Montana Mountain Mission
(Ha! See that what we did there?! A fun little word play on our mission out here in the mountains and plains of Montana)
The Adventures in Cardboard Mission as developed by the originators in Minnesota:
"Adventures in Cardboard inspires creative and imaginative play, both theatrical and tactically competitive, in beautiful wild places. We seek to re-inspire community-oriented and creative outdoor play.
We facilitate activities that demand the use of legs and feet as much as hands and head, where artist-instructors seek to unleash a zeal for creative role-playing and group tactical organization, and where “wonder” is the preferred path to igniting a passion for design, construction and playful exploration of the natural world.
In Adventures in Cardboard, artists and children take inspiration from the natural world to create their own fantastic places to inhabit and explore. We know that natural spaces open the imagination, and in turn the imagination can open new respect and longing for the natural world. From the work of Richard Louv and others describing “Nature Deficit Disorder” we know children are smarter, healthier and happier when they have time for open play in natural places.
Adventures in Cardboard also seeks to instill children with the strong notion, gained from experience, that any group of kids is a resource for creative fun that can easily compete with the fun of computer screens and phones. No guilt-tripping here: our counselors also love and enjoy the incredible video games and social media possibilities of our age, but Adventures in Cardboard has a track record of inspiring children to organize their own group summer adventures at home with little more than their combined imagination, a thicket of trees and maybe a scrap of cardboard."
Here in Montana, this mission remains true. We seek to inspire creative and imaginative play, theatrical eccentrics and tactical competition, in outdoor spaces that encourage participants to explore and interact with our environment and with each other more. We seek to build relationships amongst participants, our staff, and our communities that inspire creative outdoor play, build on life-long learning, and allow us to connect with the fundamentals of life - i.e., each other.
Why sword tag and games with conflict?
Adventures in Cardboard Montana (AiCinMT) creates a space in which participants are introduced to, able to engage in, and to practice consent and conflict resolution through creative play. Art and Play Instructors model what it looks like to vocalize discomfort, how to listen and respectfully respond to another person asking for a pause in Games or for space, and ways to resolve conflict. The games we play ask participants to show integrity and honesty in playing. All participants have the responsibility of calling themselves out. Participants practice tagging each other in one-on-one duels while instructors closely assess their ability to play safely and honorably before moving on to more complicated games. It is important life learning that is facilitated through creativity and play.
Some of the skills AiCinMT develops through play fighting and cardboard craft include:
- Empathy through playing with others and getting into conflict in a space of play
- Conflict resolution in that space of play
- Early age consent and how to vocalize consent
- Self-awareness and the ability to communicate well-being to others
- Teamwork and strategic planning
- Honesty and integrity in playing
- Creative building and engineering skills
We play, build, and create on traditional Blackfoot and Salish Kootenai territories, and at one point in time, Shoshone territory as well. Adventures in Cardboard Montana (AiCinMT) acknowledges that parts of our programming involve play fighting and story telling and that these take place on colonized lands.
This written recognition is one of the ways we wish to honor the history of this land and be a part of a better future.
For more information and resources, look to:
- Eastern Shoshone Tribe – http://www.easternshoshone.org/about.html
- Blackfeet Nation – https://blackfeetnation.com/
- Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – https://csktribes.org/
- Montana’s Indian Education for All – https://opi.mt.gov/Educators/Teaching-Learning/Indian-Education-for-All
- Native Lands, a website mapping Indigenous nations by territories, languages, and treaties. Native Lands has a thorough explanation of the need for and problems presented by Land Acknowledgements without equal action – https://native-land.ca/