Our Board of Directors is made up of dedicated community leaders who use their diverse talents to help define the Y’s long-range 2008-2011 Strategic Plan. Each board member actively serves on the committees that implement the plan throughout our programs. Our board firmly believes that the Y plays a vital role in shaping children, supporting families, and providing people of all ages and abilities in our community with programs that can help them realize their full potentials.
For those of you who enjoy the current YMCA facilities, Chris Siegler is one (of many) to thank. He was part of the Y board that in the mid-1980s committed to build the new YMCA—moving it out of the little yellow building that’s now next door. “The Y had a staff of four, and was providing kids with opportunities to play organized sports as well as offering summer camps,” Chris says. “The board was very hands on at that time, from painting buildings to getting local businesses to donate items of need.”
Chris came to Montana via Pennsylvania, the University of Notre Dame, South Dakota and Sierra Leone, West Africa. But it took a graduate school fellowship to get Chris to Missoula and The University of Montana. He raised two sons with his wife, Jeannie, while his professional skill set took him into the Peace Corps, telecommunications, healthcare and financial planning.
“My favorite aspect of the Y is the feeling of camaraderie from the staff and members,” says Chris. “It’s like a family.” The group Chris swims with at noon has organized several fundraisers for people in need, both at the Y and in the community. Everybody takes care of one another. Chris has taken that concept global, and in 2004 he helped develop a partnership between the Missoula YMCA and Sierra Leone YMCA. The Missoula Y helps support Sierra Leone by sending both money and supplies and Chris has visited Sierra Leone to see the progress.
“The Missoula YMCA is really on the cusp of doing some fantastic work which will really benefit kids, families and the community,” Chris says. “The Y understands its mission and works really hard to carry it out in everything it does. The staff is very dedicated and ready to do much more if we give them the support they need.”
Chris is always looking for ways to make the Y better. He’s constantly talking to community members about what the Y is doing and how they can help. “The community believes the work we do is for the betterment of the community, not our own self enhancement,” he says. People always want to use the Y more and he’s happy to have them.
Captial Development and International.
Chris spent two years in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa. That’s where he met his wife, Jeannie, another Peace Corps volunteer.
Golf, read, triathlons and woodworking.
The Riverbank Run. “It is the only time I see a lot of people I have known for a long time but don’t get together with any other time. It’s a community tradition.”
Susan brought her energy, business experience and professional marketing skills to the YMCA Board in 2008. Her son was starting high school then and she thought it was time to “do a little more community service.”
Although her teen, Zach, as a toddler learned to swim at the Y and her husband, Steve, is a lap swimmer, Susan admits that she did not realize all that the Y is and does. “I was amazed,” she says. “I had no idea they served so many people and provided so much financial assistance. The Y makes a tangible difference for thousands of people in Missoula each year through its diverse programs—I want to be a part of keeping that going.”
In addition to learning the breadth and depth of the YMCA Missoula, Susan learned that she loves kickboxing. “Talk about a stress reliever!”
Coming from a background in advertising and marketing, she values the Y’s “commitment to the community and the passion that goes into the fundraising that ensures everyone can participate,” she says. “I also like the emphasis that the programs place on teaching basic values as well as maintaining one’s health without becoming a spandex-wearing body builder.”
Originally from St. Louis, the co-founder of a major Montana full-service marketing company spent most of her young adult life in Missouri’s other big city, Kansas City. “A sane family life drew us to the mountains though,” she says. “No way are we ever leaving!”
“My work with the board has me thinking long term about how to help make Missoula a better place through volunteering personally,” Susan continues, “and through having our staff at PartnersCreative help the Y and other area nonprofits with their brand and marketing efforts.” Another long-term goal is to learn more about the Missoula Y’s relationship with the Sierra Leone YMCA and to visit it one day.
If you’ve met Susan you know that she doesn’t “just sit and do nothing” for long, she’d rather be out on bike, moving dirt and plants, or working with her staff on a project. Whatever, music is usually in the background either keeping her working or helping her relax. It might be blues on an iPod, Steve flat picking bluegrass on his guitar, Zach “getting pretty darn good at trumpet” or herself as a beginning mandolin player.
Membership and Marketing
High-flying skills. Susan learned how to fly helicopter combat moves from a Vietnam veteran in the mean skies over St. Louis. Apparently it looked a lot like doing the rush-hour radio traffic report.
Hard to narrow down, but to name a few: skiing, fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, reading, laughing and landscaping. In fact, her Y workouts make her an awesome strong compost and dirt mover.
The Riverbank Run—You gotta love a community parade of past-event T-shirts.
Lynn Thee is waiting patiently for her children to grow up; well, probably not all grown up, just so they are old enough to take part in more YMCA programs. “I can’t wait until the Y summer camps can be a part of their summers!” she says.
