Quiet Denton senior has exciting summer

News-Argus Staff

Not all tasks are as pleasant as sanding wood for Jason McKinney as he assists the school janitor during his school day at Denton.

Photo courtesy of Denton School


Denton senior Jason McKinney doesn’t go out of his way to find excitement. But this summer, excitement found him.

For the past three summers, Jason has spent part of his summer at Camp Lewtana near Lewistown. Part of the program for older teens is a camping and float trip down the Missouri River. This summer’s group of about 50 teens and counselors camped three nights beside the river.  About half the daytime hours were spent paddling their canoes. The rest of the time they took advantage of the current and conserved energy by letting the river do the work.

On one of those days, however, the wind was a bit more than brisk. That wind, combined with a strong current and a tight corner, caused Jason to find himself in the midst of the “Big Muddy.” Disaster was averted thanks to the life jacket he was wearing, Jason’s swimming ability and another camper on the bank of the river who was able to reach out and pull him to shore.

During the school year, Jason helps the school janitor, Kim Stainbrook, with various tasks. On Wednesday morning, they were installing a new basketball hoop on the elementary playground. Most of the tasks Mr. Stainbrook assigns, Jason doesn’t mind doing. However, last year he was given the task to restock the water heater with coal – a pretty dirty task.

Jason doesn’t plan to go to college after graduation. He says that he will seek a job and training as an animal behaviorist.

“You work and train with a veterinarian,” Jason said. “When you finish training, you receive a certificate that doesn’t expire – it’s good for life. Then you can work just about anywhere that treats or deals with animals.”

Jason looks forward this year to the senior class trip. The destination has not yet been decided. “It’s a toss up between tickets to a March Madness basketball game or a trip to a different state,” Jason said. “The class needs to decide a destination, projects costs, make reservations and all else that goes along with travel. Then we need to raise funds to pay for the trip.”

When asked if he could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, Jason replied, “Since I am a Christian, I would like to sit down and have a meal with Jesus. Any wisdom that He could give me would be amazing.”



Where is your favorite place to go camping in Central Montana?