GREAT FALLS — On Saturday afternoon, along the River's Edge Trail, Conservatory ASL Northwest (CAN) hosted a hike of nearly five miles.
Conservatory ASL Northwest works with CorpsThat, an organization that works to connect the deaf community with the outdoors through education, recreation, and careers.
“We want to be able to inspire them to give the best that they can and to provide a language opportunity for them, said Amanda Fudge, co-founder of Conservatory ASL Northwest. “Many deaf kids in Montana don’t have a place where they can actually go and have language access so we’re hoping to raise that option for them.”
CorpsThat hosts an annual fundraiser called Sol Fest to celebrate the ending of the winter solstice and this year the event was a hike-a-thon to comply with Covid-19 regulations.
Beginning at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, hiker traveled along the River's Edge Trail, ending at the Children’s Museum of Montana.
The goal for this year’s Sol Fest is to raise $1,000 and with that money, CorpsThat will be setting up the first-ever deaf-run Conservation Corps.
"All the money that we’re earning through Sol Fest, we’re not earning it, it’s going directly to CorpsThat, it’s their mission,” said Fudge. “This year, they are going to be starting the first ever deaf-led Conservation Corps, which we’re so thrilled about and want to support so we’re motivated to work to earn support for their cause because we really believe in it.”
Money raised from this year’s Sol Fest hike will also go toward providing CorpsThat with training and tools to hire six to eight new deaf members.