After years of travel and moving with her husband’s military career, Lynn and her husband relocated to Missoula from Dallas when they were looking for a place to raise their children. “We already had family here, and we love the mountains and sense of community in Missoula,” she says. “It was a natural fit for us.”
“I’ve spent 13 years in the elementary education field and I’m passionate about the well-being of our children,” Lynn says. “I believe the Y is an invaluable resource for our community in support of our children and families.” This important work the Y does is why Lynn accepted her position on the board in March 2008. “The caliber of people working here at the Y amazes me. They have assembled quality people and provide the leadership that allows them to be creative, responsible and innovative.”
Lynn and her husband have two daughters, two dogs, three horses and one cat—so they definitely have a full house. No longer in the formal classroom, the Iowa-raised educator today works with horses and still loves rodeo.
“The YMCA provides so many great things to the community—health education, physical fitness and opportunities,” Lynn says. “But the most important thing is relationship building. All of those depend on, and are fueled by, the relationships between people. If we can all work together, we can build a place for everyone—right here in our own backyard. It’s a great sense of accomplishment when you see people enjoying what you’ve helped create.”
Program and Membership, International and Capital Development.
Lynn sailed with 32 horses across the Baltic Sea to Helsinki, Finland, for a month of rodeo performances. “We started the trip in Denver, drove to Chicago, flew to Stockholm and sailed to Helsinki. It was a great adventure!”
Have fun with her children (though barrel racing is a close second).
Pat McHugh does it for the kids.
His day job? Senior management in the business of local public schools—kids. His main volunteer gig? YMCA board member—again, for the kids. His favorite things to do? Play basketball, ski and be outdoors—with his kids.
“The most compelling thing about the YMCA is that its focus is the positive development of children and families,” Pat McHugh says. “A healthy and vibrant community depends upon healthy children and families. The Y plays a significant role in promoting a healthy community through the programs it offers, and offers to all families.”
“Opportunity” is the key concept behind pulling that off, he says. “The Y provides an opportunity for all kids—and families—to participate in camps, youth sports, social events and exercise. That no child or family is turned away because of financial circumstance is incredible and critical in advancing the YMCA mission.” Pat, who brought his financial and operations expertise to the board table in 2008, says he quickly learned of the serious strength of the “can-do attitude” among the staff and fellow board members.
Born and raised in Butte, Pat and his family are long-time Y members. From swimming lessons and little-kid soccer, the kids have grown into serious basketball players with Dad as their Y coach. Other than the main gym’s court, Pat calls the workout space his favorite part of the building. And outside the building, he’d rather be skiing, hiking or otherwise visiting with his extended family, who are spread around the state and gather often.
While the ball is smaller and bounces higher than a standard basketball, Pat enjoys a good game of racquetball.
The Riverbank Run. Why? You know. Because of the kids and families running together.
YMCA Board Member Wolfgang Ametsbichler is here because of the Hellgate High School foreign student exchange program. After a teenage year in Missoula, Wolf returned to his home in Munich, Germany. “It took me several attempts and over 20 years to finally make this place my home,” he says, “and I’m not leaving ever again.”
Wolf only became involved with the YMCA as a member back in 2008, but he’s quickly realized the significant role the Y plays in people’s lives. “The Y is a place where families can come together to pursue games, sports, fun and laughter. It’s a safe environment for everyone that builds a sense of community,” he says.
Wolf first joined the Human Resources committee, which was a perfect fit because his full-time job is helping Missoulians find jobs via Missoula Job Service. His time on the HR committee led him to accept the YMCA board nomination in July 2009.
“I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the Y’s commitment to its members’ health and well-being, as well as the YMCA directors' energetic leadership and desire to take the Y to the next level,” Wolf says. “Being part of the Y board gives me the privilege of working with some of the finest people in Missoula, to learn from them and grow.”
Though he says he isn’t going to leave Missoula again, Wolf makes exception to head back to Europe to visit his family. “While in Germany, I get to totally indulge in all of the goodies that southern Germany and Austria offer—after all, you can’t offend your mom by not eating five times a day as she requests and as is the custom,” Wolf says. And then it’s back home to a workout at the Y.
“There is an air of gentleness and kindness I sense when I walk through the doors at the Y,” he says. “There is respect for others and an abundance of goodwill and exuberance, and I enjoy being around that. I have been inspired to give something in return for what I have received from the YMCA.”
Though he thinks and dreams in English, he does math in his head in German.
Be outdoors—in Montana, British Columbia or elsewhere in his travels around the world.
Cook, read, listen to music.
The diversity of people that the YMCA brings together.
Jacquie Duhame didn’t know accepting a 2007 lunch invitation from YMCA CEO David Ports would come with a year-round obligation attached. But she’s glad it did. She was honored she received an invitation to join such a vital Missoula organization, she says.
