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News & Info

University of Providence & St. Vincent De Paul Bring Back Camp Skychild After Two Year Hiatus

FOR RELEASE: August 5th, 2022

GREAT FALLS, MONTANA – The University of Providence is delighted to share the return of Camp Skychild. After being closed for two years due to COVID-19, volunteers and camp attendees are excited to experience an environment full of recreational and academic activities.

Camp Skychild is a joint service-learning project between UP and St. Vincent de Paul. Deb Kottel, UP legal/paralegal studies professor, oversees the program, and a handful of UP students and staff and other community partners volunteer.

This camp has had an impactful experience for the past 28 years on children ages five to twelve who have a parent in the social welfare or criminal justice system, as well as other children in need.

While it was a challenge to reboot the camp this year, several volunteers and community partners jumped in for a camp that means so much for the children involved.

“The impact of COVID has been significant for community service activities.  The Camp was shut down for the summer of 2020 and 2021.  It was like starting from scratch.  We had to redevelop our relationships with volunteers and begin again with our students as camp counselors.

This year Camp Skychild is introducing a new outreach program, The Children’s Read for Life Program.

“There has been an increase in our community of students in 3rd grade not reaching English Language or Math proficiency. The impact of non-proficiency in both areas impacts graduation rates and creates societal difficulties.  Our new child literacy project which we call The Children’s Read for Life Program seeks to improve reading skills and critical thinking levels among at-risk children and target the growing illiteracy among pre-school and school-age children.”

Camp Skychild will be hosted in the St. Thomas Campground in Monarch, MT from August 8th – 11th, 2022. For those interested in signing up children, volunteering, or donating, please contact Deb Kottel at deborah.kottel@uprovidence.edu.

The University of Providence (UP) is a private, Roman Catholic Liberal Arts University founded in 1932 by the Sisters of Providence. The University of Providence honors the Sisters’ vision today by providing a mission-driven education to those that need it the most. UP is located in Great Falls, Montana and offers both undergraduate and graduate level liberal arts programs and health programs.