Nerestant Story

Jon RuprechtMission

“The Y is more than just sports for us, it means everything to us.”

That’s how Himler and Rebecca Nerestant describe their love of the Y. Busy parents of four children ages two to eight and guardians to three teenagers, they are frequent visitors, enjoying multiple programs and services. You name it, they’ve tried it: youth sports, taekwondo, swimming lessons, kid zone, playing basketball in the gym, cardio workouts and weights.

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, Rebecca and Himler were even able to have some occasional Saturday “date mornings” where they could work out, walk around the track or play ping pong while their children enjoyed the kid zone.

Grounded in their Christian faith, Himler and Rebecca also appreciate the mission of the Y. Himler, Ezekiel, 8, and Gideon, 6, typically rise two mornings a week to read the Bible prior to heading to the Y to shoot hoops – at 6 a.m.! “The Bible is our foundation and guides as we make our decisions throughout the day,” Himler shares. He also enjoys a Bible study with friends at the Y.

Members since 2018, the Nerestant’s also receive a scholarship which helps to cover a portion of their membership and program fees.

“Without the scholarship, our kids would not be able to live the full athletic lives they are experiencing. The Y allows us to help them explore so many options,” Himler says.

The Nerestants believe that their time together at the Y shapes and solidifies their family’s foundation. Rebeccca warmly says, “The Y helps us to form solid memories as a family that our children will carry into their adulthood.”

Cleaning the Air You Breathe

Greg GackY News

The St. Cloud Area Family YMCA is excited to announce that Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization has been installed in our HVAC system. This air cleaning system will improve the air quality throughout the facility and create an even safer environment on top of the health and safety measures already in place. Bipolar ionization is gaining widespread popularity as a way to help keep the air protected from airborne contaminants, including COVID-19.

“The health and wellbeing of our members, guests, and employees is our top priority,” says Greg Gack, CEO. “Our staff and volunteers are always searching for new, innovative opportunities to improve the Y experience, which is why we’re excited to partner with McDowall Comfort Management and install this technology for exceptional indoor air quality. This partnership also includes a very generous donation from McDowall, for which we are very grateful.”

How It Works

The technology works by producing positively and negatively charged ions, which cluster and surround airborne particles, helping them gain mass so they’re easily caught in an air filter. It also helps to neutralize pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Should COVID-19 be present, the ions created by the air cleaning system will work to inactivate 99.4% of the virus within 30 minutes (92.6% within 15 minutes and 84.2% within 10 minutes). Furthermore, the system does not produce harmful byproducts, are ozone-free certified (UL 2998 listed), and save on energy costs.

The Benefits

Particles Reduced:

This technology reduces airborne particles through agglomeration. The ions attach to the airborne particles and the particles are subsequently attracted to one another, effectively increasing their mass and size. The air filtration system easily captures the larger particles.

Odors Neutralized:

During the process chemical, outdoor, and other odors are broken down into basic harmless compounds, leaving the indoor air fresh smelling and free of odor causing VOC’s.

Pathogens Killed:

During the needlepoint bipolar ionization process, this technology attacks and kills viruses, mold spores, and bacteria. The ions steal away the hydrogen from the pathogens, leaving them to die and leaving you with clean and healthy indoor air.

Energy Saved:

This environmentally friendly cleaning process allows commercial buildings to significantly reduce the amount of outdoor air required to operate. This equates to a safer, more comfortable environment that requires less energy to condition.

A Community Leader in Health & Safety

Learn more about what we’re doing to keep you and your family active and healthy

Safe Operations
Health & Safety video

Let us help you achieve your goals.

Greg GackHealth & Fitness

Hop on Google and search the reasons why goal setting makes you more successful.  (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

Study after study has proven that writing SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive goals is the best way to have success. That includes fitness!

Read More

Why the Y – Betsy & Kenzie

Jon RuprechtMission

For this family of 3, the Y is their “happy place.” Long-time members, Brian and Betsy and their five-year old daughter Kenzie hit a significant financial rough patch in 2019. Both of their cars needed work, Brian struggled with employment issues
and they have had large medical bills due to Kenzie’s severe food allergy syndrome. Betsy’s work as a housekeeper at St. Cloud Hospital has been their only steady source of income.

Frequent visitors to the Y’s pool and Kid Zone, Betsy and Kenzie love coming to the Y. “Kenzie and I often come to sit and talk about our day in the comfy chairs and relax. We love just spending time together at the Y.” As their bills mounted, Betsy cut every possible expense before considering terminating their family membership. She was relieved to find out about the Y’s scholarship program.