Originally from Butte, Jacquie remembers taking swimming lessons at the Old Y on Park Street. That family tradition continues today as Jacquie’s son, Ben, now loves taking swimming lessons here at the Missoula Family YMCA. Jacquie, Dave (husband and also a Butte native), Ben and Cooper the Labrador retriever all live out near the Wye.
“The YMCA is a great place to remind yourself about the quality of life and how you can help others learn new skills and make new friends,” Jacquie says. “The Y spirit is alive in the organization from the top to bottom.”
Jacquie proudly shares her professional skills as chair of the Y Board’s HR/Risk Management Committee and recently filled the role of board secretary.
“I want to make sure everyone knows about the wonderful things that happen at the YMCA every day!” Jacquie says.
Jacquie is the great combination of her parents—Jac(k) + Lin(da) = Jacqueline. She’s also notorious in her family: she’s the only child, only grandchild and only niece in her extended family. “That can be good or bad.”
Jacquie loves the “early out” school days—she’s been known to early-out herself, grab up Ben and together head for a movie or to Southgate Mall for pretzels. Also, golf and shopping—“not necessarily in that order.”
The Special Olympics. “The YMCA’s commitment to the Special Olympics truly sets it apart in our community,” she says. “I always hear from the volunteers that they have so much fun and the Y makes it happen with a great staff, organization and inspiration.”
Ned Becker is a self-proclaimed “lifetime member of the YMCA.” Though that’s not an actual type of membership, everywhere Ned has lived, from childhood on, he has been an active member of the Y. Considering that the Y has always been a part of his life, Ned wanted to offer his experience and support to the Missoula YMCA.
Born and raised in Atlantic, Iowa, Ned made his way to Missoula for college. And like so many others, he fell in love with the lifestyle, outdoor activities and people. He decided to stay. Ned and his wife, Kim, have two daughters and a son, as well as two dogs. They are a typical Montana family in that they love to spend time in Western Montana’s great outdoors. (He’s a businessman who’d rather be sitting behind a bicycle’s front tire, perhaps on a road around the Pioneer Mountains.) They also love spending time at the Y—Ned and Kim are regulars at the Health & Wellness Center, he’s a master’s swimmer and the kids all swim for the Y swim team (MYST).
But Ned’s most favorite thing about the Y is the relationship building that happens here. “A great organization takes great people to make it happen and the employees of the YMCA are committed to the cause,” Ned says. “The Y members are also instrumental in making it a great place. They’re not your typical gym members, but people who care about the youth and families of Missoula. Also, the facilities and activities create a great atmosphere for improving health and well-being.”
Although he was in the building all the time as a member, Ned says that when he joined the board in 2007 he was surprised to learn about the sheer number of families that the Y assists each year. “The Y has an incredible amount of depth through its vast array of services and programs that can make such a positive impact in a person’s life. … As a volunteer, you want to get involved in an organization that is committed to its mission and the people it serves,” he says. “The Y is all of that and more.”
What has Ned learned from his time with the YMCA? He wants to spend as much time as possible with his children as they grow and develop. “This is something the Y instills in everyone.”
Capital Development and Board Development.
Rock out—Ned loves to sing Jimmy Buffett songs really loud in his car.
Spend time with his family doing just about anything—biking, swimming, golfing or skiing.
Father-Daughter Sweetheart Dance. “My daughters loved it! And, it was great to see the Blue Gym packed with dads and their little girls spending time together.”
Four distinct seasons, a university setting, proximity to both Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, and some family in the area got Barbara Blanchard and her husband to move to Missoula for their retirement years. Her strong desire to serve in her community and her “deep respect for the management style of David Ports and his vision for the Y” got her to the YMCA’s board of directors starting in July of 2010. “I just want to give back,” she says.
Her work on the Y board excites her, she says, because the Missoula Family YMCA is a dynamic organization. Specifically, Barbara notes the Y’s recent push to increase its health-advancement activities and partnerships with Missoula area health providers, and the new program of free memberships for all 6th grade students. “The whole idea of people becoming more aware, of being proactive and more involved in their own health and well-being will promote healthier generations,” she says. “I love the way they’re focusing on that.”
After more than 30 years as a human resources professional and planning for retirement, Barbara and her physicist husband, Patrick Mahoney, Ph.D., fall of 2005 bought a Missoula house they had not actually seen but knew needed some TLC (got to love Internet shopping). To their surprise, their home in the mountains near Lake Tahoe sold in three days instead of months. So Patrick in late May 2006 moved with their furniture to Missoula to oversee house repairs and Barbara moved into a California hotel while she finished her work and trained her replacement.
That stint of living in boxes was not so unusual for the couple who camps and travels as often as possible. Barbara notes that one of their first Missoula purchases — once she finally got up here Christmas 2006 — was a camper RV for those trips to Glacier and Yellowstone. Retirement didn’t last long as she joined St. Patrick Hospital in March of 2007 as vice president of human resources. Barbara “retired” again as of January 2010 and has many plans to put that RV into more use.
