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What Is Singing Waters Montana

Singing Waters Montana is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established for the sole purpose of obtaining the facilities at Mimangish and managing it as an Organizational Camp, for a diverse range of users seeking a special, sacred place to offer transformational programming.

Our Purpose:

Singing Waters Montana is a new non-profit organization formed by people who have been campers, counselors and staff at Mimanagish, who want to give it new life by hosting transformative events. We aspire to be the vessel for experiences provided by a wide variety of groups and people.   We’ll be “The Camp for Those Who Don’t Have a Camp.”

Our Vision: 

  • Nurturing transformation, acceptance and joy in a sacred wilderness environment. 

Our Mission:

  • To gratefully steward the land and singing waters with respect and care.
  • To provide a wide welcome to all. 
  • To offer opportunities to:
  • Fosters meaningful relationships; nourish body, mind and spirit; and unplug from the distractions inviting solace and creativity.  To build a beloved community that values justice, equality and love. 

More about us…

Singing Waters Montana seeks to provide unique, transformative experiences for people away from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. We will provide warm hospitality to people and organizations seeking a welcoming and beautiful place to temporarily retreat from computer and TV screens, from ever-present cell phone alerts, from social media and from the 24-hour-news cycle. We will provide quiet, solace in nature, and the spaciousness required to relax, find restoration, and enjoy programming that nourishes the spirit and builds deep community.  Our wilderness sanctuary offers a clean slate where program leaders can set free their imaginations and design opportunities and activities that encourage participants to explore their spiritual connections to creation and to one another; where people can engage in painting, writing, playing music; where they can meditate and learn yoga; where they can fish, hike and play games outdoors; where they can explore their connection to the natural world, learn about plant and animal life, and become better stewards of the land.

“A Camp for Those Who Don’t Have a Camp”

Singing Waters Montana aspires to market Mimanagish widely as “a Camp for Those Who Don’t Have a Camp,” reaching well beyond the churches that have been the core of participation to date. Programs will include work/reunion camps as well as arts, spiritual, and nature experiences so well-suited to this site. Music, youth, and yoga groups will be nurtured and welcomed to fill out the summer season.

More than 60 people in our survey indicated they would attend Reunion/Work Camp in June 2020; more than 70 responded “maybe.” These weeks will be a blend of fun and recreation with facility maintenance and improvements. Each project will have a designated coordinator and supplies will be on hand. Participants may register for as many days as they wish; they will pay a bargain price. Highest priority projects are creating five RV spots with water and electricity, plumbing and flooring work in Full Moon Hall, and well-planned upgrades of Livingston, Riverview, Roaring Waters, Trail’s End, Mayflower, and Managers’ cabins. Other possible work includes opening the old entrance (because it is historic, the USFS is friendly to this idea) and improving the visual welcome. Time will also be devoted to work that meets the needs of the Forest Service.

We will continue to offer events that already have a history of good participation at Mimanagish: volunteer-led work camps, fishing, arts, and spiritual retreats. (These all had record enrollment in 2019.) We have strong potential for several new events including a week for Foster and Adoptive Families, a Music Festival, and a respite retreat for therapists called “Healing the Healers”.  We will work with the MNWC-UCC to schedule Outdoor Ministries events; our hope is that conference youth and multi-generational camps will continue at Mimanagish.

Schools in Montana are mandated to provide Indian Education for All, and Mimanagish offers an excellent venue for outdoor learning on what was originally part of Crow (Apsaalooka) territory, near where Nez Perce Chief Joseph traveled on one of his journeys. Our Native American consultant, Ed Duran, is a valuable link to leadership training for Native youth and restorative retreats for Native veterans. Time and care will be given to nurturing trusting relationships and encouraging imaginative events.

We also will seek and nurture new users including:

  • Musicians.
  • Conservation groups.
  • Family gatherings.
  • School groups.
  • Yoga retreats.
  • College retreats.
  • Grief camps for children.
  • LGBT+ events.
  • Schools for Blind and Deaf children.
  • Church retreats, etc.

Singing Waters Montana will program only work camps in the first year. User groups that book the facility may offer programs for any or all ages, and many of these will focus on youth. Our paid and volunteer staff will have had background checks and boundary training to provide a safe space for all.

Many facilities like ours do not welcome LGBTQ+ groups or families; we are open and affirming and will actively seek inclusive organizations, and on a more limited basis, weddings and family gatherings. All personal gender identities are welcome.

So long as at least 60% of our activity is with non-profits, Singing Waters is welcome to hold weddings, corporate retreats and other for-profit events. These will help our bottom line, so we are open to referrals.  Mimanagish would be ideal for a business’ Team-Building event! 

Singing Waters Montana Board:

  • Chair:  John Firehammer, Missoula.
  • Vice-Chair:  Katie Bennett, Billings.
  • Secretary:  Cathy Barker, Helena.
  • Treasurer:  Gina Herbert, Billings.
  • At-Large:  Judi Firehammer, Bozeman.

Advisory Circle:

  • Convener: Dick Weaver.

Consultants:

  • Dr. Eduardo Duran: Native American and Veteran Connections.
  • John Eisenhauer: Software Developer.
  • Susan Howlett: Fundraising.
  • Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer: Hopa Mountain, Nonprofit Mentoring.
  • Plus six Camp Managers from Washington to Wisconsin.

More information: info@singingwatersmontana.org