Publisher’s Note: Volunteer Missoula is partnering with Make It Missoula to help the community learn more about the great work of local nonprofits as well as spread the word about exciting volunteer opportunities available to Missoulians. Every month we will feature a blog about an “Organization of the Month” chosen from our list of website users.
By JENNIFER PEPPROCK | Photos Courtesy of Children’s Museum
This month, Volunteer Missoula chose The Children’s Museum Missoula as our organization of the month! Choosing The Children’s Museum was really a no-brainer; not only do they offer some of the best volunteer opportunities Volunteer Missoula has to offer, but they also provide a great place to take your kids on those rainy days in June when Montana hasn’t quite realized it’s summer vacation yet.
The Children’s Museum, located downtown behind Caras Park, serves Missoula by providing a creative and fun atmosphere for children. The organization is also combined with Families First Missoula, which offers programs to help families grow and be healthy.
After a brief struggle attempting to parallel park downtown, I eventually found a space and made it to the Children’s Museum just as the doors were opening. I was greeted by the friendly staff who gave me a quick tour. The Children’s Museum has a plethora of entertaining exhibits for children and families. There’s a craft corner, a giant water table, an indoor treehouse and my personal favorite – the dinosaur dig. Sadly, I didn’t have a lot of time to play with any of the stuff before our first customers arrived.
A school bus full of children pulled up. There were a few instructions given to them and then suddenly—they opened the flood gates. Children were everywhere. Putting on dress clothes, climbing the walls, and hobbling around on fake crutches.
I don’t have kids. But I’m a waitress, so I spend a couple of hours every day picking up after them. I know the drill. Thankfully, picking up after children at the Children’s Museum is much more fun—there’s only fake food involved and the kids aren’t hungry to the point of meltdown.
Volunteering at the Children’s Museum is a one-of-a-kind experience. While I watched the children run free, I talked to Kira Huck, the Program and Outreach Manager. Kira explained that she first volunteered at the museum back in college and after a brief time at other non-profits, returned. She said she couldn’t stay away because the museum offers a completely different atmosphere than anywhere else she worked; it is a free, creative space of pure joy.
There are a lot of different opportunities to volunteer at the Children’s Museum. While I was there, I acted as a Museum Assistant, picking up after the children and making sure they didn’t hurt themselves as they sped around the museum. There are also opportunities to help out at birthday parties, organize face painting, coordinate crafts, and supervise the climbing wall. These opportunities can be found on their Volunteer Missoula Profile.
Families First works with the Children’s Museum to help Missoula’s families. Their programs offer help for parents in everything from temper tantrums to single parenting. They also have “Tea Talks,” an opportunity to let your children play while visiting with parenting specialists about your frustrations or challenges. For more information about Families First, visit their website.
Looking for a way to enjoy the Children’s Museum and the great outdoors this summer? Last weekend, The Children’s Museum kicked off their summer Pop-up Adventure playground series! The Pop-up Adventure playground series is a collaboration between the Children’s Museum and Missoula Parks and Recreation to bring a playground made of everyday items such as cardboard boxes, paper, cups, and egg cartons to a local park each Thursday afternoon. The program seeks to encourage child-directed, open-ended, play. To find a Pop-up Adventure playground near you, see the series schedule.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Children’s Museum as a volunteer, the opportunities are endless. Visit their Volunteer Missoula Profile, Facebook Page, or Website for more details. Don’t forget, even if you don’t have time to volunteer you most likely have time to visit! Keep the Children’s Museum in mind for the rainy, too-hot, or smokey days we will more than likely see this summer. Guaranteed, your children will have a blast—and you will have a blast watching them!
Mission Statement: Children’s Museum Missoula and Families First empower families with parent education and learning through play.
History: Children’s Museum Missoula (originally established as Families First) began supporting families in western Montana in 1994. The initial focus of the organization was to provide parenting information and support to anyone raising children through Parenting Programs. In 2002, they opened the children’s museum. The museum increases our ability to support families and parents with fun, hands-on, educational exhibits and programs that promote learning through play. In keeping with their mission & history, the Museum provides an environment which fosters positive parenting through shared discovery, interaction and play.
Ages 1-100 $4.25/person
Under age 1 is FREE!
FREE Admission for members
FREE Admission from 5pm to 7pm on First Fridays
*Group visit rates are available
Volunteer Missoula is a complete, streamlined volunteer management service for volunteers, nonprofits and businesses in Missoula County. We are web-based nonprofit organization operating under the fiscal sponsorship of United Way of Missoula County. Volunteer Missoula was created and is currently operated by Missoula community members dedicated to promoting volunteerism as a solution to meeting community needs. Volunteer Missoula is partnering with Make It Missoula to help the community learn more about the great work of local nonprofits as well as spread the word about exciting volunteer opportunities available to Missoulians.
Every month we will feature a blog about an “Organization of the Month” chosen from our list of website users. Our mission is to promote and expand volunteerism as a viable means to fill service gaps in Missoula by connecting volunteers, nonprofits, businesses and individuals in need of service through an interactive and comprehensive website. Volunteer Missoula’s website connects volunteers with Missoula-based nonprofit organizations. We make volunteering easy. For more information about our program or how to become an Organization of the Month, please visit VolunteerMissoula.org or email us at email@example.com. Step Up. Help Out.
Jennifer Pepprock is a junior at the University of Montana studying history and political science. She is from the small Bitterroot Valley town of Stevensville where she attended school and participated in debate and student government. During college, Jennifer volunteers for the American Legion, coached debate at her old high school and also works as a waitress at a local Mexican restaurant. In her spare time she likes to camp, fish and kayak in and around Montana. Because weather doesn’t always permit these things, she also enjoys archival research and reading. Her passions include education reform and children’s issues. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and become a lobbyist or family lawyer. She is very excited to continue working for Volunteer Missoula and appreciates the opportunity to help make volunteering in Missoula easier and more fulfilling!