“We absolutely love being in Missoula,” Barbara says. Active supporters of The University of Montana resources, they regularly attend events, lectures and participate in the MOLLI lifelong learners program. Barbara will also serve on the advisory board of the management & marketing department at UM. And she’s teaching a practical, hands-on course HR Essentials at the Dickinson Lifelong Learning Center. And she’s active in her church, as well as the Big Sky chapter of the national professional HR association. And they just bought an unfinished cabin up by Seeley Lake. And there’s travel.
With February and summer trips to Yellowstone on the annual calendar, 2010’s travels were augmented with travel to Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean area around Turkey, Malta and various islands. Spending time with such antiquities, she says, was pretty amazing and wonderful. But while Barbara starts talking about Roman ruins, she with ease segues to Lewis & Clark, Yellowstone and Glacier. Barbara says she’s fascinated more with the human / anthropological history of a place while her husband the scientist focuses on the science and geologic history. “We balance each other,” she says.
Barbara’s career work took her “around the world three times” and her husband also traveled some for work. Now retired, “it’s really nice to not have to take the rolling satchel and work on the plane anymore,” she laughs. Italy and Ireland are probably their favorite non-U.S. destinations — but not ones to be safe and predictable, they’re talking about perhaps future trips to Tunisia and Peru.
And their first dog sled trip in Yellowstone winter 2010 was such fun … there might be more of that.
Listen to Barbara for just a bit and you will hear common threads tying everything together: There’s value in all people and places. Adventure and activity both physical and mental are good. Smiles. Mentor / teach / learn.
“I’m always looking for an adventure — something different,” she says. “There’s so much to do!” But in conversation soon after she adds: “I tell my kids, the only legacy I want is that ‘I made a difference.’”
Human Resources and Risk Management
About 25 years ago Barbara lived in and worked in Saudi Arabia. “I did not live in a protected compound — what an adventure!”
Always be in a holiday spirit. All members of her large family (six kids, 12 grandkids) looks forward all year to their annual “Gramma Silly Box” that’s guaranteed to be filled with packages fun, unusual and sometimes outlandish. While she does sew and knit, Barbara says these presents are “much more unique.” And way more fun to put together.
Travel; any where, any time.
As a son and a father of Missoula and a leader in the local police force, Bob Bouchee is about keeping community members — especially our kids — safe, healthy, active and positively growing. It’s how he was raised; it’s how he’s raising his two daughters; it’s how he approaches both his “day job” and his July 2011 appointment to the Y Board of Directors.
“I have lived in Missoula my entire life, been involved with the YMCA as both a sports participant and a coach over the years, used the facilities as a member and my father has been part of the board for decades,” Bob says. “The Y is a vital part of this community, and I want to be a part of continuing that tradition.”
“The youth sports program gives kids of all ages and abilities the opportunity to play their favorite sports, no matter their skill level,” the former soccer coach continues. “School sports and travel teams limit the number of kids who can participate, both by athletic and financial ability … The time I have spent coaching girl’s soccer has been beyond fulfilling.”
Bob doesn’t just talk the talk about staying safe, healthy and active, he also puts words into action playing football in Missoula Parks & Recreation leagues and weekly basketball games with friends.
From boy growing to man, Bob’s continuing Y experience inspires him to “be a better person and to give back to the community I love. Our children are the most important legacy we leave behind. The Y can directly impact a child’s life for the better, no matter the environment he grows up in. As a board member, I hope to have a positive impact in continuing the Y mission.”
Always active, off-duty time typically finds Bob with wife and kids outside up on Flathead Lake, watching football and basketball, or hitting the slopes with either skis or board in hand.
Favorite Y community event
Riverbank Run – after a long, long winter this community event means “spring.”
The force is with him, really (in more ways than one). He learned and recite from the original Star Wars movies, he can.
Having moved here from Cincinnati to attend The University of Montana, Terry Burke is now dug-in to this community. An accomplished accountant, small business owner and father, Terry was searching for a credible team he could join that worked to benefit his community. “I really wanted to be a team member helping to provide the environment that is a source of strength to the community,” he said. We’re glad he—along with his strong economic and numbers skills—joined the Y board in June of 2010.
Terry, sometimes joined by his wife, Ruth, and children Nathan, Zach and Mattie, swims regularly and lifts weights in the Health & Wellness Center. In addition to keeping fit, Terry remarks on the many valuable friendships he’s formed with fellow members across a swim lane or weight bench.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he continues about his Y board work. And while he’s long been a family member, Terry said that joining the board inspired him to “take a step back and view what is at the core of this great organization—I see happy faces, from employees to volunteers to board members. I see the common goal: to help others grow in spirit, mind and body.”
Finance and Financial Development
While hiking in Glacier National Park one time, Terry found himself high in a tree staring at a not-so-happy bear at its base.
Hiking with his family, especially in Glacier National Park … especially when they don’t see a bear.
