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VISIONS Service Adventures

About

We believe that stepping outside of ourselves and encountering new perspectives fosters profound and positive change. We know that students who engage in meaningful service work in new environments gain exceptional insight—it’s been our program model for more than three decades. Our teen participants settle into the daily life of the host community, get to know local residents, experience different customs and in the process, begin to feel a sense of global connection.

As one of the first international and domestic service organizations for teenagers and young adults, we celebrate this connectedness—and the hope it holds for the future.

If you are ready to ignite a future with promise, purpose and positive change, then you are ready for VISIONS.

Reviews

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Avery
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely the best way to spend the summer

I had the absolute best time on the Montana farm and ranch program this summer in July! We went white water rafting, rock climbing, and did a number of service projects at non-profits and farms in the area. I came home with a deep knowledge of agriculture, the talks were amazing. The leaders were absolutely fantastic and the farm was incredible. I met some of the coolest people from all over, and was able to spend time with animals too. I loved going to Rocky Creek and working there, we harvested and planted and met some amazing young people. I loved working on the chicken coop and greenhouse at the VISIONS Farm, and hanging out in the loafing shed and playing cards. Dave was a fantastic head of program, and all of the leaders were such cool people. While I loved the amazing backpacking trip in the Crazy Mountains and all of the other cool hikes we did, being able to shop in downtown Bozeman was also awesome. The one critique I have is that I wish we could have visited Yellowstone which was so close, and done all of the things advertised on the website, like the bison harvest and more talks with local farmers. We went to a hot springs and went swimming, along with Bozeman beach. I loved visiting the horticulture garden at MSU and all of the other farms in the area, like Barney Creek Livestock and Farm 51. We had a textile workshop, and also went to a wool mill. I am so grateful for this amazing experience from VISIONS, thanks a million!! Definitely recommend if you are looking for an amazing time in the summer!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Rock climbing was such a nerve-wracking experience, but it was so awesome being high up and trying something completely new in the Montana landscape.
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Melissa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Montana Gap Program

I went into the Montana Roots Gap Program hoping to learn about the world around me and ways that I can contribute to give back. As it turned out, I ended up learning about sustainable practices and we focused a lot of time learning about ecosystems. It was all very interesting and inspired me to want to live better! We met a lot of guest speakers who shared their knowledge with us and we got to partake in unique activities that I otherwise would not have had the chance to! One of the best parts of the program became apparent by the end - I had met so many awesome people and became friends with the other students. We were like our own little family.

I really enjoyed the outdoor adventure components, like the backpacking trip and other hikes. Getting out to enjoy nature in responsible ways was really a highlight. We also took a course to get Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications, which is never a bad thing to have under your belt.

This program gave me the opportunity to live life for a while in a manner that I had never experienced before. It was a challenge at first, but soon became part of my everyday routine. It was an eye opener and I couldn't be more thankful for all that I'd learned and experienced.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Sometimes things don't work out as great as we expect but it's our own responsibility to make the most of those moments. You get out of life what you put into it, and the same thing applies here. My advice is to always make the most of any situation, as there is always a light and a dark side. Focus on the light and you'll never go wrong. Be engaging!
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Charles
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing trip!

I had a great time in Alaska last summer thanks to VISIONS. Not only did I have the chance to get familiar with building and meet amazing people, both locals and volunteers, but I also grew as a person. Meeting with the local population and getting to know their culture/lifestyle was definitely a highlight of my trip. I still remember the ice climbing, canoeing, and camping trip, and now have many amazing memories to look back on. Would definitely recommend it to any high schooler looking for a summer camp/program.

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Kevin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

nice option for a community service trip

I spent a summer with VISIONS on the British Virgin Islands. I had the chance to spend time hanging out with the locals, trying new things, and most importantly help out the community. Till today I still have the contact of the friends i made on the island. Food was great i get to try the food made by a local lady everyday that I have never tried any else where. Besides the cultural experiences I also scuba dived for the first time in my life with them. The staffs are very helpful and open-minded, they are people that you can count on. Honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had.

