OUTDOOR ADVENTURE SUMMER CAMP
Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) LLC announces its 2021 Outdoor Adventure Summer Camp, our 22nd season! For availability, please contact us at info@MissoulaOutdoors.com. We have experienced unprecedented demand this summer, and all of our weeks are tentatively full. However, we typically have a few cancels come in each week, so please email for updates. We try to respond to all questions as quick as we can, but with the start of camp it often takes several days – sorry. We need to know the child(ren)’s age and grade this fall. Please note, local MCPS schools do not return to school until August 30, and we will be open that last week of August 23-27!
MOLA summer camp is like no other in Missoula, action-packed and dedicated to outdoor learning adventures each and every day with similar-aged kids. Each week, kids can expect to participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities, with opportunities to hike, bike, raft, climb, canoe or kayak, and swim. (Prior to covid, they also normally got to campout). Campers can expect to learn leadership, self-confidence, teamwork, outdoor skills, and appreciation for the natural world, all while making new friends and improving fitness. We were the first to offer outdoor adventure camps for kids in Missoula, all those years ago. We know all the best spots to go, and we have extensive permits that allow us to go places no other groups can. After 20+ years, we’ve got things pretty well figured out!
MOLA offers week-long sessions, Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm, all summer from June 7 – August 27. Camp is open to youth from Kindergarten through Elementary School, Middle-School, & High-School. Each week, campers are separated by age into different groups and participate with peers in all of our great outdoor activities at age appropriate levels. Age groups vary somewhat each week but are typically 6-7/7-9/9-11/11-14yrs. For kids currently in kindergarten, they must be 6yrs by end of summer. For high-schoolers, there are Leader-In-Training placements throughout summer.
Sessions are one week in length, with a new session starting each Monday, and destinations change each week. Kids can attend several weeks and hardly visit the same place twice. We will consider older or younger kids for different age groups (friends, siblings, cousins, etc.) on a case by case basis. Parents are welcome to join us anytime! We travel in all directions with permits from Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot NF, Flathead NF, BLM, Montana FWP, and City of Missoula.
Here’s what some parents have said:
“I’m glad your program is so successful and enduring. Our girls have certainly enjoyed their times with you and your staff over the years. Thank you!”
“Thank you so much for putting on such an incredible camp! My boys absolutely loved it and we will definitely do it again next year.”
Camp is open 8:30am – 5:30pm, Mon – Fri, usually with an overnight campout Thursday nights (not this year). Activities generally run from 9am – 4pm daily, with drop-off from 8:30-9:00am and pick-up from 4pm-5:30pm. We meet each morning at the central location of Silver Park, next to the baseball stadium, then head out for the day’s adventure. Fridays we depart directly from our campsite (if applicable) and return to Silver Park by 4pm. MOLA staff are always present during dropoff & pickup hours. Extended hours for early dropoff and late pickup (7:45am-6:15pm) available at small additional cost with advance notice. Older campers are welcome to arrive and depart from camp on their own, with parent approval. Mondays are the same for each group, while the rest of the week varies. Thursday campout will not be offered this year, sorry.
Here is an example week. Actual itineraries will vary.
Monday – Team Games at Silver Park; Hike Mt. Jumbo
Tuesday – Bike Riverfront Trails; Canoe & Swim Beavertail Pond
Wednesday – Rock Climb at Rattler Gulch
Thursday – Raft Blackfoot River, Campout at Harpers Lake
Friday – Hike to Dinah Lake in Mission Mountains
This year, we are able to offer our camp for $215 per one-week session. Our fee includes instruction, transportation, permits, and group gear. That’s less than some full-time daycare! This is 8:30am-5:30pm everyday (with an overnight on Thursday if we can). You’ll find no other camp around offers so much for this price! We try to offer several partial-scholarships, and we recognize this year may be tough for some. Please let us know if you need assistance (or if you can offer assistance) – we don’t want to turn anyone away!
MOLA’s summer camp staff always have excellent qualifications and experience! Founder and Director Porter Hammitt continues to function as lead instructor, with 20+ years of experience in the field, an MS in Outdoor Recreation, doctorate-level studies in Education and Ecology, numerous training safety certifications, and two young boys of his own. Assistant Director Cass Stoltzfus multiple years working with MOLA, also as a whitewater raft guide, and she has many other experiences leading kids in the outdoors.
Other staff are selected for their skills, experience, training, abilities, and personality, then go through still more training. We have staff return every year, with spans of 6yrs, 5yrs, 4yrs, and many at 3yrs and 2yrs, respectively, over our lifetime. All staff are required to complete Wilderness First Aid (WFA), a comprehensive 2-day, 16-hour course. We put a premium on safety, and it’s our No. 1 priority every day. Each group travels with two leaders, and a climbing guide joins each group on their climbing days. Our leader to camper ratio is up to 1:7 for younger kids, up to 1:10 for older kids. We carry full insurance for our program and our vehicles.
