Amazing program. My son was 8 years old when we were able to participate with this program. Last spring we started with the Equestrian program they offer. My kid cried and freaked out the first time we went. Afterwards the instructor came up to me and set up a goal program to get Owen involved. After one full month session she had my son HOOKED. Attended this fall session this year. He is still hooked and now going to try the SKI program in the spring. He is so excited to be able to do what other kids do. I am new to the handicap community here and so encourage families to get involved and support such an amazing program.
I got involved with Eagle Mount Billings in the summer of 2005 as a college intern studying Human Services. I was required to complete 125 hours which I volunteered for Day camp program. Through that experience, I completed my hours that summer but asked to stay on as a volunteer for all of summer day camp. I loved working 1:1 with the participants in the program to provide a educational, fun and safe environment. I also witnessed the Biking and Golf programs that summer. Watching their expressions of joy and excitement for the program to start as well as hitting the golf club or visiting with their friends are invaluable and memories I have of Eagle Mount Billings. I stayed on as staff for two more summers and in fall of 2007, I took on the role of Arts & Crafts Director. I'm currently the director and enjoy planning activities that the participants will enjoy to share their works of art. They love socializing and just having fun with a group of friends. Eagle Mount Billings provides so much more then recreational opportunities. They provide hope, courage, success, joy, laughter, and friendships that last for a lifetime. Volunteer, participate, donate or just attend a program for one time to see how much it means to the participants will really change your attitude in life.
Eagle Mount Billings has given many of the people I serve an opportunity to participate in activities they never could have done without the supports of volunteers. Two boys in particular come to mind both of them are autistic. One boy needed respite in the summer while his mother worked and he was for the first time able to access EagleMount Day camp. He had new and different activities to experience every day. It was a great experience for him and a very big help to his mother. The other boy is from out of town and he took part in the day program one day a week while his brother was in town. Again he didn't have to hang with mom the entire day, had peer involvement and loved his time for just him without the family. What great opportunities that would not happen without the great staff and planning that goes into every activity that EagleMount plans.
Eight years ago I became the single parent of a very special little angel named Abby! Abby was six years old and needed a home to call her own. Her biological parents had tried their hardest to provide for her but were at a point where they could no longer give her the specialized care she required. You see, Abby, is affected by severe autism and a rather involved seizure disorder. It took a bit of figuring out in the beginning but soon our little family was running on all cylinders!
Eagle Mount Billings has afforded Abby the opportunity to be who she is...a young woman who wants to enjoy biking, swimming, horseback riding, ski and day camp. She is not looked at any differently than any other child while she is at Eagle Mount Billings as she has with other programs in the community. Abby is included in every aspect of the program - for example, while at equestrian not only does she enjoy a 45 minute lesson, she has learned horsemanship skills (grooming, various kinds of tack, etc.), appropriate behavior while around the horses (using an indoor voice, slow movements around the horses, remaining calm, etc.) and an increase in appropriate social skills.
Eagle Mount Billings is much more than just a year-round recreational program for my daughter - it is a program that teaches her life lessons, the importance of friendship, and that it is okay to be who you are even if you see the world differently than others.