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Y Stories

We know that when we work together, we move individuals, families and communities forward. But a strong community doesn't just happen, it's the result of steady leadership, teamwork and stewardship. We strive to cultivate a community that has a strong impact on our members, our staff, our neighborhoods, and the Minot community as a whole. Below are just a few stories of the amazing things that can happen when we come together as a YMCA community.

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Barbara Skogstad (Noldan)

Minot, ND

My "Y" story really begins with the Cancer Rehabilitation program (Sponsored by "TOUGH ENOUGH TO WEAR PINK" Y's Men) as I was diagnosed with stage 3 Breast cancer in September of 2015. I had gone through 16 weeks of chemo treatments, surgery and had started radiation treatments when it was suggested to me. It was a 12 week program (2 - 3 days a week) to start regaining strength. I thought it was crazy as my energy levels were almost on the floor...BUT I thought I would give it a try. I was assigned a personal trainer to guide me through exercises that would get me back to moving and get strength back. It was amazing how much it helped. I have told others that I've met going through treatments that it REALLY is beneficial when they think they don't have the energy. I Have supported the "Tough Enough to Wear PINK" program with a T-Shirt and/or a cap since 2015! It truly goes to a great cause...and is very much needed for those that have gone the cancer journey. I continued membership on my own after the initial 12 weeks was up. It's a GOOD thing.

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Minot, ND

Around 2002 I first saw Mt Rainier in Washington state. Second tallest (only by a few feet) mountain in the lower 48 -14410'. By 2008 I had decided that I might be able to hike to the summit, but I had no idea what would be involved, nor how to train for such a strenuous trip.


For Christmas 2011 my wife bought me a short trial membership, and I began working out on the stair climber machines. I had never been inside a gym and had no idea about "what, how, when", etc. The Y staff and the other members were helpful and encouraging and eventually I got to the point where I could carry on a conversation while climbing the stairs. Then on my 61st birthday, I started up the trail (with a local guide service, of course!), and the next day I summited my first mountain ever! When I came back down, I was tired, I was sore and I vowed to myself that I'd never do anything like that ever again!


About a week later after a good rest, I thought "I could do that again". About then I started rock climbing at the rock wall in the north gym, and soon selected another mountain to attempt: Mt Shuksan in the north Cascades. This peak was not nearly as high as Rainier, but had a 600' rock pinnacle at the summit. After again working on the machines upstairs, and also learning rock climbing techniques on the rock wall, I headed back out west and successfully climbed my next peak, which was even more difficult than Rainier.


Had I not gained the rock climbing experience at the Y's rock wall, and also lost ~30lbs in the process, I would not have been able to summit this second mountain. I've since summited another mountain (Mt Olympus) which also required rock climbing skills, and now have two more summits tentatively scheduled for next summer (2022).


Further, I have perhaps 4 or 5 members/staff planning on making the trip with me. And this is what is so great about my job at the Y: As I learn, and do, and grow, I'm able to pass on the enthusiasm and drive and skills to others who (like me when I started) are not sure they can "do it"!

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Stephanie Longie

Bismarck, ND

I spent 5 amazing summers going to Triangle Y camp as a kid. For a horse loving city girl, it was a dream come true. Fast forward 20+ years and I just dropped my daughter off for her second summer at Y camp. It has now become the highlight of her summer. The horsemanship camp is such an incredible experience for horse lovers.​

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Minot, ND

So... my Y story goes back a few years and still makes me laugh. About 40 years ago as a much younger person, I was fortunate enough to attend Y Camp several summers. One of the first summers, I was the pretty new recipient of a “flipper” as we fondly referred to my false tooth. I had knocked out my two front teeth in a bicycle accident a summer or so before attending camp. The dentist made what resembled a retainer with a front tooth attached. I was not always comfortable wearing it and somewhere in my 10 year old brain I felt like there was a chance I could choke on it while swimming. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ Anyway, I took it out, wrapped it in my towel, and enjoyed a refreshing swim in the lake. When I came back to my towel, the false tooth was nowhere to be found. I searched. Other campers searched. Counselors searched. No tooth appeared. I had to go the rest of the week with a missing front tooth AND explain to my parents that they would have to shell out the $60-$80 dollars for a new one. We weren’t poor, but neither were we rich. I had sold candy to help earn my way to camp. Fast forward about 10 years. I’m sorry I didn’t keep exact records, but I know I was an adult. A package arrived in the mail. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and found my “flipper.” My tooth had turned up on the beach after all these years and apparently there was a record of it being lost, and they mailed it back to me! Of course my mouth had grown, and I had several different “flippers” between the loss of this false tooth and its reappearance.After some extensive dental work, I no longer have a “flipper” and can swim without the worries of an imaginative 10 year old brain!Now days I enjoy a workout at the Y. My favorite class is the T/Th morning aerobics class.

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Minot, ND

I love the Y! When I started going in 2017 I had a lot of back pain as well as an injured shoulder. I was underweight and couldn't do much physically. I one day got a membership on a deal and started to come 4 times a week. It's taken years and many times I've fallen off the horse with going to the gym but I never gave up. A few times I've cried thinking that things would never change; that I'd never be able to run a mile or lift weights without pain but with practice and education I can happily say that I can run 2 miles, I can lift some heavy weights and I have gained about 15 pounds of muscle! I couldn't have done it without the Y. The staff are so kind, the hours have always worked, and the people are friendly and considerate. I don't even call it 'working out' anymore. It's my spot to improve, release stress, and meet people like me.

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Minot, ND

Being a part of the Y Family since 2011 has been rewarding in so many ways. I have seen so many success stories first hand between working as a shift manager at the Service Desk, as a lifeguard in the pool, as a belayer at the rock wall, as a Director in the Training Center, and now as the Director of Program Services.


From seeing children sell candy in our lobby to earn their way to Triangle Y Camp, to teaching an apprehensive member how to use the free weight equipment and watching them grow into the weight lifting competitor they are today; witnessing members achieve their goals has been an experience unlike any other.


I have made so many life long friends (and even my husband) within the Y and I couldn't imagine where I would be if I had not started working part-time here years ago. I will always have a special place in my heart for the Minot Family YMCA because I know that the Y is more than just a gym, it's a community.

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Minot, ND

The Y has impacted my life in many ways over the last few years. In 2012 i started working part-time as a Wellness Associate and once I graduated college I got the opportunity to take over as the Membership Director.


Fitness has become a big part of my life and it was one of the things that help keep me in shape, mentally and physically. I am forever grateful that Minot has a facility lik the YMCA where you can come and enjoy a great sense of community and belonging

Everyday the YMCA impacts countless lives in many different ways. From new friends, life skills, a second 'home' to a life changing experience.

Let us know how the YMCA has impacted your life. Big or small - however the Y has helped you, we want to know.

Share with us. Inspire Others.

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