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a woman in her 30s with brown hair and glasses stands next to her mom in her 70s with white hair and glasses

Meet YMCA Members: Megan & Joyce


Joyce Shepard and her daughter, Megan, have a deep love and appreciation for animals. The two of them lived together on a 160-acre ranch outside in Frenchtown where they rode horses and cared for a variety of animals including sheep, chickens, Angora goats, rabbits and llamas. At one point, they even had 33 head of cattle before switching to sheep.

“It was just the two of us and our border collie on the ranch. We’d be out there rounding up sheep and dragging calves into the barn,” said Joyce. “Megan grew up on the ranch, so she’s very familiar with animals.”

As a child and a teen, Megan participated in the Western Montana Fair, scoring numerous ribbons for her craft and livestock entries, as well as placing in competitive events like barrel racing. Eventually, the land became too much for just the two of them and so, after 30 years of living on the ranch, Joyce donated it to Opportunity Resources in 2010.

Despite leaving the ranch, Megan never lost her lifelong love of animals. During the week, she works at Opportunity Resources in its shredding and sorting department. On weekends, though, Megan dedicates time to growing her new side business as a certified dog massage therapist.

“At first, Megan had her eye on becoming a dog groomer,” said Joyce. “About three years ago, though, she learned about dog massage therapy on a trip through Great Falls.”

Megan enrolled in an online 12-class course to become a certified dog massage therapist. She spent weekends at her mom’s house studying the textbook, taking quizzes, and completing course videos.

“It’s a pretty strict program and Megan put a lot of work into it,” Joyce shared proudly. “She was getting 85–95% on her tests and is now a certified dog massage therapist.”

Despite a busy schedule, Megan still finds time to come to the Y. She spent her childhood at the Y and participated in many of the Y’s programs, including babysitting. About two years ago, Megan returned to Missoula after a 16-year stint in Helena and rejoined the Y about a year ago.

“I decided to come to the Y because it’s close to work and my friends all come here,” explained Megan. “Swimming is my favorite part of the Y. I also like bowling.”

Every Thursday, the Y’s adaptive bowling program meets at Westside Lanes for a few friendly rounds of bowling.

“I recently got a turkey, which is three strikes in a row,” said Megan.

“My favorite part of the Y is the people,” said Joyce who often joins Megan on the Thursday bowling outings. “You meet a lot of good people here.”

From all of us at the YMCA, congratulations on your new business and your recent bowling achievements! We’re so proud of you.



Category: Member