Only three days left to sign up for GUTS summer programs

Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that the headline on this post needs clarification. While the official deadline to sign up for the YWCA‘s Girls Using Their Strengths! (GUTS!) summer programs is May 28, the program will continue accepting applications until the trips are full.

But you don’t want to wait until the last minute.  I’m sure the slots will fill fast for this summer program, which includes outdoor adventures on local trails, farms and rivers.

Here’s how the YWCA describes its “five week-long outdoor wilderness adventures for girls ages 9 to 18.”

Summer trips incorporate multiple outdoor activities, such as backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting and mountain biking. Adventurers are also introduced to “leave no trace” backcountry ethics and teamwork, as well as place-based learning. Trips include one day of service, which is usually spent working on an organic farm or helping with trail maintenance.

The application is available here. The suggested donation for the program is $350, but don’t let that number stand in the way of signing up; scholarships are available.

For more information, contact Roe at YWCA Missoula by calling 543-6691 or sending an email to

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Young writers invited to summer camp just for them!

Ever heard of the Montana Writing Project? It’s a part of the National Writing Project, natch, which encourages teachers to help their students become better writers.

And one way for young people to become better writers is to write often and share their writing with others. While summer and the start of summer vacation would seem to work in opposition to this goal, that’s not necessarily the case in our neck of the woods – thanks to the Montana Writing Project.

This summer marks the seventh that the professional development organization is offering a Young Writers Summer Camp. It is specially geared toward youth who will be starting sixth, seventh, eighth or nineth grade when the school year starts.

“The program is designed for students who are interested in devoting time to their nonfiction, poetry and fiction; participating in a writing workshop; publishing in an anthology; and being members of a writing community. Participants receive individualized writing instruction, engage with other writers, and have opportunities to share their work.” So says the informative email sent to me from Merrilyne Lundahl, program coordinator for the Montana Writing Project.

The camp will be offered from June 20 to July 1, from 9 a.m. to 12:30, and it will take place in Liberal Arts Building Room 210 0n the University of Montana Campus, which houses the Montana Writing Project.

The cost is $175, which includes materials, instruction and snacks.

To sign up your kiddo or to learn more, shoot an email at or call 243-4680.

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Kids, camps, filmmaking and raptors

Missoula Community Access Television and Raptors of the Rockies are teaming up to offer a week-long afternoon camp for kids called “Wild Shots.”

The public service announcement says that “Campers will learn how to use digital cameras, both still and video. Computer editing and the use of a television studio is also available. Hands on training, building teamwork, lead up to a public screening and live television show on the last day of camp cablecast to more than 17,000 Missoula households on MCAT’s Channel 7.”

The camp, geared for ages 9 to 13, meets from 1:15 – 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 21-25. On Wednesday, the kids will meet at 10:30 a.m. to visit the Raptor Ranch and then spend the afternoon filming eagles, hawks, falcons and owls.

Cost is $100, and includes a year-long MCAT membership. Call (406) 542-6228 or send an e-mail to for more information or to sign up.

– MM

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Time to take up those (foam) swords!

Kids love to play with swords. When I was a little girl my sister and I would swish wrapping-paper tubes at each other, and now I find myself reminding my own daughter several times in an afternoon that the dogs are only interested in the sticks she’s waving around because they are hoping for a game of fetch.

Why do kids love swords? Don’t ask me – that’s a question for the Missoula Youth Fencing Association, which just this morning sent me the following public service announcement about its upcoming summer camps.

– MM

Summer Fencing Camps Beginning Soon

Looking for something fun and different for the kids this summer? The Missoula Youth Fencing Association (MYFA) is offering a full slate of summer fencing camps for ages 5 and up.

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Young volunteers needed for muscular dystrophy summer camp

Every year, the Muscular Dystrophy Association coordinates more than 5,000 volunteers to give more than 4,300 young campers an unforgettable camp experience – for free.

Right now, the MDA is looking for volunteers age 16 years or older – “able to lift and care for a young person between the ages of 6 and 17” – according to a recent MDA news release.

Admittedly, I paused over the image of a 16-year-old volunteer lifting a 17-year-old camper, but this statement by MDA President and CEO Gerald C. Weinberg got me back on track again:

“MDA summer camp is an incredibly valuable experience for the young people we serve. It’s a week during which they build confidence and independence, and participate in a full range of activities that often aren’t accessible to them.”

While the summer camp is touted as a life-changing experience for campers, the release says that volunteers can expect to gain something priceless too.

The primary responsibility of each volunteer camp counselor is to act as a companion to a camper who has a muscle disease. This means helping campers eat, bathe and dress, plus the fun stuff like arts and crafts, fishing and horseback riding.

The MDA is in the middle of gathering enough volunteers to run its upcoming summer camp at Camp Paxson in Missoula from July 5-12.

For more information or to get a volunteer application, call (406) 655-9000 or visit

– MM

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A horse-share program for kids

If your kid is anything like my daughter, she has both a magnetic interest in – and paralyzing apprehension around – horses.

I recently received this lengthy information piece from Kate Hansen, founder and director of the “Children Bound for the Stars” interactive animal park/living carousel at the L H Ranch out in Gold Creek. Scanning through it, I gather that the “Horse Share for Kids’ Sake” program offers to teach children like mine who have an interest in horses, but maybe not the wherewithal to actually own a horse, how to be comfortable around and care for equines.

– MM

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Attack of the summer camp guide!

Soccer illustration 72dpi

Smokejumper camp. Equestrian camp. Writing camp.

Math, filmmaking, art, gardening – you name it, there’s a camp for it in western Montana. And I should know, having spent ALL DAY earlier this week combing through the Missoulian’s exhaustive guide to summer camps. We’re talking more than 14,000 words, all aimed at helping parents choose a fantastic summer camp experience for their kids.

But oh, how to choose! Ballet camp? Soccer camp? Fishing camp? One thing’s for sure – if your child has a particular interest in a particular camp, you will want to snag a guide right away to make sure you secure a spot.  Availability is sure to shrink down fast once this guide hits the streets!

Look for the guide – it’ll be hard to miss – in Thursday’s newspaper.

– MM

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