Power Up, Speak Out in the Wilds of Yellowstone
From June 27th to July 1st, 12 Carbon County middle school students explored their own wild backyard in Yellowstone National Park with “Experience Yellowstone!” The trip was a collaborative effort between the Yellowstone Institute, Power Up, Speak Out! (a program of DSVS), and the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation. The camp was generously funded by a private donor who believes in the importance of young Montana’s spending time in Yellowstone and learning about its wonders and the need for its protection. The funder made it so each child could participate without a fee. The trip was facilitated by Sam Italiano of the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation and Travis Burdick of Power Up, Speak Out! along with a guide from the Yellowstone Institute.
Each day the 12 students, two chaperones, and Yellowstone Institute guide explored the Park, learned how to work and live together as a group where everyone can be themselves and be treated well, and played hard. The students saw wolves, bison, pronghorn, osprey, elk, and a coyote. The Park was at a peak wild flower season when the kids visited—sticky geranium, Indian paintbrush, and arnica covered the hills.
The kids came away from the camp feeling a connection with each other as well as Yellowstone. Travis Burdick reported, “This trip provides an opportunity where we work to create a group culture where all the kids can be themselves, treat others well, say no, and have fun. It doesn’t just happen, it takes work. On this trip we learned how to do this work.”