By Tyler Allen
Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

BIG SKY – Women in Action is offering scholarships to local children looking to participate in educational or artistic programs in Big Sky.

The group has been funding Ophir School’s third-fifth grade arts through this enrichment program and has been offering the individual scholarships since early summer, but has not yet received an application, according to WIA founder and Executive Director Rachel Thesing.

Applications are accepted year round and awarded based on need, Thesing said, and the organization is trying to reach kids in grades k-12 who want to be involved in art, theater, music or who need a tutor, as opposed to athletics.

“The school has the athletics covered,” she said.

Founded in 2005, WIA also helps fund community counseling services in partnership with Montana State University’s Human Development Clinic, as well as alcohol and drug counseling in partnership with Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County.

“We’re the only ones providing counseling service in Big Sky,” Thesing said. “Since it’s not an incorporated town there are a lot of missing services here.”

In addition to the enrichment scholarships, WIA provides assistance for kids through its summer and winter camp scholarships. In 2013, the organization assisted 96 Big Sky youths between its winter and summer programs, and Thesing expects the number to be similar in 2014.

“I founded the organization in an effort to help local children and families looking for services in an expensive resort town,” she said.

The winter camp program offers funding to families with kids aged 3-15 who want to take ski lessons at Big Sky Resort – which averages about $350 for the season – and it has supported between 45 and 50 kids every winter since 2010.

The deadline for winter camp applications is Dec. 5.

Visit wiabigsky.org to learn more about the organization and scholarship opportunities.