VISIONS: Montana Blackfeet High School Service Program

Video and Photos

VISIONS Montana Blackfeet gather around the campfire
VISIONS Montana Blackfeet gather around the campfire
VISIONS service Montana Blackfeet work site
VISIONS service Montana Blackfeet work site
Backpacking trip group photo
Backpacking trip group photo
VISIONS service Montana Blackfeet work site
VISIONS service Montana Blackfeet work site
POW WOW!

About

Meet the rolling grasslands in northwestern Montana and live on a ranch among the local natives of the Blackfeet Reservation.

You'll have the chance to work alongside the Blackfeet Indian tribe on conservation and building projects for the local native community, and even attend sacred ceremonies and a powwow, all the while you try your hand at beading, unlock the secrets of medicinal plants and explore the beautiful Glacier National Park, located nearby!

Highlights
  • Conservation
  • Community Service
  • Backpacking
  • American Indian Culture and History

10% Discount on Select Programs Until the New Year

Programs are filled on a first-come, first-served basis so we encourage you to apply early!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 13 reviews
  • Growth 9.7
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Default avatar
Daniella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

BEST SUMMER OF MY ENTIRE LIFE

From the beginning of my journey with Visions, I knew that I was part of something special; something bigger than myself. All of the leaders were amazing, and worked tirelessly to make our experience extraordinary. Additionally, all of the other volunteers were some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
The living conditions are simple but comfortable, the bunks have functional sinks and showers, and the main house has a full kitchen, as well as a living room for the volunteers to hang out in.
The community service work was truly one-of-a-kind. Whether it was building a porch for a community elder, or woking with the local children during youth day, everyone worked hard and saw it pay off. One of the most rewarding parts of the experience was seeing the gratitude from the community members.
Our weekends were used as days to explore the community; to hike, camp, shop, swim, and more. For example, we had a three day hiking trip, where we had the pleasure of hiking to a camp site, swimming in a lake, and hiking some more, while bonding with the other members of our team.
We also had the privilege to witness some community festivals and events. Our group was given the opportunity to watch the Sundance, a special four-day-long event where there was singing, dancing, and special offerings were brought; a pow wow, where there were special dancers, as well as delicious treats; and sleep in tipees set up by community elders outside of our ranch.
This summer is a summer that I will never forget. I truly appreciate the opportunity to help others in need, while also having an incredible time and remarkable experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would recommend to future volunteers to enter with an open mind. It will be different than anything you would expect, but also better in every way.
Default avatar
Jasmine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VISIONS BLACKFEET

This summer I lived and volunteered on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation with VISIONS Service Adventures. VISIONS combined my favorite things- travel, learning, and community service. What I love about VISIONS is that the main focus of the trip is volunteering. Although there is still plenty of time to relax and explore, serving the community is the top priority. The weekday was structured around different worksites and projects. Every day we would choose between the different volunteering opportunities: soup kitchens, restocking food pantries, building handicap ramps for elders, repainting buildings… The schedule was very flexible and there were even more opportunities to find new work and take initiative in the community.

Besides the work, we also attended many cultural and religious ceremonies. VISIONS has worked with the Blackfeet people for almost thirty years, allowing the VISIONS program access to community celebrations as honored old friends. Knowing so many people in the community really allowed us to fully integrate into the community and got us invited to many sacred rituals. We attended sweat lodges, the sacred Sun Dance ceremony, and multiple powwows. Many of these rituals are not accessible to outsiders, and we were only able to attend these ceremonies because the locals know and trust VISIONS. They trusted us so much that they even let us help build the Sun Dance lodge and set up the tipis needed for the ceremony. Learning and experiencing this vibrant culture was only made possible because of VISIONS. I am so grateful to be one of the few outsiders who was able to experience it.

What would you improve about this program?
The housing could be slightly improved. Living on a ranch definitely pushed my limits but there were only port-a-potties. Also the ranch was a few miles outside of town, so we were not in the center of all the action.
Default avatar
Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best summer experience

I got to spend four weeks on the Montana Blackfeet reservation learning about their culture and their customs Whilst living on a ranch Among cattle I got to make great friends and have amazing experiences the leaders were very helpful and very friendly we did amazing trips like backpack into a frozen lake and traveling The elders and the tribe and our very nice and very open with going to the sun road where we saw grizzly bears the service project you do you are very rewarding and you feel great about yourself after completing them Getting to see a rodeo and a powwow well going to see Sundance a very spiritual rewarding experience which really opens your eyes to cultures around The elders really welcome you into their community and ally to see a side of people that you wouldn’t see anywhere else

