Department Gal-livanting Around Montana
GAL-LIVANTING AROUND MONTANA
BOWS, BRIDGE, AND IMPROVBy Angela Jamison
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Montana women are adventurous by nature; they like to try new things and learn different skills. Here are some ideas you won’t regret trying.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW)
We live in Montana because of the abundance of things to do outside. Lucky for us the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks offer opportunities to expand our horizons. Their “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program is designed to introduce women to various outdoor skills. The goals of this program are to provide information, encouragement, and hands on instruction. Once a year there is a three-day BOW workshop. The location and classes change, but the adventure is always there. The workshops include activities such as fishing, shooting, archery, kayaking, outdoor cooking, and more. This program is for you if you are looking for an opportunity to learn a new skill or improve on a current hobby. It’s a chance to meet like-minded women and spend time reconnecting with nature. Once you’ve done one BOW workshop, chances are you’ll be eager for more. That’s where the Beyond BOW program comes in. These classes are a good next step and are generally one day, one subject. To find out about upcoming BOW workshops please visit fwp.mt.gov/education/bow
There is a common misconception about bridge being a game only for seniors. While it certainly is found in senior centers, it is for anyone of any age looking for a challenge, a way to meet new people, and work your brain. It is a social game that keeps your mind sharp while helping to develop good life skills. You work as a team, learn how to read people, and build friendships. All the major cities in Montana have bridge clubs; the American Contract Bridge League is the national outfit that runs tournaments, authorizes these clubs, and gives out master points.
Arguably the nicest bridge club in Montana is right in the Flathead Valley. This club has such dedicated members they were able to raise enough money to purchase land and build their own new facility, which opened in February of 2015. They feature regular weekly games as well as relaxed bridge sessions once a week, which is the perfect time to stop in and find out what it’s all about. Visitors and new players are always welcome and it is worth stopping by the Flathead Valley Bridge Center to see the facility the members are rightfully proud of. Visit www.bridgewebs.com/flatheadvalleydbc/ for more information.
At the Missoula Bridge Club, like other Montana clubs they play duplicate bridge. They rent their facility (while raising funds for their own) with most games played in the afternoon and evening. These are typically open but there are a few non-life master/novice games. You don’t have to have a partner to show up and there are classes for new and intermediate players. For more information visit www.missoulabridge.org
There are three bridge clubs in Helena. The Big Sky Bridge Club typically meets once a week and you need to call to reserve your seat in the game. The Bridge For Tyros is a relaxed, fun bridge game that meets once a week and is a great place for beginners. The Last Chance Bridge Club meets weekly for all duplicate bridge players. To find out where and when the games are played you can visit one website for all three clubs www.queencitybridge.camp7.org
The Bozeman Bridge Club does play at the local senior center, but this doesn’t mean it’s just for seniors! There is a Monday class that was created for newcomers with a large variation in skill level. They keep this class casual and comfortable. On Tuesdays they have stronger games for those at a more advanced level. They encourage players who are learning to come observe these games to see how they can improve. These games get a bit more competitive! If you don’t have a partner, give them a call, they usually have someone looking to play. Visit www.bozemanbridge.net for more information.
If going to a bridge club feels intimidating to you, many play online at www.bridgebase.com. This a good place to begin learning the game and is becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation of bridge players.
Standing on a stage and performing in front of an audience can be scary. Doing it when you don’t have any lines can be down right terrifying. However, it’s usually the things that scare us that are the most rewarding. Taking an improv class is a perfect example of this. In Montana we have access to amazing local theaters that not only provide entertaining shows but opportunities to step into this fun world.
Currently in its 21st season,The Verge is tucked is a gem of a theater tucked in an inconspicuous corner of a strip mall. Their goal is to create offbeat, heart-inspiring work that is empowering to people of all ages. They offer improv classes for adults who, as they say, “are at risk of becoming bored”. The improv curriculum gives a solid foundation of improv principles such as acceptance, listening, and creative collaboration. It is designed for all levels and helps build confidence in public speaking, thinking on your toes, and having fun on stage. They feature a progressive curriculum with classes offered once a week for nine weeks. If you’ve never been to the Verge to see a performance, do yourself a favor and buy tickets for the next show. The Improv on the Verge Troupe performs twice a month during their main season, cheapest laugh in town at $5! Visit www.vergetheater.com for more information.
The NOVA Center for the Performing Arts features Venture Improv, a performing group that also offers basic improv classes. In these classes they focus on team building skills, making big acting choices, learning to say yes to suggestions, and using them in scene work. They begin by helping everyone become comfortable with the group and continue with a fun day of improv. Venture Improv is also available for private classes and team building workshops. Visit www.novabillings.org for more information.
Zootown Improv at the Stensrud Playhouse will begin offering improv classes this fall. There will be beginning and intermediate classes plus stand-up comedy. They will run once a week for six weeks and end with a performance. At Stensrud Playhouse the focus is on teamwork, listening, creativity, and the ability to think on your feet in a safe environment. It’s a non-competitive environment where you work together, have fun, and form friendships. All levels are welcome. Zootown Improv performs twice a month so if you are wondering what it’s all about, check them out to see if it’s for you. They also hold auditions for their performing cast a couple times a year if you want to take it further. Visit www.stensrudplayhouse.com for more information.
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