In 2020, Kenzie enjoyed her days at the Y’s summer camp and continued into the fall when the program was extended to help families dealing with continually changing school schedules due to COVID-19 restrictions. “The Y’s scholarship program helps out people like us in rare financial situations,” Betsy said. “I never thought I would have to go to the food shelf or ask for scholarships.”

Fitness facilities closing. Virtual Y, Day Camp, Supervised Visitation continue

Greg GackUncategorized

Dear Friends,

Each year for the last 10 years, we’ve gathered at the Y on Thanksgiving morning to promote exercise, community, and togetherness. It’s become a family tradition in so many Central Minnesota families and a favorite day for our YMCA team.

This year, I will still be thankful for your membership in our community. We will still run or walk a 5k, but we won’t be able to warm ourselves in the Y building.

Read More

YMCA to Suspend Services

Greg GackUncategorized

Dear Members of the Y Family,

In light of the uncertainty created by the increased impact of COVID-19, closure of schools and the increased need to provide essential services for the most vulnerable in our community, we are confronted with a moment of truth. How best can our YMCA serve the community and support efforts to keep our community healthy and safe?

The Y Leadership Team and Board of Directors has been in close contact with the City of St. Cloud and Stearns County Health. We have decided that at 9 p.m. tonight, on Monday, March 16, the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA building will suspend services inside the building. This includes our wellness center, pools and fitness areas. With information changing daily, we will re-evaluate on March 30. 

It is in times of darkness that families shine their greatest light on one another; I think our brightest days are ahead. For 50 years here in St. Cloud, our Y Family has walked in the direction of challenges, looking for solutions. 

This is all happening quickly, so I don’t have a full list of the innovative solutions our team is currently working on. I can tell you: 

  • We will keep you updated on the situation via email, on our website and on social media.
  • We will be active on social media during this time, encouraging you and the rest of our family to remain on your health journey, and to support everyone’s wellbeing and mental health.
  • We’d also like to introduce you to Y360, an on-demand fitness program for adults and kids to do at home. You can access it today!

At this time we are examining options to re-deploy our staff and resources to assist the needs of our broader community. 

However, we can’t do it alone. We need your help. We ask that you give careful consideration to maintaining your membership during this time of uncertainty. Your support will allow us to continue our mission of strengthening and supporting our communities.

If you prefer to put your membership on hold, please contact us and we will do that for you. COVID-19 has created enormous uncertainty; however, how we manage it is in our control. Join us in creating a history that demonstrates how our family came together and served those who needed us the most.

Thank you for your support as we work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our community 

Best regards,

Greg Gack
Executive Director
St. Cloud Area Family YMCA

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Beat the Winter Blues

Greg GackHealth & Fitness

While the weather has been looking nicer, it’s still winter here in Minnesota.

Looking for some go-to activities for your family to beat the winter blues? Well look no further!

  1. Indoor Snowball fight: Use rolled up socks or gloves to make any room in your house a battleground.
  2. Make a Fort: Do you remember making blanket forts as a child? Use blankets, furniture, and pillows to make a great fort in the comfort of your living room!
  3. Make Play Dough: Young or old, everyone loves Play Dough. Play Dough is quick to make and kids can play with it for hours. Follow the recipe below.
    • Ingredients:
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 3/4 cup salt
      • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
      • 2 cups lukewarm water
      • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil (coconut oil works too)
      • Food coloring, optional
      • Quart sized bags
    • Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large pot. Next add the water and oil. If you’re only making one color, add in the color now as well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball. Remove from heat and then place inside a gallon sized bag or onto wax paper. Allow to cool slightly and then knead until smooth. If you’re adding colors after, divide the dough into balls (for how many colors you want) and then add the dough into the quart sized bags. Start with about 5 drops of color and add more to brighten it. Knead the dough, while inside the bag so it doesn’t stain your hands. Once it’s all mixed together you’re ready to PLAY.
  4. Make Puff-Paint: Make any painting 3-D with homemade puff-paint! Use equal parts glue and foaming shaving cream to make your creations come to life! You can also add food coloring to make your paintings pop even more!
  5. Come to the YMCA! One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to stay active. By coming to the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA, you can experience everything from swimming to basketball and stay active during the winter months!

Read More