Summer Programs

Humanities Through Film: A summer bridge program at helena College

Guided by award winning professional filmmakers, college professors, and local historians, you and a team of fellow students will conduct interviews, research historical archives, operate cameras, write a script, record audio, and produce a documentary film.

All students will have access to state-of-the-art cameras, audio and video equipment, as well as Apple workstations throughout the program. No experience required! Students from all Montana communities are encouraged to apply.

This summer will focus on the underexplored impact of the Spanish Flu pandemic in Montana. What can we learn from this earlier virus and our successes and missteps in responding to it? Explore the fascinating untold stories involving the Spanish flu in Montana as well as the shocking similarities between these two pandemics. Montana was one of the hardest hit states by the Spanish Flu, which claimed 1% of Montana’s population (5,000 lives) in 1918-1919, the country’s third-highest mortality rate.

The Humanities Through Film Summer Bridge Program will run for two full weeks (August 9-13 & 16-20), from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. Each day will typically begin on the Helena College Donaldson Campus.

How to Apply: 

Space is limited and students are encouraged to complete the application by June 18, 2021. The application consists of questions meant to learn more about the students who are applying. Students can answer any 2 of the 3 short answer questions:

  • Explain why you are interested in this program and what you hope to gain from the experience.
  • In your opinion, what distinguishes an average film or video from an important one? Consider the roles of people behind the cameras in your answer.
  • If you have visited the Montana Historical Society or any other history museum, what did you find most interesting, and why? If you have not visited a history museum, what would you be most interested to learn from the experience?

Selected students will be notified by July 1, 2021.

Dates: August 9-13 & 16-20, 2021
Cost: Free; Participants will receive lunches and a stipend
Eligibility: Juniors and seniors in high school and recent high school graduates
Location: Helena College Donaldson Campus (1115 N. Roberts Street, Helena, MT 59601)


Improving Spatial Skills STEM Camp for Girls at the University of Montana

Focus: Improving Spatial Skills
Purpose: To increase skills, interest, and confidence for women in STEM fields.
Instructors: Professor Bonnie Spence
Date/Time: July 26-30, 9 am – 12:30 pm at the University of Montana
Intended Participants: Entering Grades 7 – 10 in Fall 2021
Camp Fee Cost: $75 per student (Full scholarships available—please ask!)

Parents, teachers, counselors, and students can email in the Department of Teaching and Learning at UM to get registration and scholarship information.

About the curriculum: Dr. Sheryl Sorby, now the current 2021 President for The American Society of Engineering Education, developed the curriculum while at Michigan Technological University to support female engineering students in the improvement of their spatial skills. Students who believed to not “have what it takes” to be an engineer were actually found to be weak in spatial skills. Results after the course showed gains in grades, retention rates, spatial skills, and reduction in gender gap. A version of this course has since been offered to ninth graders at The Columbus School for Girls along with some lessons integrated into sixth grade activity centers.

Spatial skills will be developed through a 10-Unit program led by Bonnie Spence. Students will receive a consumable book as well as online activities access. The course will be supplemented
with games and topological puzzles that relate to visual spatial awareness and use of problem solving skills.

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Girls Thrive Summer Session 2021!

Girls Thrive is ready for another great session beginning Tuesday, April 6th – Saturday, May 29th!

Girls can register for one or both activity days, but are strongly encouraged to try both in order to maximize benefits. If girls do not show up to practice the first two weeks, their spot will be released to girls on the waitlist. 

  • Tuesdays: Running + an educational lesson, 4-5:30 PM, meeting at the Girls Thrive Headquarters (GTHQ), located at our facility within First Christian Church (please see location details below).
  • Thursdays: Mountain biking, 4-5:30pm at the GTHQ. Bikes and gear are available to girls in need, at no cost. These are available on a first come, first served basis.

Most running days will incorporate a mission-focused educational lesson such as, body image, confidence-building, self-esteem, and more. No experience in any particular sport is required for registration. We all learn together and encourage each other. Parents will receive a full schedule of activities and locations before the start of the session.

