John Lunseth III got hooked on the YMCA when he was five and attended Camp Manitou. Over the next few years, he moved on to Camp Christmas Tree, Ridgedale summer programs, Camp Ihduhapi and Camp Warren, where his love of camping and the outdoors was allowed to flourish. When he aged out as a camper, John took a job as a dish boy at Camp Warren in 1998. Over the next eight years, he held positions with increasing responsibility and pursued a degree in outdoor recreation. After Camp Warren, John shared his talents among several different Y camps and branch locations as a leader in youth development and camping services. His team-building skills earned him an adjunct professorship in leadership development at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. John left the YMCA as an employee in 2018 after 20 years.

John started volunteering at YIG in 2007 and joined the YIG transportation team in 2010. 

What do you do in your day job: I work as Senior Internal Trainer for Customer Success at SPS Commerce in Minneapolis teaching new hires how to lead and care for our customers. I also serve on the Board at YMCA Camp Ihduhapi.

What is your favorite part about volunteering at YIG: In a given day at YIG, there are a hundred bus moves with thousands of kids, and my team and I work really hard to make sure they are greeted with jokes, smiles, and genuine care. From blizzards to 30 below with windchill, I see it as my job to be out there, making the magic of YIG come to life!

Who is someone you admire: I admire anyone who strives to make the world a more loving and empathetic place.

What did you want to be when you grew up: I wanted to be a camp director! I wanted to create a place where people can learn through play and connection. A place where young people are allowed to discover the value they bring to the world. A place where they can learn to love the natural world and move beyond the differences that separate us. Camp forever changed my life and I wanted to be in a position where it could do the same for others. 

What is the toughest part of managing transportation at YIG: The life of a transportation program specialist is focused on the safety and well-being of everyone going to and from the Capitol and meals. Over the years, I have learned to both endure the cold and make the process of boarding a bus the highlight of a delegate’s day!