Stories & Spotlights

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 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 Fargo-Moorhead 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.


Doug Tveiten

Doug Tveiten has been a part of the YMCA since 1994. He originally joined twenty five years ago because he wanted to swim laps, lift weights, walk the track, and take aerobics classes. He had no idea it would become such a big part of his routine and the people he passed in the hallways every day would become like family to him.

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Lauren Burkhartsmeier

Lauren Burkhartsmeier signed up for the Y’s Babysitting Training, because wanted to expand her knowledge and also start her own business out of babysitting so she could start saving money for college. She learned how to be a safe, professional and reliable babysitter, and also how to recognize and handle emergency situations. 

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Michael and Marshall Brooks

Michael Brooks has been a single dad since his son, Marshall, was 18 months old. He was worried about the cost of child care, but with our Early Childhood Development Program’s sliding fee scale, he is able to save hundreds of dollars each month. “I honestly couldn’t ask for better care! I started noticing a positive change in Marshall after the first two weeks, and each week following.”

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Theresa Johnk

Theresa Johnk hit the ‘mom slump.’ With a full-time job and two young kiddos, she was continuously putting everyone else before her. In the midst of her busyness, a friend invited her to join a fitness challenge – and she was hooked! Theresa wanted to help others discover a love of fitness too, so she started training to be a personal trainer. 

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Jocelyn Wettlaufer

Jocelyn joined the Gator Swim Team in 2017. She started with the Developmental Group, and has made it to state every season since she’s started. While making and hitting goals, Jocelyn has found much more in her Gator experience. “I have made a lot of friends on the team, from my Age Group up to the Seniors.” These relationships also help develop her as a swimmer, as she views the older swimmers on her team as role-models.

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Earl Lee

When Earl was in his mid-20s back in 1956, he was invited by a friend to attend a Y’s Men’s Service Club Meeting, which was located at the YMCA in Fargo. His friend encouraged him to bring some tennis shoes and socks along to the meeting so that they could stay after and shoot some baskets. Earl immediately fell in love with the YMCA, and has been a member ever since.

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Reid Strand

Reid joined the Y in September 2018, looking to improve his physical health. He jumped in head first, taking advantage of our Smart Start Fitness Center Orientation, Foundations classes, and Personal Training sessions. Through hard work and training his strength, stamina and flexibility improved dramatically. By the end of January 2019, Reid had lost over 70 pounds.

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Zoe and Arin Wuraola

Last year, Arin Wuraola was about to start a new job, but first needed to find affordable care for her growing family. By receiving financial assistance through our Annual Campaign, her daughter Zoe was able to attend YMCA child care. Now, Zoe is receiving a quality foundational education that gives her the tools she’ll need to succeed in school.

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Dave Reuter

If you’re ever trying to find Dave on a weekday morning, he’s probably at the Y. He spends his time at the YMCA working out or playing handball, his greatest passion. Dave grew up playing handball at the Y in Grand Forks, ND. He now competes in regional tournaments and recently took on a leadership position in the FM Handball Club.

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Bill Schalow

What did Bill do when his corporate job wasn’t fulfilling anymore? He pursued his passion for running and started a business. SoleMOTION Race Management hosts races across the region – including the Y’s Burn the Bird Thanksgiving Day Race – and is a great example of the family-focused heart that the YMCA strives to foster in our community.

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Rachel Hutchison

When Rachel joined the YMCA ten years ago, she was looking to join a gym with a great group fitness program. Today, she teaches multiple classes a week – including BodyStep, BodyFlow, Cycle, XYZ, and XABeat. Rachel has always had a desire to help people reach their fitness goals, and enjoys the unique community that group fitness workouts bring.

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Hannah Kearns

Hannah’s first experiences with the Y started in KinderKamp Preschool and Busy Beaver Camp, before eventually taking swimming lessons and attending Camp Cormorant. Though she’s an avid swimmer and workout warrior, Hannah believes the Y is much more than a pool or a gym. Christian principles and strong friendships keep her coming back to her YMCA community.

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Mina Zaudtke

Mina comes to the Fercho YMCA early every weekday morning to organize the tables, chairs and coffee items in the Social Center. She starts the coffee pots and tidily places out cups and napkins in preparation for when her friends make their way upstairs after their workouts. Mina brings such a positive presence through our doors every day – and makes sure that the coffee pot is always on!

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The Wilson Family

Sofiya, Ashlynn and McKenzie attend the YMCA’s School Age Learning Center at Jefferson Elementary. They receive financial assistance through the Y’s Annual Campaign, which has allowed the Wilsons to get back on their feet. “The opportunity to be part of this scholarship program has meant so much to my whole family. The YMCA feels like a second home to us.”

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Toni Froysland

Toni Froysland, a spunky, 23-year-old Fargo-native, simply lives and breathes YMCA Camp Cormorant, the YMCA’s summer resident camp near Lake Park, MN. A recent elementary education graduate from Bemidji State University, Toni attributes her passion for youth development to her 14 years at Camp Cormorant, both as a camper and staff.

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Ann Overby

After she completed treatment for colon cancer, Ann Overby was exhausted and weak. She also struggled with neuropathy, eventually needing surgery after a particularly bad fall. After surgery, she signed up for LIVESTRONG at the YMCA®, hoping it would help her regain the ability to participate in the activities she once enjoyed so thoroughly.

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The Lindeman Family

Lisa Lindeman’s arms are full – literally. She is a single mother who not only works full time, but takes care of her two youngest twin daughters, Maci and MaKenna, and her grandson, Carter, who all attend the Schlossman YMCA’s child care program. MaKenna is just five years old and has cerebral palsy. 

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Anna Johnson and Kirsten Douglas

Kirsten and Anna met in a YMCA BODYPUMP class in 2016, when Kirsten had just moved the Fargo-Moorhead area. They became fast friends, and now meet at the Y a few times a week to take a break, work out, or just spend time together. They describe the YMCA as their sanctuary, their community, and their home.

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Eric Rogne

Eric Rogne, a longtime member of the YMCA, has found a way to make the Y part of every chapter of his life. Whether it’s through racquetball, group fitness, or donating to our Partner of Youth Campaign, Eric has found a “sanctuary” in our YMCA community.

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Katie King and Isaac Kreft

Katie, a contagiously bubbly 21-year-old, started her first day of work in 2013. As she slid into the water in her brand new ‘swim instructor’ uniform and arms full of kick-boards and sign-in forms, she was trying not to let anyone see how nervous she was.

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Has the YMCA impacted your life, or the life of a loved one? Share your YMCA Story with us!