Real Member Stories

The YMCA is a non-profit organization focusing on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibilities. Through fundraising, we strive to make YMCA membership and programs possible for everyone. See below for some of the ways the Dodge City Family YMCA has made a difference in our community.


My Life Blossomed

By Gretchen Torrez
"My journey with the YMCA started almost 15 years ago.  I started at that time determined to improve my health, lower my weight and strengthen my back after having a vehicle accident a few years prior.  Beginning this journey made me very nervous as I have always considered myself an introvert and was very hesitant to be in a group of people.  With my goal in mind, I continued to power through the fear and each day became a little easier and in return I became much stronger both physically and mentally.  Little did I know that the beginning of my fitness journey would lead me to other areas of the YMCA.  I became part of a Moms Morning Out group where we all met, our kids played and we stay-at-home moms began friendships that after 11 years have continued to grow. As my children grew older, they began to participate in the sports activities where I not only cheered them on from the sideline but began volunteering to coach the sports.  This opened my heart even more for the love of the children and what was becoming so important: giving back to the community and reaching others.  
Continuing on my YMCA mission I became an employee for the Camp Dodge Summer Program, along with volunteering my time at the Fun Nights.  My time spent during the summer with Camp Dodge gained me so much more than a paycheck.  We became family to so many of the kids we were with day in and day out for the majority of the summer.  I gained so much inside of myself by being a role model to the kids.  The fun nights have opened my eyes to see the joy the “team” of YMCA employees and volunteers can give to so many families that don’t have the opportunities to get out that many of us take for granted. So where do I conclude this, well my life blossomed immensely on what started as a basic fitness goal and in turn brought me so many new values, hopes, goals and a vision for my life, thanks to entering the door to the YMCA.  So I encourage you to seek out what the YMCA has to offer, become a member, long for a new start, long for growth within, see the vision to become a better version of yourself and for others."

Zero Judgement

By Tamara Rhemer 

"My story starts out like many others. I have been obese all my life. As a child, people politely referred to be as "husky." As a young adult, I was told that I was "pretty in the face," but it was "too bad I was so heavy." Throughout my adult life I took pride in taking care of others. I believe to this day that God put me on this earth with a servant's heart and my journey is to care for others. 

In January 2017, after years of not taking care of myself, I had learned that I had Type 2 Diabetes. At this point, I was frightened, and was then blessed with a strength of passion and willpower. I began a difficult journey of clean eating and a strength to walk 20 minutes a day. At 316+ pounds, that is not an easy task! By the end of June, I had lost over 60 pounds, and had control over my blood sugar numbers. At this point I had more energy and my health was improving! I now needed something more. 

It was summer nad my 7 children, who are all very athletic, needed something active to do. I debated about joining the YMCA. I was skeptical about joining a fitness center. All the looks and judgement scared me. 

When I decided to goin in and inquire about a membership for my kids, I was greeted and made very comfortable at the beginning. After a tour and conversation with Stacie, I had decided to include myself in the membership.

My first day in, I had no clue where to start or what to do. Stacie Droste, whom I call my #1 Blessing, sat down with me and helped create a fitness journey, which has changed my life in many ways.

The next day, I showed up to WORK! As I was trying to get my workout situated, I caught myself staring at other members, studying what they were doing and how they were doing it, when I finally got up the nerve to ask one of the members a question about his set he was doing. His name was Alex and he then became my #2 Two Blessing. I was surprised to find not only was Alex willing to answer a question coming from a weird old lady he had caught staring at him multiple times (Me, I'm the old lady!), he became one of my biggest supporters! I have found that to be true about all the members and staff. Everyone there is so willing to help and there was zero judgement. 

I had found a fitness home, where you are welcomed, supported and cheered on daily! I have built beautiful relationships in these short 6 months!

Through this journey at the YMCA, I also have been able to help and bless others through my blessings. Through all of these blessings and support, my journey started at 316 pounds. I am currently at 197 pounds, and I have all but reversed my Type 2 Diabetes and I did it solely with diet and exercise. Not only do I feel amazing physically, but because of my Dodge City YMCA, my heart is full every day that I am here with members and staff.

The YMCA has become my favorite place to be, my happy place! My home away from home!!