This volume of stories, poems and art was conceived after Crow Wing Energized participated in an initiative developed by Minnesota Department of Health and Familywise entitled 100 Cups of Coffee. We renamed our project 100 Community Conversations. The research design was by Melissa Adolphson of Wilder Research. The idea of this initiative is that too often people who make policies and design programs are out of touch with the people they are supposed to serve. The full report of this initiative is on our website.

The broad criteria for interviewing people were those who are closest to the problems but furthest removed from organizational decision making. We operationally defined that as those people with lived experience of mental illness, addiction, disability, incarceration, black or brown skins and LGBTQ+ folks. In some cases we interviewed the parents, grandparents, or caretakers of these people.

Among the interviewers, we had an experience of “empathy stretch”. To sit down with someone with life experiences different from our own gave us insight into and compassion for people who are often stereotyped and seen as less than “normal” or “good” people. It was decided that we may be able to improve the mental and social-emotional health of our community by telling the stories of these marginalized people.

All contributors to this work have had a connection to Crow Wing County at some time. They may not presently reside in the county, but all have spent portions of their lives inside our geographic boundaries. Some of the experiences referred to did not actually happen in Crow Wing County, but none the less have affected the lives of the contributors.

Some portions of this volume may be hard to process for some readers, as the content can be raw and unfiltered at times. Readers should try to remember that the authors are voicing their personal perspectives and memories, and that perception and memory are real for these contributors.

Bold Yet Seldom Told is our book and video series where we hope to create a more compassionate and belonging community. We hope readers’ thinking and emotions are stimulated by these stories, poems and artwork. We encourage readers to talk about their reactions with family, friends, and co-workers. Together we can create healthier connections and communities by honestly sharing what is the same and different in our lives.

Available to purchase online or in store at CatTale’s Books and Gifts
609 Laurel St, Brainerd  •  218-825-8611

Book Club Pack

We have 10 copies of ‘Bold Yet Seldom Told: Crow Wing Community Stories’ available for community members to use in their book clubs. The Book Club Pack can be checked out for up to four weeks at no charge. Once a request is received arrangements will be made to pick up the Book Club Pack at the Crow Wing Energized office located in the Essentia Health-Brainerd Clinic.

Bold Yet Seldom Told Videos


Adam has faced episodes of depression in various stages of life. His message of being able to seek help and find acceptance is a major message in our community’s Make it Okay campaign. Adam has dedicated his career to health care with a focus on community health and wellness.

Alvin grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota. His life was impacted by serious and persistent mental illness and alcoholism. He got sober and found God in Alcoholics Anonymous. His transformation is remarkable and inspiring.
Bipolar Happens
Chris’s life story contains a number of examples of what can happen to people with bipolar disorder when  systems are not working smoothly, AND what can happen when supportive systems fall into place.
Being Black in Rural Minnesota
Donn has lived in both metropolitan and rural areas. She describes the subtleties of being black and the impact on her life, now that she lives rurally.
Mixed Race Identity
Micah’s biological father was African American and his mother was white. He describes the challenges he faced both internally and externally in his journey to a positive identity.
Adoption Racism
Michael was born in Japan and adopted by a local white couple in Crow Wing County. He describes his experience both as a child and an adult of not belonging to the group.
Being Indigenous in Minnesota
Waasumockwe grew up near Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota. Her early life was marked by many traumatic events. Her transformation to leadership and advocacy for Indigenous peoples has, and is, positively impacting many people.
Gay Man Makes Change
Shane’s story of uncovering his identity as gay has much in common with other gay folks. Societal shame kept him closeted. Moving back to small town Minnesota opened him up to a positive view of himself and what he could do to help others.
Transgender Woman Emerges
Even though her sex assigned at birth was male, Tracy knew from a young age that she did not fit into the male box. She had to retire from her male dominated career before she could uncover and discover who she really was. With the help of many individuals and groups, she is doing just that.
Overdose Death Impact
Vicky lost her son to an accidental overdose and wrote a tribute to him for his funeral.