Mark Winkelman has been a member at the Y and involved with the Y for almost 30 years. He was first introduced to the Y through a business colleague who played racquetball. The two of them played racquetball using Mark’s friend’s guest passes. Once he used all of his guest passes, it was time for Mark to get a membership himself. They continued playing racquetball and Mark was asked by the Board President at the time, Greg Sorenson, to join the Marketing Committee.
Mark joined the committee as one of the “young punks” and tried not to be a “stick in the mud.” As one of the longest serving committee members, he wanted to make sure that everybody’s opinions are heard, but that there are good ways for change to happen. Sometimes the “new ideas” aren’t new ideas and they’ve been done before with no success. Mark enjoys being on the Membership/Marketing Committee and providing the Y with new insights and decisions that have made the Y a better, more successful organization in serving all member’s needs.
Mark enjoys playing handball at the Y and relaxing in the sauna and hot tub. Mark says that he really enjoys the social aspect of the Y and that it’s not a normal experience. “The Y isn’t a normal health club where everyone puts their headphones in and jumps on their machine never to speak to anyone. You get more than that at the Y.” The community at the Y is completely different than at the health clubs that have cheaper rates. Mark says that “there are many things that happen behind the scenes. Not everything happens at the Y. We get together and go hang out for a night every once in a while.” Mark also explains that the group of friends keep you accountable for showing up and working out. It’s not just about the physical activity at the Y, but the community as a whole.
Mark has been impacted by the Y in a few different ways and the most notably would be the social aspect. The Y also aided in Mark’s relationship with his sons and having that father-son bonding time. Mark also really enjoys the opportunity to give back to the Y and volunteer with several projects.
Some of Mark’s favorite memories from the Y have to do with the community at the Y. He really enjoys the friendly banter and camaraderie in the locker room. Mark’s oldest son was on the basketball team with a special needs boy, Kyle. In every game, the team would try to get Kyle the ball so he could shoot. Mark can’t remember if Kyle ever made a basket, but the teammates and parents would all gasp as soon as Kyle would shoot. It was about more than just playing basketball and seeing who would win. Another memory is when Mark’s younger son was on the traveling basketball team and he got his first basket. The parents started cheering and screaming, even though the team was 25 points ahead. The opposing team’s coach looked at Mark with a questioning look on his face. Mark said, “Steve made a bucket!” The coach was still confused and Mark explained that it was the first basket his son had made in a game. The coach then understood why the parents were cheering. There was more to that moment than sports.And there’s more to the Y than it being a fitness club.