MISSOULA (July 1, 2013) – This week, the Udall Foundation kicked off its third summer of Parks in Focus programming with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Missoula County (BGC), leading a group of BGC youth on a five-day photographic exploration of Glacier National Park.
Each summer, a dozen middle school youth (ages 11 to 13) from the BGC have the opportunity to participate in Parks in Focus—a program of the Udall Foundation that connects youth from underserved communities to nature through photography. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Park Service’s Youth Partnership Program, the Udall Foundation has teamed up with the Glacier Institute to host Parks in Focus programs with two separate groups of Montana kids this summer: the first this week and the second in late July. The grant also allows the youth participants to keep the cameras they use as encouragement to continue using photography to learn about the environment and express themselves creatively.
Over the course of the program, participants learn about nature, photography and the National Park system. They meet and work alongside park rangers and outdoor leaders from the Udall Foundation and the Glacier Institute while sharpening their photography skills with stunning views of Avalanche Lake, Logan Pass and Lake MacDonald. Camping in the park, they learn basic outdoor skills and Leave No Trace practices, go on several challenging hikes, and even have the opportunity to be sworn in as Junior Rangers.
“The Parks in Focus program has been a wonderful experience for our kids. Our middle school members get to spend a week camping in one of the most beautiful places on earth; go on guided hikes and receive individual photography instruction; and learn about the animals, plants and geography of Glacier National Park,” said Janis Fontaine, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Missoula County. “It is truly a once in a lifetime trip that has the potential to change a kid’s whole outlook on our world and his or her unique place in it. We are lucky and grateful to be one of the few clubs in the country to participate in this event.”
Parks in Focus: Glacier is made possible by a generous grant from the National Park Service. Additional program support is being provided by the Glacier Institute, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Missoula County, the Udall Foundation, the Glacier National Park Conservancy and Lowepro.