local President’s award!

January 27th we ran our first of the year, 4th Tuesday Social. A group of 6 members went to Ruby Tuesdays for dinner and drinks. Food was hot and the drinks were cold.? Good times all around. The next 4th Tuesday social planned for February is a movie night.

January 14th through the 20th we held a series of New Member Orientation / M-Nights where new members and prospective members were invited to pick a night and join us for dinner. We held the events at Huntington Street Cafe and Panera Bread. Along with the new members from last year, 5 prospective members joined the club. Welcome Kristian, Sharon, Sarah, Adriana & Jim L.!

January 13th we held our first membership meeting of the year. Our new officers were sworn in. Kate Jager as Chairman of the Board & Executive VP, Jim Nissen as President, Melissa Abenante as Community VP, Michael Sheehan as Treasurer, Nikole Lindley as Director and Wendy Holden as Trustee.

We had a hot start on a cold day when on January 4th we held a brainstorming & planning session at Panera Bread. Members chose a bunch of new projects for the 2009 beginning of the year membership survey.

In case you missed it … 2008

This section of our website includes news and details of past events this year. Of course if you really want stay up to speed with all the inside stuff, you need to come to the monthly membership meetings!

If it’s the second Tuesday, well… Membership Meetings are always the second Tuesday of each month, 8PM at the Pinerock Firehouse 722 Longhill Ave. So far this year we’ve had 7 new members join our ranks. Welcome new members: Mason, Tara, Melissa, Scott, Gary, Erin, and Kevin. Monthly meetings are a great way to touch base with new friends and old. Upcoming project reports run about 20 to 30 minutes. Shooting the bull runs about another 15 to 20 minutes after that. Later we usually head out to a nearby pub or restaurant. Guests and prospective members are always welcome!

The weekend of December 13th and 14th our club went on a Holiday Shopping Spree for a local family in need.? The family was selected for us by the Birmingham Health Services foundation, a young mother with a girl age 12 and a boy age 10.? The mom’s wish list was simple, food.? The young girl wanted books, clothes and a winter coat. The young boy wanted a remote control car, clothes and a winter coat. We were able to get everything on their lists and then some.? We purchased two outfits for each child complete with matching shoes and winter coats. We purchased 4 new books for the girl and a 69 Mustang remote control car for the boy. For the mom we purchased a $70 gift card for Stop & Shop. All totaled we spent several hundred dollars, a little more than we had planned but it was well worth it! We held an international? wrapping party at the Chamber Offices Sunday night with members bringing cookies, eggnog, coffee, and all sorts of food to fuel our wrapping efforts.? Special thanks to everyone involved: Melissa, Kate, Michael, Nikole, Jim N., Jim W., and Adrianna – Jim W’s girl friend and a member of the Jaycees in Germany!

Thanksgiving Day, November 27th, Wendy Holden organized a group of current and past Shelton chapter members to volunteer at the Stratford Senior Center Thanksgiving Dinner. For years the event was a Stratford Jaycees project. Currently Stratford no longer has an official chapter but many of the former members keep the tradition of providing a thanksgiving dinner for seniors alive. Even though the event is no longer sponsored by the Jaycees, our organization still provides volunteers to make it a success!

The CT Jaycees Quarterly Convention took place Fri. & Sat. Nov. 14th & 15th at the recently remodeled Comfort Inn in Meriden. The event was a blast! Friday night was public speaking competition and best martini contest. Saturday morning was more networking and training with our incoming National VP.? Saturday afternoon at the State Board meeting we were recognized as the #5 chapter in the state parade of chapters program. Saturday night was the ambassador & senator banquet and party. The banquet was only $25 a person this year with a buffet dinner including carving stations and an open bar. It was a hell of a party at an amazing price!

Friday October 31st was the Kid Safe Halloween project at Pinerock Park Firehouse.? We helped run the Kiddie Carnival Games in the large meeting room.? We all enjoyed some Pizza and beer after the event.

The 3rd quarter Region 1 Meeting was Thurs. Oct 23rd. Hosted by us at the Pinerock Firehouse.? State and Regional events are great for networking with members from other chapters.? Members from Shelton Danbury Cheshire and Southington attended.

Nikole chaired a fantastic Bring In your favorite Take Out Night on Mon. Oct 20th? at the Greater Valley Chamber Office. This was a last minute project put together because of a miscommunication between our chapter and the State organization.? We had been asked to provide a location and host the Region 1 meeting, but we were given the date of the Region 2 meeting. By the time we got our signals straight we had already booked the room at the Chamber building. Five members formed a project committee and found a way to use the room.? Each brought in food from their favorite take out place to share and Nikole brought some board games.

