Are the kids in your life experiencing a little cabin fever? This Saturday, February 15, they have a chance to get out and explore opportunities for camps and workshops that are taking place throughout the summer. The event will be indoors at Fort Owen Ranch and is free!
This event is similar to the Youth Expo that will be held on May 9, 2020, at Teller Wildlife Refuge. According to Tom Powers, one of the organizers of the event, it gives more teens and preteens a chance to see what sort of summer camps are available for those interested in the great outdoors. The representatives from various camps throughout the state will be on hand to offer information regarding when and where the camps are as well as ages for the camps. There will also be drawings for these camps.
The horse packing camp will be conducted by the Back Country Horsemen of Montana. Members of the Selway Pintler Wilderness Back Country Horsemen will be helping out with camp opportunities. The summer camp will take place in the Scapegoat Wilderness in late July or Early August. This camp is for ages 12-17.
Another opportunity is the Glacier Institute near Glacier Park. These camps are for all ages from 7 to 17 years of age, with camps beginning in June and running through August. The camp at the Theodore Roosevelt Ranch near the town of Dupuyer is a five-day camp for campers 11 to 17, and is held in early August. There will be a drawing for a camp put on by the Montana Wild Sheep Foundation. Those camps are held at the Magruder Ranger Station. Trout Unlimited offers a fly fishing camp on the Bitterroot River, and the Montana Bow Hunters offer a camp in June.
There will be many opportunities for hands on learning at this week’s expo. The Mule Deer trailer will offer a chance to shoot pellet guns. There is also an opportunity to sign up for a drawing to participate at the Whittecar Shooting Range on June 24, 2020. Only 24 kids will be drawn from ages 12-17. These youth cannot be part of any shooting team. At that event, the top shooters will receive new 22 rifles.
Other displays and booths include the Bear Beware booth with instructions on how to use bear spray effectively. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks will have a display of animals harvested here in the valley such as deer, elk, sheep, and goats. Kate Davis from Raptors of the Rockies will present a talk on big birds at 2 p.m.
In addition to the many booths, there will be a 4H Archery shooting contest with competitors from across the state. Coordinator Alex Sorenson of Stevensville expects 60-80 competitors. There will be divisions for traditional, compound, and Olympic. Olympic bows are recurves with sights and stabilizers on them. This competition will be in another building on the ranch.
Fort Owen State Park, adjacent to the ranch, will be open for visitors during the day. Maci MacPherson from Montana FWP will be on hand to share the history of this place. There will be food for purchase.
“This event is made possible by all the organizations that support us financially and support our summer camps as well,” said Powers. “We continue to grow with (more) opportunities for our youth. This past year, we were able to send over 200 kids to summer camps and related events across Western Montana. We are so very thankful for Myla Yahraus and her ranch manager, Kent Smartt, for allowing us this opportunity.”
For more information, contact Karen at 961-3507, Tom at 531-4224, or Fred at 369-1150.