Summer was a busy time for the Missoula YODA group. Most of our gatherings were spent outside in the beautiful warm weather. On July 28 we had a picnic lunch at McCormick Park with the MS Support Group. There were 12 YODA members there, including four Peer Advocates and an MS support group member. We had great food, played around with water guns and tried to feed a gaggle of geese bread that they did not eat.
On August 15 we had our annual fishing trip in the Bitteroot. We had 18 people travel to fish. Seven were YODA members. The weather was great. We started off the day with Montech’s Chris Clasby and Brenden Dalin giving us a demonstration on the accessible equipment. After that we stuffed ourselves at a BBQ with hamburgers and hotdogs, salads, chips and desserts. When everyone was done eating we spent the rest of the day fishing in my Grandparent’s pond. Everyone caught a fish. Sadly, we didn’t catch any big rainbow trout and only caught perch. Fun was had by all.
In September, the YODA members who were in high school and lower grades got a fabulous opportunity to go to a Griz football game. We were sponsored by Griz Kids. Seven YODA members went to the first home game of the season on September 10. The weather was beautiful. We met in front of the Recreational Center, where I handed out t-shirts, hats and tickets. The game was exciting and the youth had a blast! It was topped off with a win for the Griz with a score of Montana 37, Cal Poly 23. A big thank you to Griz Kids and all they do to make Griz football accessible to all Missoula youth.
On Sep. 27 we met at Summit. We took a national survey about self-advocacy put out by SABE (Self Advocates Becoming Empowered). I hope this will get our members thinking about a social advocacy issue that we can work on this year. As always their was plenty of food to eat. We will have a Halloween Party in October–stay tuned for more details.
Also, be sure to follow YODA on Facebook to keep in the loop! We are currently working on several projects, including co-sponsoring some work with the Alliance for Disability and Students at the University of Montana!
Cara Wherley, Youth Specialist