Ride-a-Thon this week at A Carousel for Missoula

November, where have you gone?

I’d meant to post something before today’s big Griz for Kids Toy Drive – in which folks are asked to bring a toy to donate at Washington-Grizzly Stadium during the Griz football game against Weber State.

The toys will be given to local nonprofits like Youth Homes to hand out to kids as Christmas presents.

I may be late on that post but I’m not going to let this one get away from me: the upcoming Ride-a-Thon at A Carousel for Missoula. That’s happening on Nov. 20 starting at 5:30 p.m.

It’s the first time the Carousel’s directors have hosted this kind of event. They’re asking 30 riders to saddle up and ride until each has raised at least $200. The money will be used to support the Carousel and the adjacent Dragon Hollow playground.

Folks are invited to come and watch and cheer – or better yet, to make a donation or offer a pledge. To call in a pledge, the number is 549-8382. To fill out a donation form, go to http://carouselformissoula.com/shop/ride-thon-donation/.

“In addition to our everyday operations, for which we are best-known, the Foundation also maintains Dragon Hollow at its expense, provides more than 10,000 free tokens each year to agencies providing direct services to disadvantaged children and youth, and welcomes anyone with a physical or mental disability to ride free at any time,” says Theresa Cox, executive director of the Carousel, in a news release announcing the Ride-a-Thon. “The Carousel provides free or low-cost entertainment by hosting a Fairy Tale and Super Hero Festival in July, which is free to all participants; Haunted Hollow in October and Santa’s Breakfast in December, at very low cost to attendees.

“We support 75% of our annual budget through operations, but to keep ride prices low and accessible to all, we engage in numerous fundraising activities throughout the year. The Ride-a-Thon is a fun way for local celebrities and other Carousel fans to encourage the public to support to these beloved community landmarks.”


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MCT has ‘Glamour and Goop,’ summer camps for kids

Here’s a short list of upcoming opportunities from MCT, Inc.  I note that at least one “try to register by” date has passed, but it’s never too late to call and see if there’s still an open spot. – MM

July 10: “Glamour and Goop”

MCT’s Next Step Prep presents Susan Egan and Georgia Stitt in concert in “Glamour and Goop.” “Glamour and Goop” is a fundraiser to benefit MCT’s Next Step Prep Scholarship Fund. Come join Tony Award nominee Egan and composer-lyricist  Stitt. Egan was nominated for a Tony Award in 1994 for her performance as Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Stitt’s original musicals include Big Red Sun, Sing Me A Happy Song, The Water, and Mosaic.

Next Step Prep is a performing arts boarding school located at the Missoula Children’s Theatre headquarters in Missoula, Montana, offering world-class musical theatre. “Glamour and Goop” takes place Tuesday evening, July 10, with the reception at 6:30 p.m., and the show at 7:30 p.m. Join the artists for light hors d’oeuvres and drinks with entertainment by Next Step Prep students. Gala Tickets $50, includes Reception and Show! “Glamour and Goop” (show only) $20. For tickets: (406) 728-7529 or visit www.mctinc.org.

Missoula Children’s Theatre’s Summer Day Camp and Performances

Summer Days Camps are for children Grades 1-12.  Each camp is M-F 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with performances at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday (you choose when you register!).  All children participate in an audition, are cast in a role and perform in the show.  MCT accommodates accessibility needs upon request.

Summer Camp #2: July 9-13: ROBIN HOOD.  Please try to register by July 6th at 200 N Adams Street, by calling 728-7529 (PLAY) or visit www.mctinc.org. Performances of ROBIN HOOD take place July 14-15, 3:00 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale July 9 at 9:00 a.m.

Summer Camp #3: July 23-27: TREASURE ISLAND.  Please try to register by July 20th at 200 N Adams Street, by calling 728-7529 (PLAY) or visit www.mctinc.org. Performances of TREASURE ISLAND take place July 28-29, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets go on sale July 23 at 9 a.m.

For more information, contact MCT, Inc., “Home of Missoula Children’s Theatre and Missoula Community Theatre,” by calling (406) 728-1911 ext. 236, faxing (406) 721-0637 or clicking www.mctinc.org.

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Tickets go on sale today for Families First fundraiser

Starting today, families can buy tickets to an ultra-family-friendly summer concert coming up on August 20.

The concert will feature Aaron Nigel Smith – of PBS’s “Between the Lions” – and Missoula’s own special guests Tangled Tones and Friends.

If that’s not family-friendly enough for you, consider that the concert doubles as Families First‘s annual fundraiser. The Saturday event at the University Theater will kick off at 3:30 p.m. – but please note that the doors will open an hour earlier, at 2:30 p.m.

The slate of available activities includes beading, face painting, tie dying and more. Tangled Tones will warm up the stage at 4:45, and Aaron Nigel Smith will take over at 5:30, with the whole thing scheduled to wrap up at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are free for kids under the age of 1. For kids 1-12 years old, tickets are $12 each, and anyone older than 12 will pay $15 for a ticket. Buy tickets at the official ticket outlet – the new MSO Hub Box Office located downtown at 140 N. Higgins Ave. Or, buy them at the Families First Children’s Museum – also located downtown – or by phone by calling 543-3300.

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Get fired up about foster care with dinner and a documentary

The new documentary from Missoula producer Matt Anderson and Missoula filmmaker Paige Williams is a must-see. It’s called “From Place to Place.” I watched it last night and was incredibly moved by the stories of these young adults making their way in Missoula after aging out the foster care system.

Then I read Joe Nickell’s story about the documentary in this morning’s Entertainer and was moved again by the story of how this film came to be.