Michael Sheehan chaired our Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team on Sun. Oct. 19th.? The event took place at Sherwood Island State Park, Westport.? The chapter provided breakfast before the walk and we flew kites on the beach afterward.? The whole walk is about 3.5 miles along the beach and around the west side of the island.? Our team has a tradition of cutting out after the first lap and flying kites on the beach.? Our team raised nearly $300 for the American Cancer Society at this event.? There are a couple of extra Team shirts available for a $10 donation.? Just ask a chapter officer at the next meeting and we’ll hook you up.

Sunday Oct. 12th Wendy Holden ran an Intro to Astronomy seminar at East Village Park Soccer Field, Shelton.? 8 people attended and were shown Jupiter and its moons, the Dumbbell Nebula, the Ring Nebula, Iota Cassiopeiae, The Andromeda Galaxy, and our own moon at Stupid Magnification. You could almost see Neil Armstrong’s footprints!

Our Food Drive on Sat. Oct. 4th to benefit ACT/ Spooner House in Shelton was another big hit. The event took place at Shaw’s Supermarket on Bridgeport Ave. Loads of thanks go to Michael, John, Gary, Eric, Val & Wendy who collected all the donations. Seven carts full of groceries were collected for our local homeless shelter.

Melissa Abenante ran a Benefit Concert for Mia (a local child recently diagnosed with cancer) Sat. Sept. 20th at Downtown Danny O’s in Shelton. The concert went off without a hitch. Her band, The Bittersweet Vine, played along with several other bands to a packed house.? The total amount raised was over $1600!!

Our 20th Annual Car Show & Bazaar, held on August 24th, was one of our most successful ever!? We had nearly 250 Show Cars and 35 plus Vendors.? The event was so packed with people we sold out of hot dogs and hamburgers at our Food Booth!? Because of the high cost in running this community fundraiser, we still didn’t make as much as we do on our Arts & Crafts Fair or our Flower Sale, but we did make a healthy profit this year.? $896 was raised for our continued efforts serving the Shelton area. Special thanks go out to project chair Wendy Holden and everyone who worked hard to make it such a success!

Members attended the quarterly CT Jaycees meeting on August 16th at Watrous Park in Cromwell.? The state executive board hosted a picnic for all of Connecticut’s chapters. The state officers also ran their quarterly recognition program where the Shelton Jaycees were ranked #5 in the Parade of Chapters competition!

July 30th was the quarterly CT Jaycees Region 1 Meeting, this time hosted by the Cheshire Jaycees.? Region 1 includes the chapters from Cheshire, Shelton, Danbury, Milford, Greenwich, and Norwalk.? State and Regional events are great for networking with members from other chapters.

From June through August members canvassed popular Car Shows and Cruise Nights throughout the state, passing out flyers promoting our own upcoming 20th Anniversary Car Show & Bazaar.? On July 27th several members went to the 2nd largest Car Show in Connecticut, The Annual Time Machine’s Show in Guilford CT, to pass out flyers.? This is always a big show.? Formerly known as the Durham Time Machine’s show, the event has recently moved to the Guilford Fairgrounds.? Their attendance was a little lighter this year due to weather (unlike our Car Show, they don’t use a rain date).? Car owners at this event and others were very excited about our Car Show’s new trophy categories.

July 15th we ran our first on-line chapter survey to help determine our calendar of events through December.? You can find it off the new Archives button on the top of our web page.? This method for instant feedback worked great and we’ll be using it even more in the future.? On-line surveys can now be inserted into our e-mailed newsletters, or just e-mailed on their own.? Both our past e-mailed newsletters and our on-line surveys can be accessed from the archives button up top.? (If you’re not on our mailing list and you would like to sign up, each e-mail has a subscribe button so you can add your address to our list.)

Wednesday July 2nd we helped our friends at the Pine Rock Park Volunteer Fire Dept. run their free hot dog booth at the end of their 75th Anniversary Parade.? Members gathered where the parade ended in front of Carol’s Home Improvement on Howe Ave. and served up hundreds of free dogs.? After the parade some members visited the carnival down the street at Riverwalk Park to watch the Shelton Fire Works display.

