Outdoor Adventure Camps with Billings Parks & Recreation

From tours of the Help Flight Operations Center to whitewater rafting on the Stillwater, from Yellowtail & Buffalo Bill Dam tours to scavenger hunts to learning about local Billings area history, the Billings Parks, Recreations & Public Lands department (BPRPL) is on a mission to get kids outside and active in adventure. This summer they have an exciting, brand new program of Outdoor Adventure Camps geared for kids aged 8 to 14.

Said Kory Thomson with BPRPL, “One of the big things with Parks & Recreation is getting kids outside, connecting with nature - wildlife, hiking, canoeing, all kinds of different things, our goal is to get kids outdoors with a lot of different activities.”

A change from previous years, the new lineup has been in the works for almost a year now and the summer is scheduled jam-packed with serious fun. Explained Thomson, “We were just doing the summer daycare type programs in the past – we wanted to look at more of a themed or special interest type camp, as well as including the all day, 5-days a week option for parents who work during the day and don’t want their kids home by themselves all summer. (The new programs are) trying to incorporate the all-day day camp into learning adventure camps.”

With adult to student ratios of at least 1 to 6, safety is assured along with plenty of opportunity to have questions answered and new interests sparked.

Thomson elaborated, “One of the camps we’re real excited about is the “Save” & Explore Our Hidden Treasures camp. We live in a part of the country that offers tons of natural resources. We’ll tour Yellowtail Dam one week, Buffalo Bill Dam the next, getting into the power generating stations, history of how they were constructed and built, what they do in terms of providing power to the area. We’ll plant trees. We’ll work with local public safety folks, police, fire, basic first aid and CPR, the Help Flight Center and the Army Reserve Center, lots of different public safety services around the area. That one is going to be really exciting.”

The Sports and Media camp will get kids out playing different sports, athletic games and competitions, including with that an opportunity to see what the media in the area (print, TV and radio) does. “What we’re going to have the kids do throughout the week is keep a journal. On Friday they will do a mock interview talking about their experience through the week, kind of relating it back to having fun, playing sports, and working with the media,” said Thomson.

For one week only is The Ultimate Outdoor Adventure camp. It’s a series of  X-games type adventures, including rappelling, scuba diving, scavenger hunts at Ah Nei Recreation Area, canoeing, archery, even whitewater rafting with an overnight stay in teepees on the Stillwater in Absarokee. Thomson explained, “There will be plenty of adult supervision, more than we’ll need, because we have a lot of staff who want to be part of that!”

Other week-long Outdoor Adventure camps include Planes, Trains & Automobiles which will explore the different modes of transportation highlighted in and around the Billings area, History is “Making A Difference” which is billed as an enlightening packed week of exploring the history surrounding Billings and the volunteer services which make a difference in and around our community, and Connecting Kids With Nature which includes the Bluewater Spring Trout Hatchery, a Scavenger Hunt at Lake Elmo, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, visits to the Beartooth Nature Center, ZooMontana, the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, and more. More information on all of the camps can be found at the Billings Parks & Recreation website www.PRPL.info.

Kory sums up, “We’ve got this stuff wrapped up and ready to provide to the families looking for something fun to do this summer, knowledge and education on things in the area – it’s a great opportunity. They’re different, exciting, and adventurous for the kids. A lot of fun things that the kids will be entertained with and learn something as well!”