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Adventure Camp Overview

Join us under the beautiful Big Sky for an action packed week of Montana experiences! Campers will have the opportunity to swim in a natural hot spring pool, hike a mountain, learn about the gold rush of the wild west, travel by boat the same path that explorers Lewis and Clark took, watch a rodeo and even become paleontologists helping on a real dinosaur excavation!  

Unlike any other camp experience, this exclusive, intimate camp allows kids the opportunity to exercise their spirit of adventure with or without their parents.  

Campers will stay at the peaceful Mountain Meadow Inn enjoying 40 acres of land, a playground for countless whitetail deer, red fox, coyote, song and migratory birds.  Each morning campers will be taken by bus the 10 minute drive to Cottonwood Agile Learning Center, in the heart of historic downtown Helena. Cottonwood is the launch point for our adventures and also the place where kids have the space to tinker, invent, craft and create in our newly renovated, storefront schoolhouse.

A Typical Day

There is no such thing as a typical day at adventure camp!  But okay, the general schedule will look like this:

9:00AM :  Arrive at Cottonwood

7:30-8:30AM   :  Breakfast & Exploring the trails around the Inn

8:45AM :  Bus to Cottonwood ALC

9:00-11:00AM :  Connect, Play & Make – (Kids will have an opportunity to participate in offerings by facilitators or bring their own ideas to life using the resources within our school.  As a school for self-directed education we have loads of tools to support kids in making their ideas realities!)

12:00PM :  Lunch

12:30 – 5:30PM :  ADVENTURES!!!

6:00PM :  Dinner, Bonfires, BBQs,

9:00PM :  Back to the Inn for rest and rejuvenation.  

Adventures

We are working to plan the most epic Montana experience with Helena, Montana’s State Capitol, as our launch pad.  Planned adventures include:

Norris Hot Springs

Montana’s Geothermal Wonder in the beautiful Madison River Valley.  Here we will swim, bird watch and eat bison burgers from the grill.

River Swimming

-During your week in Montana, you will get to experience the Madison, Jefferson and Missouri Rivers

Helena History

-There is no better way to learn about the West and the history of Helena than by taking a trolley ride through town listening to the stories of the gold rush and vigilantes!  

Small Town Rodeo

No trip to Montana is complete without seeing our Montana cowboys riding broncos, roping calves, and wrestling steers!

‘The Mighty Mo’

From both sides of the river, limestone cliffs rose to a spectacular height of 1200 feet. “In many places,” wrote Meriwether Lewis, “the rocks seem ready to tumble on us.” At each bend in the waterway, great stone walls seemed to block passage, only to open like gentle giant gates as the expedition drew near. In his journal, Meriwether wrote: “I shall call this place: \”GATES OF THE MOUNTAINS\”.

We too will travel this path, just like the great explorers before us.  We will journey by boat, hearing the stories of Lewis and Clark. We’ll get to play, hike, swim and explore too.

Dinosaur Dig

Explore the world of paleontology first hand on an actual dinosaur dig site!  We will learn fossil identification, surface mapping and field search techniques and get to try it out too!

Summit Mount Helena

By the end of the week, all campers will be conditioned and ready to make the 1,300 ft climb to the summit of Mount Helena 5,468ft above sea level.  Enjoy 360 degree views from the mountain’s peak, looking down on the city of Helena below!  Don’t worry, we’ll spend the afternoon cooling off with a dip in the lake.  

Family Camp

Do you want to experience these adventures with your child? Awesome, we’d love to have you!  Parents who attend Adventure Camp are invited to join in all of the excursions and we’ll plan for that. Our camp is agile though and your kids are in caring hands so we welcome parents to make their retreat space at Mountain Meadow.  The grand porch of the Inn is a perfect place to read, write, reflect or stay plugged in to your work but with the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.  

Whether this is your dream vacation and you participate in each adventure alongside your child or you are needing time to yourself in the peaceful Mountain Meadow Inn setting, you are invited! You can opt in and out of the day’s adventures as your schedule/desire allows creating your own mini vacation or retreat.  The best part is you will get to tuck your kid(s) in each night.

Accommodations

Campers will stay at the Mountain Meadow Inn, situated on 40 countryside acres just 4 miles from Downtown Helena. Dedicated in 1928, the Mountain Meadow Inn\’s brick and granite walls originally housed one of Montana\’s thriving Odd Fellows homes. The mature landscape, including a pond, is now a pastoral playground for countless whitetail deer, red fox, coyote, song and migratory birds, and a myriad of other native creatures. Enjoy the walking trail surrounding the property or relax on the front patio enjoying commanding views of the mountain ranges surrounding the Helena Valley.

Campers will each have their own room (unless they request to share a room and vintage queen-sized bed with a friend or sibling).  For kids attending camp independently, they will be supported at the Inn by a camp facilitator who will stay down the hall and be there to help kids get tucked into bed each night and up for breakfast each morning.  

Camp Facilitators

Sara & Chris Taleff

Sara and Chris were both born and raised in Montana.  Chris’ family history includes miners, cobblers, butchers and the Free Homestead Act of 1862.  Sara’s great grandmother ran a boarding house and her grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse on the prairie where shoveling coal to keep everyone warm was the primary concern.  

Sara and Chris have always called Montana home but have traveled extensively around the world. Having rerooted in Helena after a 6 year stint in New York City, they are thrilled to share Montana adventures and foster a spirit of adventure in each of you!  

Sara and Chris are the founders and directors of Cottonwood ALC, Helena’s only k-12 nonprofit school for self-directed education.  You can read more about them here.

Dates and Cost

Adventure Camp Week

Arrive:  Monday, July 9th  9:00 am

Thursday night will be an overnight camping trip

Friday, July 13th 4:00 pm arrival in Helena

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