VISIONS Service Adventures Logo

VISIONS Service Adventures

About

VISIONS programs are grounded in a philosophy that has been changing the lives of teenagers for 30 years. We believe it is best to do one thing and do it well. That’s why across all programs we have one model, built on the pillars of meaningful service, full cultural immersion and open-minded exploration. This is not a teen tour. This is a time to step outside of yourself, to do more and be more.

Our student volunteers work among Blackfeet and Northern Cheyenne people on Montana Indian reservations and with indigenous Athabascans in Alaska, as well as abroad in South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Programs are 10 to 25 days long, and some sites include Spanish language immersion. In addition to VISIONS programs for high school students, we offer one middle school program in Montana.

Founded
1989
Headquarters

203 North Church Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
United States

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!

Reviews

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

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
Mari
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an incredible time spending 2.5 weeks in Peru with VISIONS. Not only did I get to visit ancient ruins(like Machu Picchu and The Pisac Ruins), but I got to hang out with the locals every day! These people are so kind and generous.it was amazing that I was able to get to know them. I got to contribute to their community by building schools and improving their water ways. Without us coming out to help these communities, they wouldn’t be able to get the materials needed to build. Going to a place where the language is primarily Spanish, I got to practice with the locals. It was fun and challenging, but my Spanish did improve. Long days and freezing showers, it was so worth it. Thank you VISIONS for this amazing experience that I will never forget. I hope to do another VISIONS trip next summer.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate so many granadillas that we bought at the markets in town. So good!!
Carla
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My youngest son participated in this program the summer before starting 9th grade. I was already quite familiar with VISIONS as my oldest son spent part of his summer with the Tortola, BVI program before his high school senior year. I had absolutely no reservations sending my son to Montana, eventhough he struggles with anxiety, depression & inattentive ADD. After many long discussions with VISIONS Executive Director, Katherine Dayton, she accepted our son into the program wholeheartedly & reassured us that her capable staff would look after him if he encountered any issues. I never worried for one minute that he would not be well taken care of or not have fun. My expectations for this trip were high, but my son’s positive experience was even more than I had hoped for. He loved everything about it! He raved about the experienced, enthusiastic staff, the close friendships that he quickly made, the spectacular scenery & encountering a completely different culture. The service work was well-balanced with plenty of fun excursions & down time. He returned from Montana a more confident, independent & happier child. Today he is a high school sophomore who is thriving academically & although he still struggles with anxiety, depression & inattentive ADD, he has maintained the confidence & independence that he gained after participating in the Montana Northern Cheyenne Program. He is looking forward to participating in another VISIONS program the summer of 2020. It is my pleasure to recommend this program without reservation to any parent or student considering it.

What would you improve about this program?
This is a stellar program just as it is with an outstanding staff.
Default avatar
Gillian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Visions was an absolutely amazing experience for me! I met the most wonderful people. The immersion into the Peruvian culture was incredible, my world has been opened in so many ways because of it. I think about my 2 week trip every day. I got to travel to various places in Peru, and also help out the small town of Urubamba. The connections Visions has with the community are so deep. I finally felt like my true authentic self. I got the chance to meet people I never would have otherwise. We became quite close and still keep in touch. I always felt safe and the leaders made a great effort to check in with how everyone was feeling. If you are considering doing a program with Visions I highly recommend. I have memories that will last a lifetime

What would you improve about this program?
My experience with Visions was perfect. I am sure others might not feel the same way. But for me I wouldn't change a thing. I wish I could have stayed longer.
Default avatar
Jasmine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What was also amazing about VISIONS was the way the program is conducted. After spending 3 weeks in Cambodia I felt like I really made a mark and left a piece of myself there. We formed a community with many of the residents in Battambang- Mom (our cook), our tuk tuk drivers (piccun and vonny), the principal, the teachers, the schoolchildren, some of the shopkeepers (shake place), and the SALT girls. We had formed and become part of a real community. And everyone was so appreciative. They enjoyed taking us around and welcomed our curiosity and willingness to help. It was a new way of traveling that I would like to continue to pursue. To live at the local level, immerse yourself in the culture, and really get to know the people. I didn’t just visit and vacation in Cambodia. I lived there. I was a part of it. And it felt amazing.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish it was longer! I was there for 3 weeks and wish it had been a month!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

Alumni Interviews

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

Molly Williams

Molly is a 16-year-old lover of adventures, from finding new experiences at home in Michigan to embarking on international service trips.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose VISIONS because I liked the way they presented themselves: NOT as a teen tour.

I wanted an authentic experience and an opportunity to see a country as more than a tourist. VISIONS is very focused on respect for the culture of the native people, no matter the location.

I liked that I knew I would be able to give back to the country through service while also getting a taste of the culture, food, and natural beauty that makes Peru special.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

VISIONS helped every step of the way. Tuition cost covers all meals, in-country transportation, lodging, park passes and more.

The only thing we were responsible for was buying flight tickets, which were organized by VISIONS' travel agent. They even gave us the contact information of other participants that would be on the same flights so we could meet up at the airport.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would encourage anyone going on this trip to remember to appreciate the little moments. It was easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing Machu Picchu or exploring the streets, but the memories that mean the most to me are the ones that were seemingly insignificant at the time.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A typical day (excluding the weekend trip to Machu Picchu) included waking up early for a breakfast cooked by you or your peers, then the group split for service until mid-afternoon. The rest of the day was spent on short hikes or attending workshops, with great evening activities too.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Going into this trip, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't like the other teens in the group, or wouldn't have anyone to talk to. The second we all met at the Lima airport I realized I shouldn't have worried.

It was the most interesting mix of people I have ever had the privilege of getting to know. Despite totally different ages and backgrounds, our conversations were always interesting and having so many different people and new friends made every adventure much more special.

Would you recommend this trip to a friend?

I would absolutely recommend traveling with VISIONS to a friend. Everything was so well organized and I couldn't have had a better experience.

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.

More Interviews