One of the things I really like about the documentary is that it ends with different people in the film directly telling us what we can do to help repair a badly broken situation: We can watch out for the kids in our neighborhood; we can check in on all our extended family members to make sure everyone’s accounted for; and, of course, we can become foster parents.

Whatever you do, you should watch this documentary. It is screening for the first time in Montana this upcoming Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Wilma Theater. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and if you buy a ticket in advance (available through the website, www.fromplacetoplacemovie.com), it’s only $5.

Here’s something else: For the past few years I have had the privilege of getting to know the fine folks at the Dan Fox Foster Care and Adoption Program, a part of Youth Homes Inc. I’ve seen first-hand just how much they care about these kids – and how hard they work to find them safe, loving, long-term families. I highly recommend that anyone interested in foster care or adoption check out their website or give them a call (721-2704 in Missoula).

And if you want to support Youth Homes, one fun way to do so is coming up on June 6. On that day, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., if you buy a burger (or veggie burger) at Scotty’s Table, the proceeds will be donated to Youth Homes.

The burgers at Scotty’s are all locally produced, and for $15 you get a burger, fries and a local beer. The restaurant is located in the bottom unit of the Wilma Theater, at 131 S. Higgins Ave.

For more information about the burger benefit call 541-1642.

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Gala fundraiser reading for Aerie International is this Thursday!

If you aren’t familiar with Big Sky High School’s award-winning international literary arts magazine, Aerie International, you are missing out.

This Thursday brings an opportunity to correct that. The Dana Gallery in downtown Missoula is hosting the fourth annual gala fundraiser and reading for the student publication. The family-friendly event will feature art, poetry, music, world food and more.

For a taste, check out this photo by 18-year-old Carrie Klemencic of Lawrence, Kansas:

Carrie Klemencic_Within ReachSample

Amazing, right?

More talent of this caliber – and coming from all over the globe – will be on display while student editors read original work AND selections from the next issue of Aerie International, all while guest readers and advisory board members – writers Tami Haaland, Debra Magpie Earling, David Allan Cates, Robert Stubblefield, Caroline Patterson and Robert Lee – mill around.

The night kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with live jazz and international hors d’ouerves, and drop-ins are welcome throughout the evening.

Remember, this is a fundraiser, so a suggested donation of $25 per “family” is appreciated, “family being loosely defined as any group of adults with or without children, related or unrelated.

If you have other plans and can’t make it, you can still check out Aerie International through its website. Or, for $12, subscribe to the magazine by emailing a subscription request to aerie.international@gmail.com.

Here’s more information about the publication:

The students of Aerie are eligible for $100 prizes each year include the Patricia Goedicke Poetry Award, the James Welch Fiction Award, the Norman Maclean Nonfiction Award, the Rudy Autio Visual Arts Award, the Lee Nye Photography Award, the Richard Hugo Sense of Place Award, and the Chief Charlo Celebration of Culture Award.

Aerie International is the only magazine of its kind dedicated to high school students editing and publishing the work of their peers worldwide. Last year the student editors solicited and read more than 350 submissions from 13-19 year olds from England, Russia, Turkmenistan, Japan, Finland, Canada, and across the United States.

Since 1999, Big Sky High School’s two literary arts magazines have received or been nominated for the highest award rank in the National Council of Teacher’s of English Program to recognize excellence in sudent literary magazines seven times.

Last year both magazines received the highest award.

For still more information as well as other donation avenues, call Lorilee Evans-Lynn at Big Sky High School at 728-2401, or write to Aerie International, Big Sky High School, 3100 South Avenue W. Missoula, MT 59804.

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Tired, tired teens break world record for longest tennis match

Congratulations are pouring in for the Hellgate High School seniors who set a new Guinness World Record for playing the longest tennis match in recorded history: a bout that wrapped up Sunday after 60 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds.

Sam Angel

Sam Angel

Katie Martens

Katie Martens

Closing in on the final hours of the match, 18-year-old Sam Angel was reportedly delirious with exhaustion: “”I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m really tired, I’m tired,” he said.

His fatigue – and that of singles partner Katie Martens – was all for a very good cause. The two raised more than $7,000 for Watson Children’s Shelter, which provides emergency shelter for children who have experienced family trauma.

Now that’s what I call a love game! Congratulations, Sam and Katie.

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Families First serving up burgers and arts classes

Things are always hopping over at Families First, which coordinates a full schedule of parenting programs while running the Children’s Museum in downtown Missoula. But the nonprofit is busier than ever as it plans to hold a community fundraiser while also opening a series of art classes for children in mid-March.

First, the community event: It’s a burger bonanza at Scotty’s Table (that’s the restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Wilma Building), with veggie alternatives available of course, plus french fries or salad and a local brew – all for $15.

Families First staff and board members will be talking about the organization, current programs and upcoming events while you eat. And since that sort of thing rarely holds the interest of kiddos, and since this is a family-friendly event, children’s activities will also be available.

Need more incentive? The 75th burger sold will win a prize, and the 150th burger sold will come with an iPod Shuffle.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cyclists conduct fashion experiment for Missoula preschool

There’s a fun story in today’s Missoulian about a “Tweed Ride” organized by a group of local bicyclists to benefit Spirit at Play, a local preschool.

Tweed Ride organizer and preschool teacher Allison Goodwin describes the preschool this way: “Spirit At Play is a small local non-profit preschool that serves over 40 families annually. We’ve been operating for more than 15 years and we are Reggio (Emilia)-inspired (referring to the Italian education philosophy). We believe in an aesthetically pleasing environment in which to focus on children as competent, capable learners.”

The event, which called on participants to wear their most “dapper attire,” attracted more than 50 riders. I can only imagine what the turnout might have been had the cyclists been allowed to wear the more ubiquitous modern bicycle attire – lycra.

– MM

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