Anne Carlson is not only new in 2009 to the YMCA board but she’s relatively new to Missoula as well. Her husband, Steve, became the CEO at Community Medical Center in 2007 and that’s what brought Anne, Steve and their two teenagers to the Garden City.
Having moved many times in her adult life, Anne quickly sought out the Y after unpacking in Missoula. “I love the workout facility, and especially all the many friends I have met and the warm staff throughout the whole facility,” says Anne, who thinks that running marathons is fun. “It is a very welcoming place and you feel like family! I also love the diversity of people and all the energy I get from watching youth at play.”
“The YMCA does a great job of promoting happy and healthy lifestyles for families,” Anne continues. “The Y teaches values and skills to the young and helps them become responsible, caring and productive adults.” That’s why Anne wanted to be involved with the Y, she believes in the mission and values and wants to ensure that the Y continues to grow and prosper. A registered nurse, Anne keeps balance in her life with running (loves the forest trails!), volunteer work and some serious gourmet cooking and baking.
“The Y has a diverse population of members from all walks of life,” she says. “Every one of us is fighting some kind of battle, some obvious, some not. We need to support one another in this journey of life.”
While she works to help the Y grow, she says the reverse is true too—inspiring her to “continue to strive to be a better person each day, to live life to its fullest, to support and encourage others along the way.”
Ask her about Oinker, her 850-pound childhood pet.
Anything fitness related: running really far, biking, hiking and golf.
The Riverbank Run—the community crowds, the community energy downtown, and, of course, the running.
He may not look it, but Dan Cravy is a Texan of the wild-west cavalry variety, born and raised in San Angelo. College at Stanford University (where he met his best friend’s sister Tracey) was followed by youth ministry in Seattle and Austin, a degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and marriage to Tracey. In 2005 they moved to Missoula when Dan was named co-pastor of Missoula’s First Presbyterian, the church of A River Runs Through It. Tracey spent some time growing up in Troy, Dan says, and “we are both in love with mountains and rivers. The opportunity to serve a church in Montana was a gift of God’s goodness to us.” Dan and Tracey have two young sons.
A July 2011 board member, Dan calls the Y “a first-class, community-focused organization. It’s been especially important for my family. Its mission is as big and generous loving our city, so it’s an honor to be asked to serve. I believe I’ll grow personally and professionally from getting to invest in Missoula with such a passionate, talented group of people.”
Personally, Dan and Tracey without hesitation point to the drop-in Child Watch Center as their very favorite part of the Y. “Seriously! Tracey and I are able to get some much-needed space, exercise and connection while our boys enjoy playing under the nurturing watch of the caregivers.” In addition to the adult spin classes, High Energy Club and Y running events (sense a pattern?), the family gains from Discovering Music, Bitty Soccer, gymnastics, Rookie Sports, preschool arts and, of course, swim lessons.
“The Y is about growing all our Missoula kids in strength, health and character. It’s about doing what’s right by our wider community, and, in the process, growing—all of us together.” Dan continues about the growth he’s realized personally since joining the Y:
“It was at the Y that I was encouraged to ride RATPOD (Camp Mak-A-Dream’s 130-mile ride on behalf of a camp experience for kids with cancer). I didn’t even own a road bike. But my friends at the Y believed I could do it. And now the training and the event are treasured experiences of community, physical endurance and Montana beauty for me.
“My Y experience has inspired me to reach farther physically than I previously believed I could. And risk is the essence of faith.”
Favorite Y community event
Riverbank Run—the best part being with his boys at the finish line cheering on Missoula friends and neighbors “and applauding Mommy as she came to her speedy finish.”
Those boots are Texas real and they’re made for dancing. “I love to ‘own’ a dance floor—especially swinging to big band or Texas two-stepping to country.”
Favorite thing to do
Backpacking with good friends, “getting miles deep into the quiet beauty of the backcountry.”
More favorite thing(s) to doFiction reading, road biking, coffee drinking, fly-fishing, dinner hosting, beer drinking with friends—and, of course, wild boy raising
A trial attorney who bikes to work, Matt Hayhurst brought his considerable professional talents and depth of personal thought to the Y Board of Directors July 2011.
“The international committee interests me because it expands the Y’s perspective beyond ‘our fair city’ of Missoula, as Mayor (John) Engen would say,” Matt says. “The best thing that happened to me in college was meeting my wife, Lisa, but the second best thing was studying and traveling abroad. Experiencing another country, particularly at a younger age, brings immense depth and richness to the life experience. That applies to all aspects of life. And it doesn’t require physical travel—it just demands a willingness to be open-minded and to learn from other people.”
Matt intends his experience with the Y board international committee will expand him again with global thinking, while simultaneously he and his family benefit locally at the Y.
“My kids have grown up—and continue to grow up—at the Y. Literally,” he continues. “We meet our friends at the Y. We exercise and play games with our family and friends at the Y. We know many of the staff. Our sons know the drop-in child care staff quite well, plus their camp leaders. For us, the Y is a center of our community.”
