County Declares April 16 ‘MAPS Day’

Ravalli County Commissioners voted to proclaim April 16 as MAPS Day for Ravalli County, after listening to a presentation by MAPS staff and students, Thursday

The Ravalli County commissioners heard a presentation by the MAPS Media Institute staff and students last week, and voted to proclaim April 16 as MAPS Day for Ravalli County.

MAPS executive director Wendy Bauder and instructors Clare Ann Harff, Tim Kolberg and Christian Ackerman were joined by a teacher’s assistant and several MAPS students for a 40-minute presentation with plenty of questions and answers.

The group highlighted the success of the afterschool program since its inception, how it has transformed the lives of students and future plans.

MAPS is a free afterschool program available to all students, grades 8-12, and is not funded by taxes. It is a 32-week program that runs with the school year and is expanding to include a 10-week summer program.

MAPS teaches technical and business skills in filmmaking, technology, music, design and entrepreneurship along with life skills such as critical thinking, responsible use of social media, networking, innovation, communication, team work, leadership and problem solving.

The commissioners had specific questions about the program for the students and staff.

Harff explained that on April 16, MAPS would launch a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that occurs online – with the goal of equipping a MAPS van that would deliver opportunities to youth statewide in intensive hands-on workshops. The campaign concludes at the annual MAPS Media Arts Festival May 15-16.

“Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform,” said Harff. “It has existed since 2009 and it’s an independent way for artists, art organizations, non-profits – anybody who has a creative project – to fund their idea via the Internet.”

“It’s specifically called crowd funding,” added Kolberg. “A project can be funded by one individual giant donor and also by multiple people. We’re trying to help, specifically, kids throughout the state of Montana. Specifically with the entrepreneurship class, we are teaching kids how to start businesses and there are core skills students are developing. One primary skill set is communication skills – one of the areas that is weak in our youth today.”

Harff said that as part of the MAPS fundraising, student ambassadors have been selected to visit other organizations and businesses throughout the area to explain the MAPS program and vision.

Students told their experiences and success in being in the program – the technical, personal and relationship skills they learned.

Board members individually stated their pride in the program for the past 11 years and unanimously passed the proposal to proclaim April 16, 2015 as MAPS Day.

The proclamation reads:

PROCLAMATION - WHEREAS, the BOARD OF RAVALLI COUNTY COMMISSIONERS wish to recognize MAPS, known as Media Arts in the Public Schools, for their community partnership in working with the youth; and

WHEREAS, due to the success of MAPS creating opportunities for students in Ravalli County, the BOARD OF RAVALLI COUNTY COMMISSIONERS support the expansion of MAPS throughout our community and into the State of Montana.



“In an effort to garner the most support on MAPS Day, April 16, the staff and students at MAPS will be hosting a community open house at their campus, 515 Madison St., Hamilton,” said Harff. “Doors will be open from noon – 8 p.m. Events include studio tours, students sharing their individual projects and the official launch of the student Kickstarter campaign, The MAPS Mobile: Media on the Move. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

“MAPS students will have a designated Kickstarter Corner through the duration of the campaign. This will include a computer workstation dedicated to managing the 30-day campaign. Any member of the community can visit MAPS, have a student explain how Kickstarter works and show them the project page on the Kickstarter site. If the person wishes to donate, staff and students will be available to assist anyone.”