By Barbara Rowley
Explore Big Sky Contributor

BIG SKY – Summer camp was not on one busy Big Sky family’s radar until last year, when their daughter’s passion for writing led them to explore an internationally renowned arts camp in Interlochen, Mich. Now, Loren and Jill Bough have established a scholarship to the Interlochen Summer Camps for local students.

Following her acceptance into Interlochen’s competitive high school writing camp program, Lone Peak High School sophomore Dasha Bough, 15, went to Interlochen for three weeks. The experience was game changing for the young writer, she says, and the Boughs were blown away by the caliber of the opportunity Interlochen offered in the arts – from writing and filmmaking to dance and musical theater, to instrumental and vocal camps.

“The energy on campus is amazing,” Dasha said. “There is art happening absolutely everywhere. The kids are so passionate and focused.”

The Boughs hadn’t planned on spending three weeks apart from their daughter over the short Montana summer, but Interlochen’s curriculum was extensive.

“We really like being together as a family, especially during our beautiful Montana summers, so we definitely weren’t looking to send Dasha away,” Jill said. “But the opportunity for her to be able to have both the time and expert direction to work on her writing in such a great atmosphere changed our mind.”

With two other Big Sky kids also taking part in Interlochen’s camps last summer –Elizabeth Quackenbush in the filmmaking program, and Michael Romney in piano – it seemed clear to the Boughs that Interlochen’s programs had much to offer Big Sky kids who are exposed to the area’s burgeoning local art scene.

After meeting with Interlochen officials in the fall, the Boughs created a Big Sky School District scholarship that will allow two students in grades 6-10 to attend Interlochen each summer, pending acceptance to the program of their choice. Need and acceptance will be determined solely by Interlochen, which will administer the scholarships.

“Sending off our students to programs like these not only helps the individual students who receive them, it helps all the students at the school,” says Loren, who is also chair of the local school board. “Because when these kids get accepted to programs like this, it shows them that we are adequately preparing our students to compete in the larger world, both with the talents they possess and the initiative and drive to take advantage of them.”

Contact Lone Peak High School Program Coordinator Brenda Yahraes at (406) 995-4281 to find out more about the Bough Interlochen Scholarships. Visit camp.interlochen.org to learn more about Interlochen Summer Camps.

Application deadlines for programs that require an audition or portfolio are Feb. 1, while applications for other programs are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.