Eligibility: Open to all girls currently in grades 6 through 12.

Cost: $130 for 1 or 2 participation days. Scholarships are available to those in need. Please select the scholarship ticket option if your girl is in need of a scholarship. Payment must be made via credit card through this online payment system.

Gear: Available at no cost to anyone who needs it! GT bikes and helmets are available to use on a first come, first served basis during the session. Please note that we only have 12 bikes and helmets available.

Location: All dates this session, we will meet outside at our office, located within First Christian Church located at 311 Power Street. Please arrive on time, as we will need to take all participants’ and coaches’ temperatures before practice.

Safety: We are committed to providing a safe and positive environment for every girl. Our volunteer coaches have had background checks, most are First Aid and CPR certified, and all are passionate about our mission. We have had our Safety Plan reviewed by a few top professionals and feel confident with our protocols. Thank you for being flexible with us this session!



WHEN: June 6-11, 2021

WHERE: Carroll College in Helena, Montana

ABOUT BOYS STATE: Boys State will be accepting applications from the class of 2021 in addition to the class of 2022 because the program was cancelled last year.

American Legion Boys State is among one of the most respected educational programs of government instruction for high school students. At Montana American Legion Boys State, we emphasize not only the elective democratic process, but also the legislative, bill-writing activities found throughout our government. As the week passes, each delegate finds himself in a variety of government situations at the city, county, and state levels. Well-rounded programming complements the government simulations to provide a complete week of learning both in and out of the classroom.

MT American Legion Posts select high school juniors (incoming Seniors) to attend the program. In most cases the sponsoring Post or other community-based organizations (ex. Rotary, Elks, Knights of Columbus, etc.) pay the expenses associated with attending the program.

Please contact Chairman Lowell Long or Director Greg Pohle with any questions. See contact information below.

Chairman: Lowell Long                        Director: Greg Pohle
Phone # 945-4209                               Phone # 855-0056

COST: The delegate fee is $300





WHEN: June 13-19, 2021

WHERE: Carroll College in Helena, Montana


ALA Girls State is a weeklong program of nonpartisan, non-denominational curriculum. As a Montana participant, the girls are assigned to fictional cities named after gem stones whereupon they embark in the full democratic process of seeking office, holding elections and making and/or enforcing laws. It is a unique and exciting government-in-action learning program. Additional activities include Capitol field trips, choir, journalism, special distinguished speakers, mock trial, moot court, self-defense classes, talent show, trips to KTVH studio and visits with veterans. Two girls selected by the delegates and counselors will become our ALA Girls State Senators and have the opportunity to represent Montana at our Nation’s Capitol for the week-long ALA Girls Nation.

This year we will be allowing recently graduated seniors to attend the session since their opportunity was cancelled last year. The only caveat is that these girls will not be eligible to go to ALA Girls Nation in Washington DC or compete for the Samsung scholarship.

Delegates to ALA Girls State are selected from girls who have completed their junior or senior year of high school, have an interest in government and current events, show strong leadership abilities, and have high moral character.

COST: The delegate fee is $325


Are you ready to explore the universe? Then this five-day, overnight astronomy camp is designed for you! Campers will participate in different hands-on activities designed to expand their astronomical knowledge and enhance their observing skills, using state-of-the-art telescopes and cameras to view and image the night sky.

By the end of the camp, campers will have developed a journal and an observation plan to further their exploration of the final frontier.

CAMP DATES & DETAILS: July 11 – 15th, 2021. This is a five day overnight camp for students entering the 9 – 12th grades.

COST: The cost is $750 per camper, and includes housing, meals, snacks, supplies and all activities.


Montana Learning Center is partnering with Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, MT for a unique camping experience. This adventure includes three days of field expeditions to active paleontological dig sites in the Hell Creek Formation, where campers will engage in dinosaur fossil excavation, microsite identification, plant fossil harvesting, amber collection and more. In addition to the activities at the fossil dig sites, campers will tour Carter County Museum, sort material collected in the field, learn the basics of fossil preparation and prepare fossils they gathered at the digs for display in the Museum.

