By Micah Drew

Adventure is Out There


Shelby Holmes

Angus Batchelder leads a group of elementary school-aged students on a hike last summer during the summer Adventure Club.

SEELEY LAKE - For three days a week all summer, local kids will be able to explore the surrounding trails, mountains and waterways on foot, bike and paddleboard.

SLE Outside is once again hosting the 21st Century Adventure Club this summer. The program, which began last year, is a three-day a week outdoor camp for youth ages 8-14.

"It's this amazing program for very little cost," said Bridget Laird, the programs organizer. Laird said that the goal is to keep kids active and engaged during the summer and provide hands-on recreational and educational experience

Seeley Lake natives Shelby Holmes and Locke Hassett lead the daily activities. Holmes co-led the program last year.

"We had fun," Holmes said. "We really just tried to get the kids outdoors, get them involved in their area and hopefully spark their interest."

Last summer activities included biking, paddle boarding, hiking and kayaking. New this year will be several natural history days. A partnership with Swan Valley Connections will add six educational days that will explore topics including bear ecology and stream ecology. There will also be two days working with the US Forest Service at the bird banding station.

Rocky Mountain Adventure Gear - For all Your Motorized and Non-Motorized Adventures!

Additional activities will include orienteering, nature art and photography.

To increase participation this year, Holmes went to the grade schools and gave presentations to drum up attention. She said that lots of kids seemed excited for the program to start up again.

The program runs Tuesday through Thursday each week until Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The program is free for Seeley Lake and Swan Valley Elementary students. Non-local youth are invited to participate for a small fee of $10.

This is the second year that SLE has had the 21st Century Grant. The grant funds after school and weekend activities throughout the school year. Laird said that the funding is guaranteed for one more year but after that it will be dependent on the federal budget.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center will also offer a junior high book club "Books on the Beach" June 26 and Aug. 7 and a wilderness backpacking course July 24-27.

The first week of the Adventure Club was June 13-15 and included a hike to Morrell Falls, a trip down the Clearwater Canoe Trail and a mountain biking excursion.

"It's an opportunity for parents who have to work to have a fun engaging safe outdoor activity for their kids to do," said Laird.

Betty Vanderwielen, Pathfinder

Children and adults take turns getting a close-up look as Mike Krzywicki from the University of Montana clamps a small band to the captured northern waterbird's leg.


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