Outside of the Y facility, the courtroom and the conference room, this Helena native prefers to be with his family and outside, currently with a diaper bag in tow. Snowboarding, hiking, fishing or biking.
Matt’s got four bikes, actually.
A 1950s Hiawatha cruiser that he restored while in college—it has chrome fenders, a chrome tank and an antique leather seat. A 1960s Schwinn Collegiate three-speed is the to-work commuting choice although it’s kept so clean you can’t tell it crosses downtown daily in any Missoula weather; if you do look closely you’ll see a funky antique headlight that is powered by the back wheel. The Bianchi road bike takes him down the road, and several times it’s traveled RATPOD (an annual fundraising century ride for Camp Mak-A-Dream). And, number four, the got-to-have-one-around-here mountain bike.
For a “fifth bike” Matt and Lisa borrowed a friend’s tandem, on which some years ago they shared a 160-mile RATPOD day.
“It’s hard to identify a favorite bike,” Matt defers. “I use my mountain bike the most, so I probably have the most fun on that one. But I have a soft spot for the cruiser because I rescued it from a thrift shop in Helena. The Collegiate is absolutely mint … and the road bike is FAST.”
Favorite Y community event
Riverbank Run. Matt heads up the family cheering section while wife Lisa and his oldest son pound the pavement.
Matt blames the bike saying it “is FAST,” but the police officer who pulled him over thought perhaps it was the rider … So while the road bike’s not a Firebird, blame this scene anyway on Smokey and the Bandit?
This long-time owner and operator of Missoula’s LA Design is new in 2009 to the Missoula Family YMCA; although she has lived here for years, Lynne Himes gets her exercise hiking the M, skiing and boating. Even so, Lynne says it only took a “great cup of coffee at Break Espresso” with CEO David Ports and board member Shelley Boutelle to sign her up. “I just couldn’t say ‘no’ to Shelley and David.”
And she’s already learned that saying “yes” to volunteering at the Y means “you will receive much more than you give.”
“I love how multi-generational the Y is,” Lynne continues. “I love seeing people from all walks of life come together.”
Along with running a piece of Missoula’s fine art scene, this business major and her husband, Tom, own several other small businesses, including Hunter Investments and Stonehorse. Son Brandon is a member of Hellgate High School’s class of 2010. In addition to her general board duties, Lynne serves on the Y’s financial development committee.
Lynne—whose personal and professional resumes are littered with timeframes of more than 20 years—is looking to the Y’s long term. “The enthusiasm and commitment of the staff and volunteers surprised me,” she says. “There’s no stopping the power of passionate, positive people.”
Lynne loves kids and cows. In that order … How calves rank, we can’t say.
Hike to the M; it is beautiful up there.
A runner by avocation, Bob Homer has long been involved with the Missoula YMCA both as a member keeping in shape and an interested volunteer. In 2008 he officially brought his financial expertise, passion for community work and general sensibility to the YMCA Board of Directors.
“Because of the wide variety of facilities and programs, I feel that the benefit of the Y is a very individual thing,” Bob says. “The Y provides a family friendly environment, whether it is to do activities together as a family—or to let each and every member of a family participate in what they want.” Through his recent work on the board Bob says he has learned that the Y’s programs are even more diverse than he had thought, offering more opportunities and choices to be an individual or member of a group.
He adds: “I really like the Y’s outreach into the community with youth sports. I think that is vital to the Missoula area.”
After a childhood in Washington, D.C., high school in Colorado, a business degree from The University of Montana and career beginnings elsewhere, Bob took the job transfer that moved his family to Missoula in the 1970s. Bob balances out his life with friends and family, running, travel and evenings at the theatre.
With four sisters and three brothers, family is particularly important to him. (And having seven siblings might explain why he so appreciates how the Y in one facility allows a person to be part of a group and/or an individual.)
The Riverbank Run, no big surprise for a runner who values community.
Terry King brought his expertise, professionalism and deep care for children to the YMCA Board in 2007. And we all benefit.
“As over-simplified as it may sound,” Terry says, “my wife and I are driven to help our community in any way that benefits children. We all owe something back to our community.”
Working with and for the Y, Terry helps ensure that the organization’s raft of youth programs are available to any and every child in the Missoula area. From early childcare to After School Club to sports leagues, if it involves children it is important to this father and grandfather. “The most important thing the Y does is make its programs available to all families regardless of financial status,” he says.
In his weekday life, this long-time local wears the pressed suit and tie of a senior vice president at First Security Bank. But he prefers the uniforms of fly-fishing and long walks with his dog in the woods near his home.
Riverbank Run. Country before country was cool, Terry was involved with the YMCA Riverbank Run before it was the YMCA Riverbank Run.
He really does prefer the woods to the fancy office.