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Max
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Thank You Visions

I had the most amazing summer last year thanks to Visions which helped me become a more empathetic and compassionate person. Visions combines making its groups help others and themselves through both community service, and sessions in which the group reflects on the program and themselves. I truly believe that this program can help improve all teenager's lives around the world and I fully recommend it to anyone looking for both an amazing experience, and community service hours. Thank you Visions.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would be open and social from the very start and let myself enjoy the program for it's full time span.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Ellie Oakley

Job Title
Outreach Coordinator and Summer Program Leader
Ellie grew up in Colorado and New Mexico, and she graduated from Middlebury College in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Religious Studies. Before working for Visions, Ellie worked with kids in various capacities, including a summer with Girls Inc. where she helped middle school girls develop wilderness skills for hiking and camping in the high desert mountains. She enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors.
Ellie at the top of a mountain with ruins and a blue sky behind her

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory at Visions was waking all of the students up at dawn to hike up to Machu Picchu. We started out by walking through the small town at the base of the ruins, a bleary walk in the dark with flashlights to light our way. We then hiked up the mountain via many flights of stone stairs and ended with sunrise at the entrance to the ruins!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for Visions encouraged me to grow as a confident leader. Being a leader for a Visions program really allows for growth in communication skills with the kids, teamwork with other leaders, and intercultural competence as you spend time in other cultures and countries. These are all important skills that I took with me afterward.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of the stories I enjoyed hearing from the students who were in my program is the fact that they were all still in touch with each other after the program ended. Their friendships continued after their time in Peru, and they were all making plans to meet up and visit each other. They left Visions with friends all over the country and the world.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I am drawn to the Montana programs – both the Blackfeet program and the Farm program. As I live in Montana, I think the Blackfeet program would offer a way to explore and connect with another culture within the state, while the Farm program explores sustainable farming techniques and hands-on outdoors experiences.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Visions are unique in the fact that it has a component called Circle, where you gather as a group of leaders and students every-other night on the program. During this time you hold prompted discussions on how the program is going, any difficulties that have arisen, and any particularly happy or proud moments that have occurred. You also dive into important questions about each other and each other's backgrounds and experiences, holding meaningful and personal discussions that form the foundation of a strong community. I found that the students were really open to this activity and I was especially proud when some of them mentioned how significant Circle was to their experience and how they aimed to foster the same open communication throughout their lives.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

One of the biggest factors is offering a unique and compelling experience for students, which I believe Visions does through its focus on community service, meaningful cultural exchange, and communication and community-building amongst the students in the program and between the students and the culture they're immersed in. Along with that, having a strong team of people working behind the scenes to make these programs a reality.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Amanda Pincock

Job Title
Summer Program Director

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have so many! My favorite thing about travel is making connections with people.

Once when I was backpacking through Europe I was spending the night in a train station in Italy. A young Italian couple was doing the same thing and sat down with their packs across from me.

I didn't speak any Italian and they didn't speak any English, so we communicated with gestures, and then taught each other words all night. It was a great way to wait for an early morning train.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Visions has really allowed me to grow into the Director that I want to be. I work and direct programs all over the world, including Native communities in Alaska and Montana, the West Indies, Asia and Africa.

I am able to build relationships with elders and other leaders and motivated people in our host communities, which is extremely important to me, especially after returning from the Peace Corps. I am also able to work with wonderful Visions staff members on my team at site, and guide and shape our programs to be the best they can be for our community, as well as for our summer participants.

I really enjoy getting to spend time with the outstanding high school students we have each year, and helping them see the world a little differently. I think one of my favorite things about the summers is seeing our participants stretch themselves and grow.

Visions is a one-of-a-kind service program that allows time every day for participants and leaders to reflect on their experiences. It's great to be part of that, and to be so present.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

While I've heard many students tell me that Visions had an enormous impact on their lives (many students have told me it was the best summer of their life, or that it changed them for the better), one of my favorite stories is that one of my students from our Alaska program decided to join the Peace Corps after college, and contacted me to ask me about it.

She was sent to the same area of the world I was in (West Africa) and now also speaks French. She coincidentally moved to the same city as me, and we ended up joining a bluegrass band together!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

There really are so many wonderful places, it's hard to choose! I've also been lucky to have worked for Visions for so long that I've been able to spend time in a lot of our locations.

I have not yet been to Myanmar or Cambodia, and would definitely love to visit either. I'd also love to visit Peru or Ecuador and the Galapagos.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

One of the many things I love about this program is that it's been modeled after Peace Corps, meaning we live in one community for an extended amount of time, get to know people, get to know the village and the area, and really make a connection with that place.

We also get to do service that has specifically been requested from the community, which is very different from doing what we (as outsiders) would think would be a need.

When I travel as a Visions director, doors open and I feel part of the community right away. This is so different from traveling from place to place all summer.