Default avatar
Nancy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VISIONS Montana Blackfeet

Montana Blackfeet was one of my memorable and most favorite summer program I've ever been in. The leaders were supper professional, but fun, and I learned many construction and cultural facts. I made a bond with everyone and leaders made sure we got the help we needed. We also had neighbor dogs visiting our place every day, which was so sweet. Every day we had something to do, like laundry or construction work. We would go to communities and pass out flyers for free lunch and we met many friendly people. My trip with Visions was amazing. I went on the Visions Montana Blackfeet and I learned so much from my leaders. All my leaders were kind and willing to help each individual. I never got bored once on this trip and I met great people from all around the world. They made every aspect of the trip memorable and unique and I'm grateful to have been part of this program.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe the housing and the showers could be improved, but otherwise this trip was great.
Default avatar
Marius
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Visions Montana Blackfeet 1

I embarked on the 27 day visions service trip to Montana and it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We spent our days helping the local Native American Blackfeet reservation and its wonderful people, and spent our free time engaging in awesome bonding activities, sitting by the campfire and enjoying the grandiose beautiful sky. I also want to give a special shoutout to Nick Nelson who was one of the coolest mountain men Ive ever met and acted as a great role model to all of us. Trevor Cutlip and Khris Lyndon were also very good supporting counselors and the leaders made sure to bolster our experience for the better, very beneficial towards my character. We did things like canvas the local communities, venture out into the glacier national park mountains, and also go to iconic events like the Sundance, and the Indian days festival and rodeo.I highly recommend this program

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps for the visions Montana program,slightly more developed housing and more social stuf to do, but other than that(really enjoyable program.)
Default avatar
Lori
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

a transformative experience for my daughter

My daughter went to Montana the Summer of 2011 (summer of her freshman year in HS) -- and though she was pretty well traveled by that point -- she was not ever a solo traveler (or someone who liked 'camp' for that matter ) -- So i have to say i was wondering how this experience would go..... There were some minor blips getting TO Montana (flights got cancelled/weather delays/ the kids were split up -- )but the Visions staff handled it admirably (in spite of the airlines ) -- keeping me (and the other parents) in the loop at all times -- and even going so far as to say they would drive to Salt Lake City and pick up the kids if they didn't make it to Montana-- Once they got to Montana...and they did... I am not entirely sure what precisely happened on a day to day basis -- i know there was a lot of work in the local community, a lot of work with in the group, some fabulous hiking and camping, rodeos and a sweat lodge -- but the Girl who came home.... well lets just say that she was sobbing at the airport as she wasn't ready for it all to end (this is a girl who is a real home body )-- the bonds forged, the lessons learned, the growth experienced-- it was a life changing experience for her and those friendships have endured-- and she honestly felt she had made a difference and learned something on the way -- We chose Visions because of their commitment to a true community service program--truly it is what they do (not a travel program with a small community service component), their reputation as a stellar program and their deep roots in many of the communities they work in. Our daughter went back the next year (to Cambodia-- will review that later- but FABULOUS) and i do not hesitate to recommend Visions to anyone who is looking for a summer service adventure that is so much more...

Default avatar
Sameer
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VISIONS gave me a new outlook on my life

This program is one that has impacted me in a number of ways. First, I had the chance to develop my carpentry skills, which have already begun to bear fruit back home. Second, and more reflectively, I was shown that work is often its own reward. I have, for much of my life, focused simply on the goal-- working until it is done, getting a score on it, and moving on to the next task; at VISIONS, I was made to understand the difference between work, the process, and the goal, the destination. This mentality is one that I will have for the rest of my life, and one that will serve me well. But lastly, and most importantly, I saw an America that looked nothing like the America I know. To see what has happened to Native Americans on reservations is an experience I will never forget. They are some of the most amazing people I have ever met and they welcomed us to Browning despite the numerous struggles that they encounter everyday. Browning is a town that changed my life. I had some serious moments of self-reflection and I walked away a better person. This program is fantastic in more ways than one, and I urge rhe reader of this to consider applying.

What would you improve about this program?
Housing was okay, with all things considered, but I think that having slightly better showers would go a long way. It is a small concern, but the open top of it as well as its general dirtiness made showering an undesirable experience. Simply covering the sides so nothing can be thrown inside the shower while someone is showering. A mat wouldn't hurt either.
Default avatar
BO
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VISIONS will always in my mind.

