Flathead Valley Exchange

Kalispell, Montana

What’s a better way to learn about an exchange than from some of the participants?

Before me were children in cowboy hats waving flags and catching candy in the air, veterans hearing deserved applause and smiling, fire engines blinking, a bi-plane dipping to say hello and cowboys and cowgirls carrying our flag proudly on their mounts. Such a sense of patriotism swept through me that I fought tears while grinning like a kid. I felt so proud to be an American. The time and place was magical.


What a wonderful time – hooking 5 big trout on Flathead Lake, the family-focused 4th of July parade, an alpine experience in Whitefish, the spectacular symphony performance in Bigfoot and lunch at Norm’s News.


Our exchange to the Flathead Valley FF club scored 2 firsts for me: my first exchange and my first time in Montana! By far my favorite memory will be the experience of Glacier National Park. Those mountains are massive! I thought about the power that formed them, and it filled me with awe.


One morning looking out the window into the Jenne’s backyard we saw a doe and on closer inspection we saw she was nursing her fawn! Friends of JoLynn and Jerry invited us to their home on Flathead Lake for desert and a terrific fireworks display.


I visited my hosts’ animal reserve which contained bear, lion, elk and a myriad of other wild animals through an immense wilderness, approximately 1,000 acres, which is legally guaranteed never to be used for housing. My host subsidized water and food throughout the bush as one would see in a world-class setting.


The Flathead exchange shown me the great beauty of America; it is not a high building or busy street. It shows the traditional value of people, how they live as a real hard working American who farm our land, protect our resources and the depth of natural beauty


Carol Beaudion humored me in our two hikes in Glacier National Park. I knew I was in trouble the first time we went out as she strapped on her gear and grabbed her hiking boots and poles. She was the seasoned Girl Scout leader and I was a mere Brownie scout. I learned a lot about life during those hikes-the importance of being in good physical shape, focusing on the path ahead, getting good footing, being prepared for anything, responding courteously to fellow hikers and having the right equipment.


Montana is an amazingly beautiful part of the country. The marvel of Glacier National Park is breathtaking. One couldn’t ask for more warm and welcoming hosts.


Three years ago I had the good fortune to host Patty Sevier from Flathead Valley for an enjoyable week here in the “burbs”. Three years later and guess who is hosting me? Patty Sevier. What luck! In spite of the busy schedule, we tucked in time here and there to “just chat” and I’ll leave it up to you readers to guess what we did in spades! I returned with hundreds of photos of gorgeous mountain scenery and the most endearing people ever.