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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, the Caribbean and Cambodia.

Programs are 12 days to four weeks 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

Accepting Applications for 2019!

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

Reviews

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Nancy
9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe the housing and the showers could be improved, but otherwise this trip was great.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Marius
10/10

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

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps for the visions Montana program,slightly more developed housing and more social stuf to do, but other than that(really enjoyable program.)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Oliver
3/10

I completed the Visions Montana Blackfeet program summer of 2017 and while there was a complete lack of organization (so much so the head of Visions had to come and help the counselors for a few days), I had a lot of fun so decided to do it again. I chose the Montana Northern Cheyenne program simply because it was the only one which fit in with my schedule. And quick disclaimer, as insane as it sounds, everything I'm about to say is completely true.

I arrived at the airport later than everyone so had to drive back around midnight with one of the counselors and I got involved in quite a long political conversation (had to do something to kill the time) towards the end of which he explained, unsarcastically, how he believes the government controls people's minds by outlawing hallucinogenic drugs. While that didn't particularly bother me, I was a bit concerned and it explains a lot of what happened later (not suggesting this person was ever under the influence of anything during the trip). The next day marked the beginning of the counselor's abusive behavior towards me including mercilessly mocking my (natural) British accent and mimicking everything I said, continually changing the instructions and making me redo work for no reason and giving minimal regard for my well being and safety. Anytime I was riding shotgun in a car and he was driving he would either park my door over a puddle if possible, or simply park it so close to another car it was impossible for me to get out. Any question, request or statement I made was met with either a shrug or simply complete inaction. I brought this behavior upto the leader and other counselors multiple times but it was either brushed off or ignored; either way, no action was taken. The rest of the incidents were much more minor but their continual (multiple times per hour) nature made the whole trip horrible. Next, any input I gave, with regards to nearly anything, was ignored as it was assumed that I had no experience (when in actuality I've done construction carpentry work for multiple years) and I was never given an opportunity to prove myself. There were quite a few times where a lot of time was wasted simply because counselors refused to listen to my and friends' ideas.

Moving on from the 'leadership' problems, compared to the Blackfeet trip where we backpacked and camped in the beautiful Glacier National Park, went to (and participated in) so many amazing cultural events such as a Sundance, Sweat Lodge and Powwow, and spent much of our time working in/with and interacting to the community, this trip was severely lacking. We spent most of our free time, both during the day and the evenings, at 'homebase' as no events had been organized and many organized events were cancelled.

Accomodations wise, we were staying at the local community college, all together in a single room. Guys, girls, and counselors bunk beds were separated by curtains hung up on string and while it was pretty much what I expected, the temperature control made nights unbearable. It was at least 90F for most of the trip and everyone was cramped in pretty tightly. While horrible, the worst part was that the counselors refused to let us take the fans positioned around the kitchen and common area into the bunk area for no reason, while they themselves had multiple fans and some sort of AC system in their area which they kept hidden.

Also, while Visions had no control over this, we had multiple run-ins with extremely intoxicated locals who would follow us back to 'homebase'.

Finally, at the end of the program, I realized that another participant had taken 2 of my hoodies (one of which meant A LOT to me) but after many failed attempts to get them back, I went to the counselors. I was met with a shrug by all but one, and a refusal take even basic action by that person, even though I had directly seen my stuff in the other person's bag.

I can only write so much so I'm going to stop here but I think you get the point. I would absolutely not recommend this trip, or any other Visions trip for that matter (especially considering the company's lack of concern about my problems and horrible experience).

How can this program be improved?
Hire qualified and competent counselors. At least one returning counselor per trip.
No, I don't recommend this program
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Shanlu
8/10

It was a good start, for my VISIONS trip, for my southeast Asia travel and my community service experience.
With an excellent leader who was brought up in Cambodia, an inornate pure Cambodia was revealed upon our faces. We appreciated the significance of Angkor Wat, but also had a taste of the sad Khmer Rouge history; we experienced the refreshing countryside view on the bamboo train, but also the smelly landfill where nobody was willing to go. No matter it was good or bad, impressive or obnoxious, we felt a full, vivid Cambodia through our own eyes.
Besides, I am really proud to share that we built a brick wall within only a month from scratch. Labor was hard and tiring, not to mention that we were working under the scorching Khmer sun, but as we saw the smiling face of schoolkids around us, all pain was healed. They would give us a helping hand during their break time, or pick flowers for us sweaty nasty workers, despite the existence of language boundary. They lit up our summer and our community service experience.
I had few experiences of community service, the only activity I did was to send living supplements to needy countryside families. However, through this trip, I truly understood the meaning of community service. Maybe it is about teaching adolescents how to help others, whereas no matter it is donating a couple of money or building as a brick wall, it won't do much to the community, it can't change the way locals live or the future that they'll have. It is more about finding yourself in the community. Find your value, find your connection, find out how much you're needed, and find out why you're needed. Find what you can do and what you can't. Find your character and your mission.
It was my beginning, but it could never be the end. I am still on the way to my journey, and what about yours?

How can this program be improved?
More freedom during free time( e.g., larger boundary), more time to rest and escape from the intensive schedule. Leaders need to think more about the participants' perspective.
Yes, I recommend this program
My face in a hat
Jonathan
9/10

This trip was an exercise in adaptability. The living conditions were hard to adjust to, the work was often difficult, and we were asked to go out of our comfort zones in many ways. However, in the end, everyone on the trip was sad to leave, and we built truly strong bonds with the community. Personally, my French improved a lot over the three weeks, and language immersion is definitely one of the programs strongest suits. As expected, I made a lot of close friends. But, more importantly, I came away from the experience having felt like I was part of a community during my time in Guadeloupe. I strongly recommend this trip to anyone looking for an adventure and a chance to live a totally different life for three weeks.

How can this program be improved?
More focus on community service and improved organization.
Yes, I recommend this program