Each summer Chrysalis students (staff, and often parents too!) have the privilege to explore northwest Montana, and parts of Canada. Students are on campus Monday through Thursday morning so that regular therapy, family phone calls, remedial academic work, and on-campus activities can continue to take place. In between the usual responsibilities on these days students are enjoying the great outdoors and swimming in the lake, gardening, doing art projects, volunteering at the local animal shelter, and more. Summer at Chrysalis is an excellent time for students to grow in their relationships, to be physically and emotionally challenged, and to have parents join us on robust adventures.
During the summer months, Friday and Saturday are designated adventure days! Experienced and energetic adventure staff take the students hiking, biking, rock climbing, and rafting. The mountains and lakes are our playground, and northwest Montana has endless recreation opportunities. We are regularly engaging in day adventure trips on these long weekends, with additional multi-day trips through the summer.
Father-Daughter Canoe Trip
Dads and daughters paddle the wild and scenic section of the Missouri River in eastern Montana on this five day retreat. Unlike Lewis and Clark, we paddle with the current! This trip includes a canyon hike up to "hole in the wall" that overlooks the river. We camp by the river's edge, and therapy takes place both formally and organically throughout the trip. And the adventure staff always feed us incredible food!
We take multiple rafting day trips each summer, often on the Elk River in Canada or Kootenai River. We submit for Salmon River permits in Idaho as that's a favorite rafting trip when we get the permit. The rafting trips have minimal white water and are more about floating a scenic glacially carved river and building relationships on the river. Students learn how to read the water while staff paddle the boats. You better say if you don't want to get wet because lots of splashing and water wars happen on these trips!
Glacier Service Trip
Chrysalis is lucky enough to partner with the National Park Service each year to partner with the park staff for a week long service trip. We camp in the park, completing a few days of trail work and a few day hikes at one of the most beautiful and pristine national parks. This is always a rewarding time for the staff and students, and a chance for us to give back to this beautiful area (not to mention learn how a trail is made). We have ongoing relationships with the park staff, and this is a well anticipated trip each year.
A small group of students (and occasionally an ambitious parent or two) bike over the Whitefish range mountains that can be seen from campus to Glacier National Park. This is typically a four day trip, camping along the way. A support vehicle carries all the gear so that students can focus on biking over the beautiful mountain passes. Most of the biking is on dirt roads. Of course we stop at the Polebridge Mercantile as we pass by for the infamous huckleberry bear claw.
Each fall a group of students take a backpacking trip. The trip only has 8-10 students (who choose to attend) so as to provide a more intimate experience. Trip routes vary as there is a plethora of great options. No doubt a summit hike and alpine lake will be included regardless of the route.
Our annual mother-daughter retreat happens in August and takes place on the pristine Flathead Lake. Moms and daughters stay in cabins, and enjoy water activities on the lake each day (tubing, kayaking, swimming, paddle boarding etc). Add yoga, art projects, and delicious food and it truly is a retreat. This is a special time for moms and daughters to reconnect and enjoy time on one of the top twenty pristine lakes in the world.
Summer Leadership Retreat
We typically facilitate three leadership retreats a year, one of them being during the summer months. Students are selected for these trips by her treatment team. This is a time to reflect on what it means to be a leader and different leadership styles.