Dana Boyle

Dana Boyle

Dana Boyle in Her Own Words


“My job in business development and community engagement took me to the Minneapolis side of town every day for decades. Once I retired, I decided to focus on Woodbury, where I’ve lived for 24 years. I had also just earned a Master’s degree in Human-Centered Design at the University of Minnesota when Roger Green — the Founder of Woodbury Thrives — approached me about getting involved in this non-profit. I relished the idea of helping to improve my community, seeing how I could bring a design-thinking approach to the concept of “Well-Being for All.”


“I gravitated toward the Thrives Social-Connectedness Committee. Like many of our volunteers, I find it personally stimulating to work closely with others on an important mission. I enjoy that we are an intergenerational group, although we all wish we had even people with more diverse backgrounds on our committee. That said, it’s been rewarding to see how many people we can pull together at our Coffee, Tea and Connections events, and I enjoy the partnerships with the City of Woodbury, our local YMCA, AARP, M Health Fairview, and others.”


“Most of my volunteer work in Woodbury centers around being a steward, with a handful of others, of the Tamarack Nature Preserve. I am a Minnesota Master Naturalist and the Conservation Co-Chair of the St. Paul Garden Club, and have recently been asked to join the Board of a national non-profit called the Monarch Joint Venture. With all of my engagements, including church, I have intentionally crafted a “volunteer career” focused on bringing together Nature and people.“


“Being a Girl Scout was formative for me because it taught me how to create a life of service to others — and this includes the natural world, of which we humans are only a part,” said Dana. “Volunteering serves many purposes. On a personal level, it keeps me connected to others and gives me a sense of belonging, now that I’m out of the work force and not actively parenting anymore. I gain fulfillment in tackling – as a team – the challenging goal of helping our diverse community become healthier and more connected. Many active seniors have experience and energy that we don’t want to squander once we retire. If we can find ways to add value to our communities, it’s good for us and for society.”


One fall morning in 2019, Dana and her former Co-Chair of the Social Connectedness Committee, Laura Fairweather, came up with the idea of a FREE community ‘campfire’ sing-along at Woodbury Central Park. They were hoping for a turnout of 50 or so. Dana shares the story of what happened next.

“Our committee members showed up that morning at the amphitheater in their Woodbury Thrives t-shirts and big smiles, ready to greet the crowd. Only a few people trickled in. I’m an optimistic person, but even I started to get nervous. Soon, though, people from the YMCA wandered over, and mothers with small children who’d been visiting the library joined us. We started in as a van from Woodbury Senior Living arrived with about a dozen of their residents, and then a large group of about 30 adult students from the English Learners class came in.”

“We all sang together, which was fun, but the real laughs began when we got to ‘Old MacDonald Had A Farm,’ because we took the microphone into the audience and asked our international friends what animals say in their country. Cats say “meow” pretty much all over the world, but you wouldn’t believe the variety of the roosters!”

“I think we all had a great time — and our final count was around 100 participants of all ages and cultural backgrounds. It was really rewarding.”


“Woodbury Thrives is such an easy and enjoyable way to meet others and serve your community at the same time,” said Dana. “Being a part of Woodbury Thrives keeps my pilot light on and catalyzes me to always be thinking of ways to bring community together.”