Y Stories

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and happenings from the Ozarks Regional YMCA and its 7 branches.

Safety Around Water

Roy Blunt YMCA of Bolivar- Your ears will not prevent your child from drowning. There won’t be splashing or thrashing or coughing sounds. There will just be silence. The event will happen so quickly that later you will say, “They were just there.” Preventing drownings requires constant attention around water—it doesn’t matter if it’s a tub, a pool or a lake. Your attention is the most important factor in saving children from drowning deaths. Another tool to keep kids safe is to teach them to swim. In fact, the Y pioneered the development of group swimming lessons over one hundred years ago. They continue to teach over a million kids how to swim each year. In 2015 the Ozarks Regional YMCA was

Member Spotlight: Gerard Hennessey

Pat Jones- “It’s a beautiful day in the Ozarks!” Gerard Hennessey (who will be 90 years old this October) announces as he walks through the front door of the Pat Jones YMCA this morning; I can hear him from my desk. It doesn’t matter if it cloudy, pouring rain, or sunny and clear. He grew up in the Ozarks; every day is beautiful to him, and he loves to share that. He jokes with me that he doesn’t even really have a Y membership; he simply engages the front desk staff in talking about the beautiful day, and they too distracted to check him in. You may have seen him in his Campaign Style Army hat, walking with his tall walking stick. Gerard’s relationship with the Y goes back pretty far. He ha

Youth Development Through Art

Most people in the United States will be a YMCA member or program participant at some point in their life, but it all has to start with a first time. For some, it may be through a sport or childcare. Others drop in after school, learn to swim, or have a field trip from their school to the YMCA. In Monett, we also have some unique opportunities such as roller skating, disc golf and a high ropes course. Through these opportunities, we build character, offer role models, and teach new skills. Youth Development is a very important part of the Monett Area YMCA and the Arts and Humanities are an important way in which we accomplish this. Arts and Humanities have been a part of the Monett YMCA sinc

At Camp Wakonda, "I'm Third"

YMCA Camp Wakonda- Social Responsibility is built into the core of all we do at Camp Wakonda. Starting with our ‘I’m Third’ camp motto our campers learn to put ‘God first in their lives, others second and themselves Third.’ Our college age staff learn this motto during staff training along with the YMCA core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Faith & Friendship begin to embody them and create a Camp Culture based on these principles. Long before the campers arrive the staff is looking out for one another so when the campers do arrive they immediately notice how different camp is from almost anywhere else. Seeing their counselors, who they look up to and revere, living in a s

When We All Give A Dollar

Give Ozarks is one of my favorite days of the year because it shows the collective impact we can all have when we align our individual contributions. When we all give a dollar, big things happen in the lives of those around us. Donations that on their own may seem small; together create lasting change through community art or services for the “least of these” in our hometowns. On May 3rd, 11,804 online donations were made to approximately 220 agencies across 70 communities totaling $1,041,456.73. Some of the great causes that received support on that day include a new playground for the Arc of the Ozarks, a production of the Nutcracker at Springfield Ballet, Ozark Food Harvest’s Weekend Back

What the Y Means To Me

The Y is a place to meet real people from all walks of life. Our community brings together all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to form an atmosphere of acceptance. We appreciate each person’s inner beauty….all for the greater good of each individual. It is a privilege to work at the G. Pearson Ward YMCA. I get to be a part of the Y family and have a small part in our member’s success stories. I’ve had participants tell me they have less pain, walk easier, or just move more easily overall, regardless of age. We all have our limitations, and the pool is a great place to put aside pride and work at whatever level necessary to heal and strengthen our bodies. Our class allows everyone to have

The Future Is In Our Hands

Ozarks Regional YMCA- The Ozarks Regional YMCA board of Managers approved a memorandum of understanding and consulting agreement with Housing Plus, LLC and Creason Development. Although this is a long-term project with many hurdles to cross, this MOU sets forth the mutual agreement to investigate this opportunity further. The proposal is to repurpose the G. Pearson Ward YMCA and to incorporate approximately 40 units of quality energy efficient affordable housing together with preserving space for existing Y programming. This amazing project will provide a number of benefits to our Y and our community. For our Y facility, this includes a complete rehabilitation with new construction, new mech

Helping you achieve your goals

Healthy looks different on everyone, and at the Pat Jones Y, our personal trainers aim to help members with their fitness goals, no matter what they might be. For some, that means an aesthetic goal—maybe dropping ten pounds, or fitting in to a pair of pants from another time—for some, like member Vivian Wasson, it simply means being able to learn functional movements to help with day-to-day tasks. In April 2015, Wasson had brain surgery, and her world changed. Though she’d been a member since 2008, she now found that she had to spend most of her time in bed, recovering. “That was really all I could do,” Wasson says. “I was letting my brain heal.” Wasson originally found her home in Silver S

Keeping Nelda on her feet

If it wasn’t for the Y, Nelda Wright might not be able to walk today. With no cartilage in her knees, her legs cause her constant pain. Because her physical therapists encouraged her to do exercise to manage that pain, Nelda makes it a point to come to the Y every day. She works with YMCA Personal Trainer Jill Kleier and takes her TRX class, uses the NuStep machine, lifts weights and swims regularly to avoid surgery. Nelda says she can come to the Y and work out and hurt, or stay home and hurt worse. A positive, friendly person, Nelda has been a member at the G. Pearson Ward YMCA for seven years. For four of those years, Nelda was homeless, but was able to hold a part-time job. She was part

Camp Wakonda's lake dedicated

May 6, 2016 was a great day at Camp Wakonda with the dedication of the new lake. This lake project was made possible through the combined donation of Ryan & Brandi O’Reilly and the YMCA of the USA. Campers will now not only be able to participate in canoeing, kayaking and fishing as they have done in the past but will now also be able to enjoy swimming, water trampolining, blobbing and fly fishing. The cost of the entire project was $186,815 which included the timber removal, excavation, dam construction and the aeration system. The timber was harvested by Custom Timber Harvesting from Mt Vernon, MO, some of which will be used to side the old pool house/new nature center. Much of the rest of

Silver Sneakers: Still Going Strong

Ninety-two-year-old Alice Montagno is not afraid to try new things. Two years ago she started coming to the Y’s Silver Sneakers Muscular Strength & Range of Movement classes three days a week. She says she loves the class, loves to move and enjoys the workout and loves the feeling she gets after class. The Ozark Mountain Family YMCA has offered Silver Sneakers classes for 10 years. This 45-minute class is designed to increase strength, range of movement, agility, balance and coordination to improve participants’ functional capacities, physical fitness and sense of well-being. These unintimidating classes are appropriate for individuals who are fit and active, as well as those who are sedenta

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