The Shelton Jaycees helped run Milford High School’s All Year Class Reunion on June 28th.? Our members ran the walk in registration booth which was no small task.? Thousands of alumni attend this event every 5 years and like any reunion, a pretty healthy percentage of attendees wait until the last minute and don’t preregister.? Milford High School closed in 1983 due to declining enrollment.? Since 2003, every 5 years an All Class Reunion is run and this year’s Volunteer Coordinator was past Milford Jaycee, Linda D’Onofrio.? The D’Onofrio family has as deep roots in the Milford community as it does with the Shelton Jaycees.? Linda’s brother in law Rich D’Onofrio, another past Milford Jaycee, was an important mentor to past Shelton chapter leaders in the 80’s and 90’s.? Linda D’Onofrio is famous in her own right for passing the Buckle-Up Babes Law at the CT Jaycees Model Legislature.? The bill was forwarded to the State Legislature became Connecticut’s first Child Safety Restraint law.

Shelton members also volunteered at the Greater Hartford Jaycees PGA Golf Tournament, June 16th – 22nd.? Under the Greater Hartford Jaycees leadership for over 50 years, this event has become The Largest Sporting Event in New England.? Primarily our crew helped run Carts & Radios as part of the evening team, making sure everything that could be charged was charged.? The weather did us no favors.? We had serious rain and thunderstorms nearly every day resulting in power outages, blown circuit breakers, and even a tornado warning that sent us home early one night. In spite of the bad weather everyone had a blast. Because this project requires so many volunteers from all over the state there’s always new people to meet and new friends to make.

On June 14th Shelton members helped the South Windsor Jaycees run their fundraising and volunteer recruiting booths at the annual South Windsor Strawberry Festival.? South Windsor Jaycees had three booths, one ran a Pick a Pop game for kids, one sold Wapping Fair T-Shirts, and the third was a kid’s moon bounce.? All three locations were used to recruit members and volunteers for their chapter’s annual Wapping Fair in September. Under the South Windsor Jaycees leadership, The Wapping Fair has become one of the largest agricultural fairs in New England.

Relay for Life walkathon to benefit the American Cancer Society was June 7th – 8th at Riverwalk Park. New member Melissa and our team The Unknown Warriors coordinated a tidal wave of fundraisers building up to this event. Our team of twelve people raised close to two thousand dollars to help the fight against cancer. Our booth was decorated as a polynesian warrior villa where we sold beads and leis along with pictures with Chip & Dip (life size cardboard cut out of surfer guy & hula gal). Several team members spent the night logging in countless miles around the track while other lazy and proud of it members played cards and told lies. Our team participated in the Miss Relay contest as well as the Cart Race. (We were robbed in both!) Photos posted in web site gallery.

The Shelton Jaycees Children’s Show was Saturday June 7th at the Community Center. This annual event brings a free high quality children’s show with a professional performance artist to our community. Tickets are given away through an elementary school social worker as well as to others who have made a donations to the Shelton Jaycees through the Community Help Line. This year featured The Rainbow Circus performed by Ms. Liz a performance artist who has worked for some of the largest circus acts in the country. The show is produced with help from Community Dynamics Ltd. of Milford and even though we were forced to find an alternative location due to a school budget conflict, nearly forty people attended the show.

Our 44th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair on the Huntington Green was Sunday June 1st. Always the first Sunday in June, this event has become a well established community tradition heralding in the summer season. This year we maxed out the green with exhibitors! 87 in total even after raising the prices on vendor space. We had a great turn out of both new and old members and we even had some help from perspective members! Cindi McGuire won First Prize in the Crafts division, and Kim Kohler won First Prize in the Arts division. Thanks go out to everyone who helped this year! Photos posted in web site gallery.

Relay For Life Team Fundraising at Shaw’s Super Market was Saturday morning May 24th. We gave away purple balloons (the official ACS Relay For Life color) to kids young and old. Six team members collected over $125 at the store exits on this warm Saturday morning. Not bad for a 3 hour start to finish fundraiser!

Relay For Life Team Fundraising at Hula Hank’s Bar in New Haven was Saturday May 17th. Ten team members came out between 9pm and 1am to collect donations at this popular New Haven night club. We gave away leis and bead necklaces to each person who donated. Good times had by all! Total collected to help the fight against cancer was $154. Photos posted in web site gallery.

At our May membership meeting 3 members signed up to Adopt a Soldier serving overseas.? Nikole, Melissa, and Kate are each coordinating efforts for a specific soldier. The project involves sending care packages and emails letting them know we’re grateful for their service and we’re praying for their safe return home. This is an ongoing project. If you would like to help, just ask either Nikole, Melissa, or Kate what you can do at the next membership meeting.

