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SHARED STORIES

From The Riley Family

Location Visited: Trout Lodge
# of People on Trip: 5
Years Visited: July 2016

What does visiting YMCA of the Ozarks mean to you?
My family recently vacationed at the YMCA Trout Lodge in Potosi, MO for the first time, and I can truly say that we all had an absolute blast! While it's true that the rooms are fairly basic with no TVs or phones, we were extremely pleased with our accommodations as well as with the attention shown to us by their staff. NONE of us missed having a TV in our room - not once - and that includes 3 teenagers (in fact, I considered it a plus!) We were all just way too busy having a great time making memories! :) Our loft room had plenty of space for all 5 of us, but honestly, we weren't in the room much because there were so many activities to enjoy right outside our door. I almost don't know where to begin! When we arrived, we were immediately blown away by the beauty of the area - acres and acres of it! Every time I looked out at our view of Sunnen Lake, it took my breath away! Many of the activities, and all of our meals, were included in the price of our stay, and the fees for the activities that weren't included were very reasonable and affordable for our family. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to vacation at a place where you are not nickeled and dimed your entire stay! We started off our stay with a ride on the Alpine Swing, which everyone enjoyed. The young people that assisted us with this activity (I believe from New Zealand) were so helpful and encouraging, which ensured that we all had a great time. Next, we went on the twilight boat float and sipped on root beer floats as we explored the lake at sunset from a pontoon boat. Leon was great and took the time to chat with us and answer our many questions (our teenagers also had a good time shooting hoops with him in the rec center during our stay!) After that, we enjoyed a luau at the lake with other guests, and then tried the moonlight zip, which was also run by helpful staff who made sure we had a lot of fun! The next day, we explored the mud cave where we were fascinated by rock formations and the fool's gold above our heads! A special shout out to "Bunk" who expertly guided us through the cave, making sure we were comfortable and knowledgeable about our surroundings! We were so glad we had this experience - another one to cross off our bucket lists! Bunk, a very delightful young lady from Ireland, also assisted us with archery (a few of us even got bull's-eyes!) and a wet and wild banana boat ride that was so much fun we scheduled another one for later in the week! Spencer helped Bunk with the banana boat and also went out of her way to assist our kids with bike rentals and to provide us with information about activities. We also appreciated the helpfulness and good humor of the young man who took us on our second banana boat ride and was in charge of karaoke at "Trout Lodge Idol" - a great time! We had fun participating and cheering on other singers - one gentlemen even serenaded his wife on their balcony with a wonderful rendition of Nat King Cole's "L.O.V.E." Everyone was so friendly, and we met so many nice people! I can't say enough about the young people that assisted us with our activities - their knowledge, attention to safety, and wonderful senses of humor really made our vacation special! They also guided our way through fishing, riflery, paintball, horseback riding, peddle boats, paddle boards, kayaks, and jon boats, and more - whew! You guys rock! We also spent a lot of time in the beach area enjoying the rope swing, slides, water trampoline, and just swimming in the beautiful, clear water. We were all amazed that we could look down into the water and see the sand and shells on the bottom as well as the friendly fish swimming around our feet - just delightful! The 3 buffet meals per day that were included with our stay made it possible for us to focus on nothing but having fun together our whole trip instead of having to shop for food, cook it, and clean it up afterwards. Food was plentiful, mealtimes were flexible, and they offered so much variety that there was always something for everyone. The ribs and French dip roast beef sandwiches were probably some of my favorite dinners, and the bacon, eggs, and biscuits and gravy were great at breakfast too! Every meal was all-you-care-to-eat, and none of us had a bad meal the entire time we were there. The freshly made cookies were especially good, and the kitchen staff went out of their way to make sure my daughter, who is allergic to nuts and peanuts, had safe and enjoyable meals during our stay. The hardest part was leaving, and since breakfast and lunch were included on the day we checked out, we decided to stick around and enjoy ourselves at the lake until we had to hit the road to drive back home about 4 p.m. I don't usually post reviews after trips, but we all had such a wonderful time at the YMCA Trout Lodge that I wanted to share it with others who may be considering a stay here. Do it - you won't be disappointed! Last but not least, special thanks to Nicolle for all she did to ensure that my family had a wonderful vacation! We can't think of anywhere else we'd rather go next summer - the YMCA Trout Lodge gets a 5+ star rating from us! We also want you to know that we hope you and your staff keep on doing everything exactly the way you are doing it right now because, in our opinion, you've got it just right! :)

From The Fuller Family

Location Visited: Trout Lodge
# of People on Trip: 3
Years Visited: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

What does visiting YMCA of the Ozarks mean to you?
It means being together as a family, away from phones, TVs and tablets. It means making memories that will last a lifetime. It is something my family and I look forward to you every year.

Please describe a special family moment or bonding experience.:
Every moment at the Lodge has become a memory. Of course the Haunted Hayride and boat rides are fun, but the simple things have become some of our fondest memories like taking a hike or completing a scavenger hunt, which my daughter still talks about a year later.

How was your YMCA experience different from other destinations?
The Trout Lodge is different because while you are there everything is taken care of. We do not have to plan meals, wait in lines or feel exhausted at the end of the day. We are free to enjoy ourselves at our own pace. There are so many things to do (for free even) at any time of the day. The employees are always such a joy to interact with. Everyone is smiling and willing to help. We gave our daughter the choice of going to a very popular kids destination this year or returning to the Lodge for a fifth year and without hesitation she picked the Lodge.

From The Silva Family

Location Visited: Trout Lodge
# of People on Trip: 4
Years Visited: Third Time

What does visiting YMCA of the Ozarks mean to you?
We want to say thank you for a wonderful weekend. We had so much fun! Everyone was so friendly and accommodating and the food was great. Loved the chicken and wild rice soup!! It is such a blessing to leave the stresses of our daily life in St. Louis and retreat to the beauty and fun of Trout. Our five year old Julia did not want to leave and she is asking when we can go back. She had so much fun painting her heart ceramic and took her beaded crown to school for show and tell. She also can't stop talking about the ride she took on Turbo. The evening Easter egg hunt with flashlights was also a huge hit! Christian our 18 month old also had so much fun enjoying the freedom of lots of room to run! It will be so much to watch him be able to do more and more as he grows.

Please describe a special family moment or bonding experience.:
The excitement of getting there and exploring the beautiful lake and nature.

From The Powell Family

Location Visited: Trout Lodge
# of People on Trip: 4
Years Visited: 2014

What does visiting YMCA of the Ozarks mean to you?
This was my first time. i invited my son and a friend of his and my friend. all four of us had an awesome time. extra-ordinary! rio, the bird man, is so knowledgeable and professional! twig / alexander went the extra mile to help us have our passover seder. babs did a terrific job painting our faces and telling us about all her great experience.

Please describe a special family moment or bonding experience.:
The horse ride in the woods was special for all four of us. i saw a grey heron take off which was magnificent. on monday nite , a bald eagle graced us with his presence. he flew right past us in the dining room.

How was your YMCA experience different from other destinations?
I liked it especially because if was a nice drive from st louis - not too long to get there or get back home. the dogwood trees were beginning to bloom. my phone did not work there, so it was like a retreat! away from the modern world yet still in missouri. even Nelson, the director, came over and introduced himself~ which I really LIKED!

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