Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Bridget Laird
SLE Outdoor Education Coordinator 

SLE 21st century program offers summer adventures and academic enrichment activities

 

Bridget Laird

Playing and learning about animals that live in the water is just one part of the summer program.

Are your kids tired of spending hours each day on remote learning on the computer? Are they (and you) wondering what there is to do in the Seeley in the summer that doesn't involve logging in, virtual connections or feeling socially isolated? Are they ready to get outdoors, get dirty and explore our wild backyard with other human children? If your answer is yes, then I am pleased to inform you that the Seeley Lake Elementary 21st Century Summer Adventure Club is BACK! With a few minor adjustments to allow for Missoula County Health Department's requirements and recommendations, we will take your kids hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, exploring the natural world, and more, and get them away from their screens!

The Summer Adventure Club is part of the SLE Outdoor Program and one of our popular 21st Century Community Learning Center activities funded through the federal grant. The six week program will begin June 23 and run until July 29, meeting each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Students in grades third through eighth grade are welcome to participate any of those days by registering (one time) at SLE. Parents can drop kids off in front of the SLE lobby at 9 a.m. and pick them up in the same place at 3 p.m. Activities will include hiking area trails such as Morrell Falls, Holland Falls, Glacier Lake and others, every Tuesday, kayaking and paddleboarding on area lakes every Wednesday and engaging in service learning projects and outdoor education every Thursday. A couple of biking days will also be scheduled on Thursdays. Participating kids are expected to bring a lunch and snack, plenty of water each day, proper hiking shoes and layers including a rain jacket on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and proper water shoes and towels on Wednesdays.

The goal of the Outdoor Adventure Club is to teach kids to be competent in the outdoors, develop a love of the landscape and natural resources around them, and provide place-based learning that is relevant and hands-on. And, of course, to have FUN! This summer, recent SSHS graduate Ella Batchelder will return for her third season as a program leader and senior Eric Lorentz returns for his second year. Both Ella and Eric will be certified in AEIRE Backcountry Medicine's Wilderness First Aid and CPR and bring with them passion and knowledge of the outdoors to share with the kids. Parents are also welcome to attend.

Because of the present uncertainty of, well, everything, our specific daily schedule will not be finalized until later, and we will post it on the SLE website and Facebook page. At that time we will also provide the new procedures for dropping off and picking up kids to allow for physical distancing and outline our new safety protocols. For the sake of consistency and convenient planning, we do intend to adhere to the Tuesday hiking, Wednesday boating and Thursday outdoor education/service learning schedule.

Ella Batchelder

Students make bouquets of wildflowers during a hike.

Some of the activities we have offered through the 21st Century program in past summers will not be offered this year, such as tennis, t-ball, Wilderness Backpacking, Beach Bums and Camp Read-a-Lot. But, we will offer in-person Summer Reading and Math Enrichment for kids in grades kindergarten – eighth grade, to help bridge any gaps created by the COVID-19 school closure. This will begin July 20 and run through Aug. 11 every Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at SLE. Preschool teacher Jama Mauldin, Special Education Director Janina Bradley, and Title 1 Teacher Zoe Mohesky will provide small group instruction and space participants appropriately, following the current Health Department guidelines. Registration information will be posted on the SLE website and Facebook page in the coming weeks.

For more information on either Summer Adventure Club or the Summer Reading and Math Enrichment program, please contact 21st CCLC Program Director, Bridget Laird, at 406-210-0012 or blairdsle@sleonline.org.

 

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