Chinook is home to a unique ecumenical ministry in rural north-central Montana. Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) will have the opportunity to live and work in a supportive community while participating in leadership and pastoral care placements with children, youth, and older adults. The rural town of Chinook is located in north-central Montana’s Hi-line and has a population of approximately 1200. Chinook is an agricultural-based community and is the county seat of Blaine County, population 6500. The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is 25 miles to the east, and the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation is 50 miles to the southwest (in Hill County). The site of Chief Joseph’s famous surrender after his Nez Perce tribe’s 1500 mile fighting retreat is located south of Chinook at the Bear Paw Battlefield.
Chinook is home to ten faith communities, many of whom have begun working together over the past few years. The ecumenical partnership between churches in town has produced a community youth group, a summer lunch and activity program, and several local mission projects since 2009. The YAVs will participate in these ministries and support the community of churches’ efforts to expand our outreach to children, youth, and senior citizens. All activities center on both the gifts of the volunteers and the needs of the site. YAVs will also worship and participate in the life of the congregation(s) in town.
- Children-The volunteer will be working with kindergarten – 6th grade students at the elementary school through one-on-one tutoring and leadership in the weekly after-school program. The volunteer will also participate in the summer lunch and activities program.
- Youth-The volunteer will have a leadership teaching role at an ecumenical community Christian youth group and will help coordinate the annual mission trip. YAVs will also have the opportunity to engage in a variety of settings including tutoring at the Jr. High/High School, participating in Bible studies, etc.
- Senior Adult- The volunteer will minister to older adults through the nursing home, senior housing, and senior citizens center. Responsibilities vary from visiting one-on-one with residents, participating in activities and special events, serving lunches, leading/attending Bible studies, and/or socializing in a group setting.