Camp Moonlight successfully wrapped up their 8th season last month. The camp has continued to grow each year, with 2022 being the first year the extended summer program was offered under the leadership of Lex Hinchey. This adventure-oriented program emphasizes education, awareness, and conservation values while fostering a greater appreciation for the natural world. Each week the camp offers a different theme, ranging from a Bugs Life to Art in Nature to Tracks and Traces. Furthermore, 5th-9th graders can participate in a backpacking trip throughout a pristine area of Montana.
The camp is open to both local and club kids, creating an opportunity for participants to make new friends and learn to work in a team-oriented environment. Scholarships and awards are offered through Moonlight Community Foundation for local families to help offset the cost. In addition, every summer since 2015 MCF has awarded two Harbor Kingston deWaard Community Service awards to local kids who are committed to helping make Big Sky a better place.
Camp Moonlight started in 2013 as a pilot program under MCF as a way to connect local and member kids to each other and the natural beauty that surrounds Moonlight Basin. In 2014, Jeremy Harder was approached by Moonlight Community Foundation’s Board Chair, Heather Morris, with the opportunity to facilitate the programming at Camp Moonlight. Jeremy collaborated with local fellow BSSD #72 educator and outdoor enthusiast Tony Coppola. Under their leadership, Camp programming centered around exploring deeper connections to the outdoors, recognizing contributions of Montana Indigenous Peoples, and practicing the preservation of our valuable natural resources. The camp was originally offered for two weeks in July and always booked up immediately.
“Camp was a way to have kids unplug from their i distractions and plug back into nature. The beautiful friendships between the campers that emerged were proof that Jeremy and Tony were onto something special and needed in our society,” said Morris. “We are forever grateful for their commitment to Camp and the hundreds of campers who they took under their very capable wings. We are also thrilled with the new director, Lex Hinchey, who is cut from the same cloth and displays the same level of care and commitment to the values that we founded Camp on.”
To accommodate the popularity of Camp Moonlight and to reach out to more campers, the camp now offers an extended summer program from June to August. Registration for next summer will begin in April of 2023.