The Boys and Girls Club of the Hi-Line and the HELP Committee along with the help of Montana State University-Northern put on the HELP Camp Tuesday through Thursday for students 5 through 8 grade.
This is the 24th year that the HELP Prevention Camp program has been running, said Mark Douglass, staff member at the Boys & Girls Club, “quite a while now.”
The purpose of the camp is modeled after the HELP — Havre Encourages Long-Range Prevention — Committee, and meant to teach kids to make healthy choices in everyday life. Many of the workshops done during the week reflect this.
HELP Camp was an overnight camp, and participants had the opportunity to stay on campus in MacKenzie Hall.
Tuesday was the first day of HELP Camp. After the opening ceremony, there were workshops to educate campers on problem solving, healthy living, and bullying. The workshops stressed working together, as in the “gutter” activity.
The campers acting as a team trying to pass water from one place to another using gutters. The goal was to spill as little water as possible.
Connor Moomey, 10, holds a gutter during one of the activities during the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line HELP — Havre Encourages Long-range Prevention — Camp Tuesday afternoon outside at Montana State University-Northern. In the game, children try to pass water across sections of gutter into a cup, and lose as little water along the way as possible.
Other activities that stressed teamwork were learning to untie the “human knot” and guiding one another through a field of water balloons.
The campers were then split into small groups, which are used to establish a closer, one-on-one connection. Small groups did arts and crafts, music, and other activities.
Wednesday started off with a presentation to help campers learn to recognize and refuse peer pressure. There was then an obstacle course, and dancing lessons taught by the junior staff, who are Boys & Girls Club participants grades 9 and up.
Each year, HELP Camp has a focus community service project to give back, so after lunch on the Student Union Building Lawn, campers began collecting for the food bank in the neighborhoods surrounding Northern.
Thursday was the final day of the camp, and after one last small group and clean-up, the junior staff led the campers in games.
There were 100 participants and junior staff in attendance. The camp will take place again next year — as Douglass said, “It’s a traditional end-of-June sort of thing.”