Local camp offerings reached a new level this summer for kids of all ages
By Leslie Kilgore EBS CONTRIBUTOR
Big Sky kids had more choices than ever to stay busy over the past 10 weeks for a fun and well-rounded Montana summer. Day trips, overnight backpacking adventures, art classes, Broadway musicals, elite soccer training and various other programs for all ages and interests happened around town and in the wilderness. Here’s a few highlights from what was offered throughout the community this summer:
CAMP BIG SKY
Camp Big Sky runs all summer and is separated by Pioneers, grades 1-3, and Explorers, grades 4-6. Held at both BASE community center and the yurts at the Community Park, it’s one of the most popular camps in the community. Run by the Big Sky Community Organization, days were filled this summer with biking, water activities, outdoor play, art projects and naturalist programs.
“Highlights of camp for me were being outside so much with all the kids, watching them make new friends, and bonding with counselors throughout the summer,” Carly Radimak, BSCO’s youth development manager, said.
The Arts Council of Big Sky’s ARTventure program is offered throughout the school year at BASE and provides a variety of engaging art classes and activities for kids in grades 1-6. This summer, ARTventure also hosted several camps for kids to make art, play outside and learn about the natural world around them in Montana.
“It was really fun to celebrate art with local kiddos,” Julie Edwards, studio and art education manager at BASE, said. “But the best part was seeing visiting families attend our camps too. Watching local students share their abilities and interests in art with kids not just from the Big Sky community was fun to see.”
BIG SKY SOCCER CAMP
Aspiring soccer players in Big Sky didn’t have to drive to Bozeman for extra coaching this summer, thanks to Jorge Meneses who started Big Sky Soccer Camp. Raised in Jackson, Wyoming and a graduate of Montana State University, Meneses started Big Sky Soccer Camp to provide more options to Big Sky kids for summer training and practice. Held Monday through Friday from July 10 through Aug. 11, athletes from ages three to 13 worked on improving their skills, strategy and physical fitness on the field.
“It was great to get to know kids in Big Sky while also helping them improve their skills and grow the soccer community here, without having to go to Bozeman for more training,” Meneses said.
ALL SAINTS CAMP
All Saints in Big Sky offered local kids a week-long, free-of-charge camp at Big Sky Chapel. Adults and teens from the congregation along with Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp welcomed kids ages five through 11 for outdoor play, art projects, music and a performance and ice cream social to cap off the week.
“Each day campers enjoy singing, Bible study, crafts and group games,” All Saints Pastor Miriam Schmidt said. “It’s a wonderful way for community building and worship.”
BIG SKY BROADWAY
Big Sky Broadway brought lots of local kids to the stage at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center with the musical “Freaky Friday” for kids in grades 5-8, and “Finding Nemo Jr.” for grades 1-4. Over the course of two weeks, local kids put on a full length musical with lessons in acting, dancing and voice training, while also learning to create costumes, sets and work as stagehands to then perform for family and friends on the big stage at WMPAC.
“Big Sky Broadway is at the core of our arts ecosystem,” WMPAC’s Executive and Artistic Director, John Zirkle said. “There’s nothing better than local kids singing their guts out on stage!”
Located at the base of Lone Mountain at Moonlight Basin’s Ulery’s Lake, Camp Moonlight is offered to Moonlight members and Big Sky residents, ages five and up. Programs this summer ranged from a week of learning about the habitats of Montana wildlife, to a summer Olympics competition, to looking at art in nature. Camp Moonlight also offered three- and four-night backpacking trips for sixth through 11th graders in Yellowstone National Park.
“It’s crucial that families have opportunities for their kids to play as hard as they work in a community like Big Sky,” Camp Moonlight Director Lex Hinchey said. “To be able to provide a fun, safe and experientially focused program for kids means we can play a role in helping them find leadership, teamwork, social awareness, courage and self-value that fits their size. If that can translate into skills they take with them to give back to Big Sky in the future, and they had fun along the way, then we’ve done our job.”