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state mother of the year
Crystal Young, 2024 Wyoming Mother of the Year.

Crystal Young

February 13, 2024



“Unique, there are no two crystals in the world alike,” explained her mother when asked how the name Crystal was chosen. Raised the oldest of eight children on a ranch in southwest Wyoming, hard work and family unity were required for survival. She graduated as valedictorian in 1984 from Big Piney High. She completed a Bachelor of Science and became a Registered Dietitian. After college, she married Jeff Young and moved to Omaha Nebraska. In the next 21 years they welcomed 3 boys and 7 girls to their family. Joy in the process is a motto that has exemplified in Crystal’s hobbies including completing marathon with 6 weeks training, successfully harvesting a garden in the high Wyoming desert, playing the piano and reading. She helps the High School Robotics team with her husband, assists with an Interfaith youth group in LaBarge Wyoming, and most importantly nurtures seven delightful grandchildren.

Parenting Philosophy

I believe children are inherently good with a desire to please their parents. Parents can be most effective as they trust their children with unconditional love. I trusted my children to make good choices, to be responsible and to be service-minded. I wanted my children to know from experience that I would always be there for them. I would never willfully leave them in need. That means I consciously connect with my children at all ages. Time with children cannot be undervalued. Being honest with myself, I daily recommit to being emotionally, mentally, and physically present. From my experience few if any teaching moments should be perceived as punishment, rather as a natural consequence of a decision by the child. Then I help them learn that consequences usually are not isolated. As children become aware of how their behavior impacts others, they become more outward focused. They desire to be a positive force in the world around them. In our home that means they will start to voluntarily clean up after themselves, get themselves packed and out the door on time for appointments, and be socially aware of the needs of others or service oriented. Mothering is a delightful endeavor because it carries the greatest risk for pain if children make destructive choices, it also carries the most reward as we consecrate our lives to developing unconditional love for the children who we have the privilege to raise or influence.

Motherhood and Community

Community involvement requires leading by example. The following three experiences illustrate how I used my personal life to model a belief system for my children and be a positive influence in the community: I ran my first marathon at age 38 in Sioux City, South Dakota. I wanted to have an experience that would be evidence that a person can do hard things – seemingly impossible things if we exercise faith and diligently prepare. I went from running 2 miles to 26 in six weeks. I prayed for help with a plan. I trained with the same hills as the course; I stayed on my feet 30 minutes longer each week and stayed within 30 minutes of the 7 children waiting at home. I finished with no injuries! And was able to share the lessons I learned with a large group. Sometimes we run, walk, or crawl but we can keep going with faith that we will succeed. The second experience my eleven-year-old daughter and I sold homemade sour dough bread door to door. Our promise was bread delivered within three hours of coming out of the oven. After a couple of weeks of knocking on doors, my daughter said, “Mom at first, I was afraid and didn’t want to do this. But now I know what to say and I am confident in my ability.” The customers responded with “Oh, the smell of fresh bread and it tastes so delicious!” Personally, I developed business skills but most importantly, I “mothered” each home just a little with a loaf of homemade bread and brightened the world. The third activity in 2010 involved taking the challenge to live off the food in our home for 3 months and blog about it. The goal: learn how to be self-reliant and be an example to others. We did it! Many followed the blog and were motivated to learn how to cook from scratch. When the pandemic hit in 2020, my children were prepared. Each of these activities challenged me personally, set an example for my children and influenced a larger community for good.