27 days, this long trip without my family really makes me grow so much. Also, it's the first time I do this kind of volunteer work such as building, painting, and so on. The whole experience was refreshing me and making me think of my life and my future. This trip also makes me not too shy like I was. To be honest, the feeling of using your own hands to help others satisfy me the most. Although there might be difficulties and problems, you will enjoy the whole process of helping others and team work. All I want to say is: I really miss everyone who was in that program with me and this will be the most memorable experience in my life. If you choose it, you will never regret.

Default avatar
Damani
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Treasured Memories

Looking back about 5 years ago now, Visions Montana was undoubtedly the most thrilling and best experience of my life. I often reflect back on the captivating moments I had on the reservation and keep in touch with many of the others I shared the experience with during the adventurous 3 week program. I hope to visit Browning in the near future and contact some of the natives I made strong connections with. I will never forget the fun musical bus rides, hiking in Glacier National Park, horseback riding, and meeting the most genuine people I've ever met. I'd do anything to relive my summer in Montana.

What would you improve about this program?
I can't recall. Everything was great.
Default avatar
Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As Awesome as Can Be

I highly recommend doing this program if you are looking for a great time, a way to meet awesome people, and a way to help. That's what I was looking for when I went on this trip, and I absolutely got it. The staff is awesome, all participants are interested and excited, and you can feel yourself grow as a person as the trip goes on. For me, it is one of the things I'll remember for my whole life.

What would you improve about this program?
It's honestly very hard to say how to improve this program. Although it did not affect my trip directly, but if there was more of an application process for students, or at least an interview to round off kids who aren't as excited or interested I think it could be a good thing.
Default avatar
Murathan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go For It

There are many different ways you can spent your summer this year but I'm just saying, you want to do this Service Adventure. How many people get to say they met, helped and hang with the Native Blackfeet people? Only the ones who do this camp that's who. Also don't think you'll be working unstop all day. You get to join tribal ceremonies which can not be placed in words but only experienced. And that's not all the staff, the most unique and awesome people ever, plan fun activities every day which everyone will enjoy. Including sports, card/board games, and ice breakers. I'm not trying to bore you so I'll end it, but all I can say it go for it. Remember to ask me questions!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that needs to improve is the building in which we sleep, I personally did not have any problems but if it was a bit nicer/welcoming it would be awesome!
Default avatar
Anon
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

LOTS OF FUN!

VISIONS Montana is a fantastic program! You get so many opportunities to meet new people from all across the country, all of whom are sweet and very fun. A typical work day starts off with breakfast. Then at around 9:45 we left to go to the worksite, where we were constructing a playground. We also were able to do odd jobs like mowing lawns. We dug a lot of holes, and we also painted and stained wood. We usually got an hour break for lunch, in which we were allowed to walk about the town and buy food or souveniors. After the work day was over, we would go back to the ranch. We ate dinner, and then afterwards we would have various activities (movies, games...). We had 5 groups of "home base" people, who would stay back and cook, clean, do laundry and pick up mail. On the weekends, we did things like scavanger hunts and we went on hikes. We went on one backpacking trip as well.

What would you improve about this program?
Although VISIONS was a lot of fun, I would probably have prefered if we did not do Circle. We had to talk about our feelings.
Default avatar
ariel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Blown away (sometimes literally) :)

I spent this past summer in Montana, on the Blackfeet Native American Reservation right by Glacier National Park. To say it was beautiful, both physically and spiritually, would be misleading - there are no words for how absolutely stunning every moment was. It was eye-opening. It's an experience I'll always look back on with fondness. It definitely changed me inside and out.

I woke up every morning ready to go go go! Breakfast, always. Nothing like home-cooking. And perpetual oatmeal. And then we were gone - wind or rain, hot or cold, we were out doing our stuff.

I loved working on the construction site (clambering on roof rafters!) and getting involved in the culture (playing with all the little kids! I forget how many piggyback rides I gave) all around me. I've never before felt such a strong, deep, outstanding connection to anyone or anything. Taking 11 mile hikes, swimming in icy cold lakes, rock climbing, and camping only added to the fun.

It was almost surreal - for one month, I was free to be whoever I wanted to be and do whatever I wanted to do (within reason...). I was free to just explore. It was a safe place where you could be unsafe, if that makes sense. I can't thank everyone I was in Montana with me for that opportunity. And I still keep in touch with the kids I met!

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing... I'd change the duration of our stay. Could we just stay there forever? :)

But, in actuality - I might ask to change the organization. Sometimes things seemed a little scatterbrained. But I also think that added to the fun of it all, not really knowing what always came next.