For 150 years, the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA has been impacting lives. We love to hear stories of history, impact, and inspiration from our members, volunteers and the community. We encourage you to share your story and photos with us. Please tell us what the Y means to you and the impact it has had on your life by either completing the My Y Story card or by emailing us here.

Share Your Y Story





It was 1967 when I began working at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA. I was in tenth grade and had no idea that I would spend the next forty-seven years of my life with this organization.

Not many people know that over half of the Y’s employment base consists of part-time high school and college students. The kind of workforce development taking place here is incredible. For those young people who decide not to stay with the Y throughout their professional career, the skills and attitudes developed here are invaluable.

Over my career, I transitioned between part-time roles to leadership and maintenance before ultimately retiring in September 2015. While this was a hard decision, I knew I needed to focus on family and become the caregiver for my wife who is battling Alzheimer’s disease. I have never lost my passion for the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA.

Throughout the years, the Y has undergone so many changes. The building itself was expanded in 1980. We built additional racquetball courts, a small pool and whirlpool, multi-purpose rooms, and a larger workout room; providing more options for members. In 2000, we added a larger wellness center to accommodate growth. Throughout the years, the most notable change is the number of people being served and impacted by our programs. For instance, years ago the preschool was just a small room and now it occupies half of the second floor.

My favorite part of working for the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA was my coworkers, members, and volunteers. I was surrounded by others who shared similar goals in that we all wanted our members to have a great experience. When I hear people considering becoming members at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA, I tell them they should come up and take a tour because there are a variety of programs, services and volunteer positions.

The various opportunities to create lasting, lifelong social connections are endless. The hardest part about leaving my job was realizing that I would not be interacting with coworkers and volunteers anymore. Nonetheless, I loved serving the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA and hope to return as a volunteer in the future.

MAKING A SPLASH by Ben Loeffelholz

At my very first swimming lesson, it was scary being thrown into something that was so unfamiliar! But despite my fear, I swam across the entire pool all on my own and I was actually pretty good. I was encouraged by great Y staff to keep swimming, and shortly thereafter, I ended up joining the Y’s swim team.

Being a Y kid growing up, I have experienced firsthand the type of impact the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA has on its young members. After graduating from college with a degree in Nonprofit Administration, I jumped at the opportunity to join the staff here.

I am currently the Aquatics Director & Associate Youth Sports Director. My main goal is to ensure that activities are executed, the environment is safe and our members have a great experience with our aquatics and youth sports programs. Aquatic programs have a rich history for the Y. Many often think of the Y as a “gym and swim” and I am excited about communicating all the other programs we offer that impact such a broad audience.

We offer several aerobic classes throughout the day for adults as well as lifeguarding classes and even run our own swim team. But my favorite part about the aquatics program is the sense of community. People really keep tabs on you here! For example, if someone didn’t show up to classes, others will ask about that person’s whereabouts, concerned about him or her.

In the future, I’d like to see more people in our community be involved in the aquatic programs we offer. It’s a safety need for our community residents to know how to swim. Also, increasing the size of our swim team and participation in swim lessons are goals of mine.

Aquatic programs at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA are social, fun and educational and I am humbled to be able to bring such great programs to our community and look forward to continuing on the tradition for the next 150 years of members.


My passion for serving others ultimately called me to volunteer at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA ten years ago. I had not previously been a member, but was searching for ways to impact the community. After serving on the board in a variety of roles from Secretary to President, I am currently serving as the organization’s Capital Campaign Co-Chair.

I love the challenge and recognize the importance of creating a new vision for our local Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA. It’s more than just a swim and gym. Everyone who believes in remaining active and supporting our community has been positively impacted on a larger scale due to the efforts and programming offered at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA.

Through the efforts of our Board, Staff, and Volunteers a continual focus has been placed on childcare, youth sports, health and wellness, senior programs, restorative justice and our much needed domestic violence shelter.
I was most struck by the large number of lives that are impacted on a daily basis through the Y’s services. The Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA has become a place for people to find support, resources and caring for one another.

It is exciting to be celebrating our local Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA‘s 150 year anniversary. I am sure I can speak for the Board, Staff, and Volunteers when I say, “We see no signs of slowing down anytime soon.” As we look into the future towards the next 150 years a quote by Art Williams says it best, “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

A ZEST FOR LIFE by Ron Bries

One of the most popular and long-standing forms of volunteering at the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA has been to make freshly squeezed lemonade at the annual Dubuque County Fair. Kids and adults alike enjoy running the lemonade stand as they connect with smiling faces, serve refreshing drinks and bring the community a little closer together.

Just ask Ron Bries, a volunteer who has been working the Y’s lemonade stand for the last 40+ years. “I love helping at the lemonade stand each year. I am an old farm boy at heart and I like to work hard for my community. I really enjoy seeing all the animals and families each year at the fair, while helping out a great community organization.”

Ron was first introduced to the Y’s lemonade stand while working for his first employer. Here, his boss and mentor recommended he participate in the annual fundraising event for the YMCA, which remains to be a significant fundraiser for the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA today. Over the years, Ron has successfully recruited numerous volunteers for the lemonade stand and shares stories to the younger kids, like selling lemonade with no ice.

Ron embodies the heart and soul and mission of the Y. He is kind, generous and caring and is very community-centric. He has strong values, faith and a willingness to bring everyone together, working together, to make this community better for everyone. He is what you think of the Y of yesterday and the Y of tomorrow.

It is because of volunteers like Ron Bries that the Dubuque Community YMCA/YWCA has been able to impact the Tri-State community for the last 150 years.




Roberta Schaub’s story:

Schaubs-C-RCI credit the Y that I still have my husband with me! Thirteen years ago, he had a slight heart attack and had a stent put in. The doctor recommended swimming, so he took lessons at the Y and now swims laps two times a week (we live in Bellevue) and works out in the exercise room. He was my caregiver when I had a total hip replacement a year ago. We will celebrate 62 years together this year! So we’re enjoying life and are still around to enjoy 11 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.