Tennis Play Day for 10 and younger this Saturday

World Tennis Day was supposed to be celebrated in Missoula last Saturday, but due to the blizzard and all, it’s been pushed back to this Saturday.

That’s March 8. Here are the details:

March 3, 2013 – The USTA-Montana will host a Tennis Play Day on Saturday, March 8 at University of Montana’s Schreiber Gym (32 Campus Drive) from 9-11am in celebration of World Tennis Day, a nationwide effort to get kids excited and active in tennis. Play Days are a great way for Kids 10 and Under to play tennis in a fun, non-threatening, non-elimination and competitive environment.

Register at (Youth Tennis Page) or on the day of the event. Cost: $5 per player.

Studies have shown that an early, positive experience in sports is vital to combatting physical inactivity and creating a lifelong commitment to an active lifestyle. More than a thousand facilities will host USTA Tennis Play Events this March, each showcasing how fun and easy it now is for families to get into the sport. These events will allow parents to sign up their children for spring and summer tennis programs.

“USTA Tennis Play Events provide an opportunity to engage children in a fun environment, as well as inspiring them to love physical activity and sports for life,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “These efforts are part of USTA’s strong commitment to making it easier for kids to get into the game—and stay in the game.”

World Tennis Day on March 3 serves as a kick-off to the Play Events. It is a celebration of tennis around the world that includes professional tennis matches in New York City, Hong Kong and London. The World Tennis Day celebration in New York’s Madison Square Garden will feature Novak Djokovic squaring off against Andy Murray, and Bob and Mike Bryan taking on John and Patrick McEnroe.

To learn more about USTA-Montana Tennis Play Events, please visit

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Young filmmakers can enter Polson’s FLIC Jr. competition

Got a budding young filmmaker in the family?

Then hand over the expensive electronics and circle Dec. 1 on the calendar.

That’s the submission deadline for the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest‘s junior competition. Young filmmakers – those 18 years old and younger – are invited to compete in FLIC Jr. after checking out the submission guidelines, legal info, fees and other details.

The film festival in Polson will run from Jan. 24-26, 2014. According to festival organizers, “All submitted films will be juried by a panel of judges made up of experts within the field of film and local community members. Films selected to be part of the festival will be shown during the festival and are eligible to receive ‘Best Of’ awards in several categories.”

Also: “FLIC’s mission is to provide makers of all film genres a venue through which they enrich themselves and their audiences by engaging with film.”

For more information call (406) 274-0181 or send an email to


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Mountain Home moving into new building – with Missoula’s support

Mountain HomeThis past Wednesday Mountain Home Montana cut the ribbon on its brand-new building, cheered on by the community. The nonprofit provides a home – and much, much more – for young pregnant women and new moms between the ages of 16 and 24.

The ribbon-cutting comes after a spate of recent misfortune, however. Floods, crib recalls, mold discoveries – not encouraging stuff. But it was met with an outpouring of community support.

As outlined in today’s Missoulian editorial, Mountain Home Montana could use just a little bit more support to see it through this critical time. It would be just wonderful if it could close out its capital campaign – only $240,000 more to go! – well before its September goal.

If you can help, visit Mountain Home Montana’s website at or call 541-4663.

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Hopa Mountain’s Together campaign encourages parent interaction with young children

Last week I got an email from Leah McLaughlin, a single mother who has recently completed her senior capstone project for Montana State University Billings. She was writing to me about a Bozeman-based program, however – specifically, Hopa Mountain’s Together campaign.

The initiative, she explained, is “geared toward encouraging parents to read, talk, and spend more time together with their children (ages) 0-5 … At Hopa Mountain we want parents to know that they are their children’s first and best teacher and that what they do together now will impact their children in the future.”

McLaughlin noted her own experience researching online resources that would help her connect with other parents as motivation for telling me about the Together campaign and encouraging me to share information about it with Missoula Mom readers, calling it “a great resource to parent/parents like me who are looking for support in raising their child/children in a healthy, growing, and nurturing environment.”

Sounds good to me. Readers, please take a moment to check out Hopa Mountain’s website for tips, resources and more information about the Together campaign.

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It’s time to nominate a young lady to LEAD!

This coming Monday marks the deadline to turn in your nomination of a girl age 14 to 18 for the YWCA‘s Young Women LEAD Project.

“The YWCA Missoula is seeking school counselors, educators, parents, and community members to nominate fabulous young women to participate in a high-school girls’ leadership program. ”

Remember, there’s no cost – not to nominate, not to participate. All it takes is a willingness and interest on the part of the nominated girls to attend a series of two-hour seminars and get active in a community service project. Along the way, they’ll get to meet peers and role models right here in our community “while learning to find balance in life, self-care, goal-setting, and identifying their inner strengths and values,” according to the YWCA.

AND, they’ll have a change to go to the “Girls For A Change” conference in Bozeman this spring for free.

If you know a young lady who fits the bill, don’t wait any longer to nominate her! Forms are available on the YWCA’s website and at its Missoula Office, located at 1130 West Broadway. And if you need more information, call the YWCA’s GUTS! (Girls Using Their Strengths) director Jen Euell at 543-6691 or shoot her an e-mail at

– MM

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What resources are available for teen parents in Missoula schools?

I was reading this article in today’s Daily Inter Lake about a class for young parents offered at alternative high schools in Kalispell, and it got me wondering what sorts of  resources are currently available for teen parents in Missoula’s high schools.

A while back there used to be a day care in a Missoula high school. It was called the Young Families Program, and it allowed teenage moms to take their babies to school with them and receive great care while they attended classes at Sentinel High School. Not only did the program act as a daycare for these infants, it also provided a meeting place for teenage parents to get together and talk about their experiences and share information about community resources. The employees who ran the program also helped these students connect with other forms of assistance – all with the goal of helping them stay in school and graduate.

Read the rest of this entry »

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A summer camp for young writers

Know a kid who loves to write? Is that kid weeping over the fact that summer vacation may mean having less opportunities to write?

Check out the Montana Writing Project’s summer writing camp for sixth- to ninth-graders.

The Montana Writing Project is a “nationally recognized professional development organization for teachers dedicated to improving student writing,” according to program coordinator Merrilyne Lundahl. This will be its sixth annual Young Writers Summer Camp “designed for students who are interested in devoting time to their nonfiction, poety and fiction; participating in a writing workshop; publishing in an anthology; and being members of a writing community,” she writes. “Participants receive individualized writing instruction, engage with other writers, and have opportunities to share their work.”

The program runs on weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12:30, starting June 28 and wrapping up July 9. It takes place in Room 210 of the Liberal Arts Building on the University of Montana campus. The $175 cost covers materials, including snacks, and financial aid is available.

Interested? Give Lundahl a call at 243-4680 – and call soon, because space is sure to fill up fast.

– MM