MISSOULA — Summertime is a time where kids can be kids, they can run around, play, not have to worry about the pressures in the classroom, but as the smoke continues to roll through Missoula camp counselors are having to adjust to keep kids safe.
We all have a memory of summertime and summer camp.
In Missoula, YMCA summer camps serve thousands of kids throughout their 11-week summer programs, coming from all over Western Montana. Additionally, Missoula Parks and Recreation camps are serving 2,000 kids over the course of the summer.
Each camp program has a plan put in place to continue to keep having summer services available for kids in the event that the smoke prohibits them from being outside.
"One of the great things is we have our own facility that we can host a lot of summer camps that we've got gym space we've got a pool,” Tyler Taylor with the Missoula YMCA. said. “We've got all these fun things that they can do to get all that energy out but still be inside and still being able to do all the fun camp stuff."
Missoula Parks and Recreation echoed a similar message, knowing they are important for working parents.
"You know the other thing we do often is, we do have the luxury of being mobile for a lot of our programs so we can kind of look at where the smoke is any given day, just based on, on the charts and kind of alter our plans to send a group rafting in a different direction, where the air quality's better. - Tyler Decker, Missoula Parks and Rec
Although the smoke can be a hindrance for summer camps, counselors use it as a learning opportunity for their camp goers.
"Opportunities like this are a great way for us to do some inquiry-based education, right, we're like, alright guys, what's going on outside, like, what's causing all that gross smoke?” Where's the fire? We can pull up maps we can look at a map of Montana study its geography and topography and there'll be even talking about forestry management because our counselors, they come from a wide range of backgrounds. We've got forestry majors, we've got English majors, we've got art teachers, everything, and to be able to use their expertise with kiddos is a really awesome opportunity." - Tyler Taylor, Missoula YMCA
As for now, summer camp goes on, with or without smoke.