Though Kara is originally from the Yakima Valley of Washington, on her first day at The University of Montana, her grandfather said, “Kara is more a Montanan than most native Montanans.” She was always drawn to Montana (and her parents grew up just blocks from each other in Helena), but she really fell in love with Missoula when she started college. So it makes sense that she would make Missoula her home.
Kara is new to the board, but not to the Y in general. As a senior in college, she interned on the Riverbank Run. “I helped put commercials together and went to schools to encourage kids to participate,” Kara says. “It was one of the greatest college experiences and that’s when my eyes opened to what the YMCA does to promote health in Missoula.” Since college she’s been an active member who in addition to fitness classes and lap swims, hits a Y treadmill when it’s too dark and yucky to run outside at 5:30 a.m. “I’ve made a lot of great friendships through the years of working with the Y,” Kara adds.
She’s now looking forward to being able to give back to the Missoula community through her work on the board.
“My favorite part of the Y is the commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for families to gather,” she says. “The fact that they open the doors to everyone and turn no one away for an inability to pay is something you don’t hear about too often in today’s world. It’s refreshing.” She calls the Y—with its adult fitness facilities and classes, childcare programs, kid sports programs and family events—a one-stop shop for young families.
Currently Kara works for Community Medical Center as the Community Relations Coordinator. In 2009, big pieces of her life—outdoor exercise, healthcare, communications and now the Y Board—are connecting together to further benefit Missoula-area youth. Says Kara: “My work with the YMCA inspired me to work on the development of a sixth-grade child obesity project (launched in 2010 as "Active 6") with Community Medical Center, the Y and other partners in the community.”
Kara spent a college summer working in Glacier National Park. At the end of the summer she netted $45 for all her hard work, but she made a ton of lifelong friends.
The Riverbank Run. It goes back to that college internship Kara had.
John Melvin is at the YMCA at least five days a week, swimming with the master’s group three lunch hours and lifting weights the other two. He’s here to drop off his daughter for before-school swim practice and here for weekend swim meets. As life goes, one thing leads to another. And after two years serving on the Property and Facility Committee, this mechanical engineer and business owner officially joined the board summer of 2009.
“I really like that the Y is a place for children to be that is both healthy and safe,” John says, “and that it provides financial assistance to individuals who otherwise would not have the opportunity to join.”
In many senses John is a classic Missoula YMCA member. He and his family each use the Y facilities and programs to meet their individual needs. [Wife, Wendy, teaches fourth grade and works out in the Health & Wellness Center; daughter, Addie, is a young runner and swim team competitor; infant son, Porter, watches sister swim and hangs out in the Child Watch Center.] They play and workout together skiing and biking, in the Y and at Y events such as Riverbank Run. John’s found a need to give back to his community as an active volunteer, sharing his professional expertise and energy at the board level. And, John’s masters swim group has become so tightknit and expansive-thinking that each year they swim across cold and windy Flathead Lake to raise money for specific individuals with needs—and summer 2010 they’re swimming the English Channel.
Those 25-yard swim laps are adding up.
“I’ve learned over the years how fun it is to volunteer at the Y,” John says. “And I’ve learned that so many places need volunteer help to function properly. This experience has inspired me to get more involved with the community.”
Property and Facility.
John’s a triathlete at the national level, two years running. And, born and raised Great Falls, he’s a Denver Broncos fan.
Riverbank Run. John runs and his daughter is a serious young-teen runner so it’s extra fun running with the whole town. (That would be Porter in the jogging stroller.)
“Working with the YMCA has encouraged me to reach out further into the community and help those who need financial assistance, personal assistance or just a shoulder to lean on,” says Shawn Paul, member of the Board of Directors since January 2009. Those are strong words from a man who spends a good part of his time serving and protecting the community as a Lieutenant with the Missoula Police Department.
“As a police officer, I have had many negative contacts with the public and youth,” Shawn continues. “I saw the opportunity to join the Y board as a chance to have a positive contact with the public and youth. Now I see a larger picture … Once you realize all the people the Y helps, you understand how important the Y is and what an impact it has on the community.” In addition to his board work, Shawn serves on the International Committee and the Membership/Program Committee.
Born in Philadelphia, raised in Massachusetts, Shawn came here for The University of Montana’s business program and essentially didn’t leave. Now a Missoula police officer with a wife, Alice, and two daughters, Shawn leaves Montana to hit the beach and surf. Yes, the land-locked guy loves to surf.
Family is a concept near and dear to this father’s heart and he appreciates the fact the YMCA values families too. Since long before he joined the board, Shawn and family worked out and played at the Y. “It’s a place for families to be together and build on the core values of family,” he says. It’s that old line, the family that plays (and sweats) together stays together. Key, he adds, is that the Y’s programs are available to every family, no matter their financial circumstance.
After just a few months on the board, his perspective of the Y already has changed. “My eyes have opened to all of the wonderful programs we have and the financial assistance we offer that leaves no one behind,” he says.