Leader-In-Training for Young Adults
For youth who are age 15 by end of summer and have completed freshman year of high school, we have opportunities for “Leader-In-Training” placements. This is a great way for young people to gain valuable leadership and job skills, and start building resumes. Cost is the same as regular camp, and they are placed with a younger group for the whole week, working as an assistant leader. Many of our campers have gone on to participate in this program in high-school, and we have proudly provided recommendations to many employers.
Special Days and Concerns
Monday you will receive an itinerary for the week. Please make sure you have the correct forms for your child’s group and learn their leaders’ names! Bike day, campers will need to bring bike and helmet. Whatever bike he/she is most comfortable with should work fine. We have bikes and helmets available to rent for $10. Training wheels are okay, and we also have a bike trailer. Raft day, campers should be prepared to spend the day on/in the water. Climb day, kids can wear normal clothes and shoes. In normal years, Thursday is campout, and campers should come prepared to spend the night. Be sure to take a slip with directions and sign up to bring a food-item to help feed the kids. Parents are invited to join us! If you have doubts about your child camping out, please make plans to stay with us or to take them home for the evening. EVERY DAY, campers should bring swimsuit, swimshirt, towel, and watershoes. Warm days, we usually swim after the main activity. Rainy days, we often go to a hotsprings. When swimming, our younger campers always wear life jackets!
4th of July – This year, the 4th is on Sunday. We will offer full weeks of camp as normal before and after the weekend of the 4th.
Face Mask, Gym Shoes, Daypack, Water, Lunch, Snack, Sunhat, Shades, Swimsuit or Swimshorts, Swimshirt (longsleeve), Water Shoes, Medium size towel. Please apply sunscreen in the morning, we will reapply after lunch.
Our meeting place is Silver Park, which is centrally located downtown along the south side of the Clark Fork River, adjacent to the baseball stadium. You can access the park from the east via Cregg Lane off Orange; from the south via Hickory Street off 3rd; or from the west via Wyoming Street off Russell. There is plenty of parking, but it can be congested at times, so please be courteous of other park users and area residents. On game days for the baseball team, it’s best to arrive for pickup before 5pm.
Registration and Payment Policy
FIRST STEP: Please email info@MissoulaOutdoors.com to check on availability and/or make reservations! Reservations made on a first-come, first-served basis. Camp fee is $215week per child. Deposit $100/week per child. Maximum deposit required is $500 per child. Registration forms and deposit required within 5 days of confirmed reservation to guarantee space. We can accept cash, check, or Venmo. Payment of deposit and/or submitting registration forms and/or attending camp implies agreement to pay full amount of session(s). You are expected to pay full amount if you cancel with less than 30 days notice, or do not attend, for any reason, unless substitute can be found. (We usually have a waitlist, so this is rarely a problem.) Any changes, cancellation, or returned checks subject to automatic charge of $50 per week. Notice of change or cancellation must be received in writing via email or text message and confirmed by MOLA Director. Weekly balance due Monday morning at start of each session, without which child(ren) may not be allowed to attend. If not checked in by Monday morning 9am, your spot(s) may be forfeited, without refund and with full payment required. Refunds provided subject to MOLA’s discretion, and cannot be issued until after September 1st. You are responsible for circling correct date(s) on registration form. We accept cash, check, or Venmo. MOLA is an equal opportunity service provider.
Registration forms are here (2 pages): MOLA Summer Camp Forms 2021
Please check format before printing! Remember, please contact us first to check on availability and make reservations. Please email info@MissoulaOutdoors.com first! Once a reservation is made, we can guarantee the spot for 5 days, so you have a chance to send in forms and deposit check. We can accept cash, check, or Venmo.
COVID-19 updates for Summer 2021: MOLA summer camp plans to open on schedule June 7. We will follow guidance from Missoula City/County Health Dep’t., as well as the State of Montana. We will have additional safety protocol: daily health checks for staff and campers, masks required in vehicles, distancing when possible, lots of hand-sanitizing, etc. We’ve always had a weekly campout on Thursday nights, but we were unable to do so last year, and that will be the case again this year. We are one of the many small businesses hanging on in Missoula, and we are grateful for your support!
We Hope You Will Join Us!
Contact us soon to hold a spot or answer questions. Feel free to print and make copies of this page, pass it on, spread the word, or invite a friend. We appreciate your help! Our guarantee: kids will be active and outside, they’ll learn about themselves and their surroundings, they’ll be challenged, they’ll meet new friends, and they’ll have fun!
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