The CT Jaycees Quarterly Convention and the CT Statesman Award Banquet was May 9th and 10th. Our chapter won the CT Chapter of the Month Award for March and Ranked 5th in Parade of Chapters statewide. At the Saturday banquet our own Matt Bunnell, a past chapter president received the CT Statesman Award. Later at the Saturday night hospitality rooms several members gave away jello shots and bead necklaces in exchange for Relay for Life donations. Along with the jello shots our hospitality room featured pictures with a life sized cardboard cut out of a surfer guy and hula girl where Matt inspired their name’s Chip & Dip. (You had to be there.) Total collected to help the fight against cancer was $64. Photos posted in web site gallery.

The Mothers Day Flower Sale was May 2-4 & 9-11 at Pinerock Firehouse. This has become a very successful annual fundraiser. The first weekend had terrible sales thanks to 3 straight days of rain. We rallied on the second weekend moving over a thousand dollars worth of plants out the firehouse doors! $200 was donated to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser and $350 was allocated for the Pinerock Volunteer Fire Dept. Photos posted in web site gallery.

The Housatonic River Clean Up was Saturday May 3rd in Shelton Stratford & Milford. The site we helped run was based at the public boat ramp behind Sunnyside School. We worked again this year with non-profit Clean Sound Inc. to clean up a half mile plus stretch of the Housatonic River along with several islands down stream. A ton of garbage washes up along these areas of shoreline each year and we made a serious impact with this annual clean-up. In addition to manpower the Shelton Jaycees also donated $200 towards the volunteer T-shirts given out to participants. Photos posted in web site gallery.

Our Setback (aka Pitch) Card Game Social was Saturday April 19th at Panera Bread on Bridgeport Ave. Eight members attended. We had a couple of guests from the Milford Jaycees visit and join us for a few hands. No competition attended from the Greater Hartford chapter. We�re not saying they were scared, we�re sure they just had a scheduling conflict 😉

The International Pot Luck Supper was Tuesday March 18th at the Pinerock Firehouse. This international dinner night was unlike any we�ve held before. Entrees and appetizers were delivered from several new restaurants in town. Japanese, Thai, & Chinese food filled the tables. No one left the firehouse hungry!

We bowled a strike against domestic violence at the 20th Annual Bowl to Benefit the Umbrella on Saturday March 8th. The event took place at Valley Bowl in Derby. We had 4 teams including the CT Jaycees JCI Senate. This is a bowling fundraiser to benefit the Birmingham Foundations Umbrella Program for victims of domestic violence. The event raised over $85,700, making it the largest and most successful Bowl-To-Benefit to date. Photos posted in web site gallery.

Our Best Pizza in Shelton Membership Night was Wednesday February 20th at the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce. Gioves Pizza won Best Cheese Pizza. Basils Pizza won Best Pepperoni Pizza and Pappa�s Pizza won Best Sausage Pizza. 21 people attended including 7 prospective members. After attending, Gary Waters joined our club in March. Photos posted in web site gallery.

The On-line Networking Seminar for �old people 20 or 30 something� was Monday February 4th at the Valley Regional Adult Ed computer lab. New member, Tara, trained several members including our State President on how to pimp out their My -Space and FaceBook accounts. The training was outstanding even though the CT public school�s computer network tried to block access to certain sites!

The CT Jaycees Year End Convention and Awards Banquet was January 25th & 26th at the Cromwell Marriott. Our chapter ranked 8th in Parade of Chapters statewide and several chapter members received awards of Excellence and Honor for their work in 2007. Photos posted in web site gallery.

Our Chairman�s Planning Guide Training was Thursday January 24th at the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce. The training was provided by a past chapter president, state management vice president, 3 time national awards judge, and past state president. We learned how to use the Chairman�s Planning Guide as a leadership tool and a meeting agenda for effective committee meetings. We even planned a new project for later this year!

January 8th was our first meeting of 2008 and featured our Installation Ceremony for this year�s chapter officers. The event was held at Casa Nova Restaurant�s banquet room and a fantastic dinner was provided. Chairman of the Board Michael Sheehan swore in incoming president Kate Jager after which she swore in the 2008 Board of Directors. Several past members and State Officers attended along with Kate�s family and friends. Chapter golf shirts were given out to members, along with gavels presented to past chapter presidents. If you missed it, you missed another great party! Photos posted in web site gallery.