International Committee and Membership/Program Committee.
After college, Shawn spent close to two years in South Korea as an Army Lieutenant and platoon leader.
Sit on an ocean beach with his wife and kids, enjoy the sunshine … and surf.
The workout facilities and the chance to assist the community.
The Riverbank Run.
She may work as the quiet one in a courtroom or legal office, but Theresa Anne Strauch loves to run, workout and make new friends. A board member since July 2011, she adds her energy and passion for both accuracy of detail and for living a healthy life to the Y board, with a special emphasis on the Partners with Youth effort.
“In my years associated with the Y, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how small your contribution, that contribution will make a difference,” Theresa says. “And I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can achieve any goal you put your mind to.”
For Theresa, her goals include competing in triathlons, taking her “health and wellness to a higher level” and contributing to the Y board.
In addition to her official board work, Theresa, husband, Tim, and three kids are often at the Y participating in running classes, group exercise classes, swim team, and soccer and basketball leagues. During her “down time,” Theresa relaxes by crafting, cooking, running and reading.
Favorite Y community event
Running with the whole family in the Riverbank Run.
If it’s a soft pretzel that tastes like Philly childhood it’s a good thing.
With the mindset of an adult who wants to stay put, hunkered down with his family in Missoula, Mark Thane has been learning over the years about what it takes to make a vibrant, engaged community.
Mark joined the YMCA Board in 2007 because “as a school district employee, I have seen the need for youth programming as a critical element to making/keeping Missoula a high-quality community,” he says. “The variety of options available to kids and families and the financial assistance necessary to make it available to virtually all make the YMCA a tremendous community asset … The Y’s youth programming is hugely important to this town.”
“I like the Riverbank Run and the 3v3 Classic basketball tournament best simply because of the visuals they provide” of the active, involved community he wants to stay a part of. Just to be there and watch the action makes for a pretty great day.
From this base, Mark says, his work on the board has inspired him to “examine my place in and responsibility to the Missoula community.”
Healthy living is another big factor for life with Mark, and the Y plays a role there too. His two teenage daughters have for years participated on Y soccer, basketball and swim teams, while Mark and his wife, Mary, regularly workout in the Health & Wellness Center. And, over the years, they’ve each coached a youth team or two.
No matter how loud it gets, Mark doesn’t move a muscle until the sidelines ref gives him the direct look and signal. A member of the chain gang crew for every home Grizzly football game, the players, coaches and thousands of fans might never know it’s him, but they all pay strict attention to where his stick is placed in the turf.
For this Missoula native: hike and bike anywhere when outside, read when inside.
Rick Wishcamper was raised in New England by parents who believed in being out in the natural environment, community service and hard work. He has a poet’s sensibilities and the published ability to compose large thoughts into efficient spare lines. He has a brain for business and the numbers beyond a spreadsheet.
He sees his personal world as directly larger because it is connected to a local community and simultaneously to the global community.
He loves to run and feel fit. And he loves his wife, Kim, and their three dogs.
So that he joined the YMCA board in 2009 just makes perfect sense.
“What I do at work and what I’m most passionate about is the idea of building community,” says Rick, who in 2003 became a founding partner of Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Development Group. “In my work we deal mostly with the built environment, and the services that are then part of that. My volunteer work with the Community Foundation, Garden City Harvest, the Y and others also goes to the idea of building community. What intrigues me about these groups and how they use my skills is the idea, the concept of building community and an identity within the community. And Missoula has more of that identity than anywhere else I’ve ever been. The Y is just another way of building community.”
After a childhood in Portland, Maine, hunting and fishing with Dad and being around the work of two parents seriously involved with The Nature Conservancy, Rick took off for three months in Kenya with the National Outdoor Leadership School. His college plans took a detour of sorts when, while in Africa, he met up with folks from San Francisco-based Global Roots, a community service organization that places high school and gap-year students in three-month internships. The 18-year-old Rick joined and stayed in Kenya, living with a family in a rural western village and teaching. Including periodic trips home for family visits, Rick lived and taught in Kenya for about two years.
Back in the States, Rick earned a bachelor’s degree in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic. Based in Bar Harbor, Maine, COA states it “is for idealists with elbow grease, for people who see the world as a complex, interconnected place. It’s for people who want to make the world a better place.”
His business interests became engaged and he recalled fishing with his father in Montana. So, a master’s degree in business from The University of Montana followed, along with some university-level teaching. And then his own business in 2003; and pretty much simultaneously, 2004, a master’s degree in poetry from New England College.
Providing one obvious example of his past experience informing his present work, Rick today is actively involved in the Missoula YMCA’s partnership with the YMCA of Sierra Leone and he traveled this summer to the western Africa nation to promote that work. The poet’s mind is employed, whether he’s writing at that moment or not.
Riverbank Run—for the runner who loves community.