Space is limited to 12 students who are entering 8th – 12th grade.

CAMP DATES & DETAILS: August 15 – 20, 2021. This is a six-day overnight camp. Students leave from Montana Learning Center’s campus on Canyon Ferry Lake on Sunday afternoon and return there on Friday afternoon.

COST: the cost of the camp is $1195 for all six days and includes transportation, housing, meals, snacks and all learning and recreational activities and related fees.


***The application will be available in March, 2021! 

PROGRAM DATES: Saturday, July 24 – Saturday, July 31, 2021

ELIGIBILITY: High school students (who are entering their sophomore, junior and senior year starting the fall of 2021 and are at least 16 years old) are eligible to attend.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: this is an intensive, hands-on transformational learning opportunity with our faculty in a live-in shared one week experience. Students will engage in the classroom during the day and in meaningful social activities in the evenings and during the weekend.

Students will be exposed to all aspects of life as a UM student. Out-of-state and in-state high school students can earn one college credit and have a choice from two course listings (Environmental Ethics OR Public Health). Students will choose one course to participate in for the one week duration.

LOCATION: The University of Montana (Missoula, MT.) and/or a front country camping trip via the Wild Rockies Field Institute (Missoula, MT.)

ESTIMATED COST: $1,200 (this includes lodging, meals and the programs fees)


MWS offers1 – 4 week long backcountry expeditions for high school-aged youth. Students get to experience and celebrate public lands and wild spaces while learning technical outdoor skills and  making connections with new peers from a variety of background.

DEADLINE: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but it is encouraged to submit an application before May, 2021.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM: MWS programs are designed to promote personal growth, environmental stewardship, civic participation and community engagement. each course includes lessons on public land management, current conservation issues, and opposing stakeholder perspectives, with the aim of helping students become more informed on issues and perspectives that are relevant in our state. students learn the technical outdoor skills necessary to safely and effectively travel as a group in the backcountry with the intention that students are able to take those skills home and apply them on their own outdoor trips with friends and family. All courses include a Leave No Trace certification upon completion of the course.


Courses for 14 – 16 year olds:

  • Missouri River Adventure – June 16-27
    • 12 days canoeing the Missouri River Breaks
  • Montana Alpine Adventure – July 14-21
    • 10 days backpacking in Western Montana
  • Yellowstone Backpacking Adventure – July 6-13
    • 8 days backpacking in the Greater Yellowstone
  • Introduction to Packrafting Adventure – June 11-16
    • 6 days whitewater travel on a packraft (inflatable kayak)

Courses for 15 – 18 year olds:

  • Backcountry Skills for the Aspiring Hunter July 3 – 12
    • 10 days backpacking with emphasis on wild game behavior, tracking and hunting skills
  • Rock Camp Adventure – August 2nd to August 13
    • 10 days backpacking with introduction to backcountry rock climbing

Courses for 16 – 18 year olds:

  • Horsepacking Expedition – July 31 – August 9
    • 10 days backcountry horse packing trip
  • Mountaineering Expedition – June 15 – July 2
    • 18 days backpacking and expedition climbing, including summer snow and alpine rock travel
  • Wilderness Packrafting and Backpacking Expedition – July 11 – 25
    • 15 days whitewater packraft (inflatable kayak) and backpacking
  • Wilderness Backpacking Expedition – July 11 – 25
    • 10 days backpacking in Western Montana
  • Yellowstone Expedition – August 1 – 21
    • 21 days backpacking, packrafting and whitewater canoeing. Wilderness First Aid training and swift water rescue.
  • Montana Expedition – July 17 – August 10
    • 25 days backpacking, horse packing, and canoeing. Wilderness First Aid training.

SCHOLARSHIPS: MWS offers a generous, sliding scale scholarships to students and families who express and demonstrate the need for financial support. Interested families can use the financial aid application to apply. MWS also has the means to provide gear, clothing, and boots for any student in need.

COLLEGE CREDIT: Completion of our Yellowstone Expedition and Montana Expedition can earn two credits through the University of Montana Western and a 16-hour Wilderness First Aid certification.