Location
  • United States of America
Length
1 week

Program Details

Age Min.
13
Timeframe
Short Term Summer
Housing
Hostel
Groups
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30) Large Group (31+)
Travel Type
Family Solo

Pricing

Starting Price
1177
Price Details
As programs resume following the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Volunteers is waving fees for transferring to future service programs. Global Volunteers' standard tax-deductible Montana program contribution for individual volunteers is $1,177. Groups of all sizes can be accommodated and receive discounts when working with Global Volunteers' partnerships manager. This program contribution for individuals and groups includes all meals, accommodations, airport and project transportation, project materials, a trained team leader and 24-hour support from Global Volunteers staff.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Equipment Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare SIM cards Travel Insurance
Mar 24, 2022
May 12, 2022
53 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Groups and families of all ages serve on the Blackfeet Reservation in the high plains just east of Glacier National Park. Summer programs are one week and aim to help local leaders improve structural, educational, recreational, and social aspects of daily life for children and families.

Work projects generally include:
• Repairing and improving community buildings
• Preparing and serving meals
• Supervising summer school programs
• Befriending and stimulating elders
• Assisting at a food bank or thrift store

Opportunities for working in professional areas are also available. Volunteers of any background are encouraged to share their skills. The minimum age for serving with a parent is 8. Highly recommended by faculty, group coordinators, students, families as well as individuals of all ages.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Learn about Blackfeet culture through pow-wows, sweat ceremonies, native crafts, language lessons..
  • Work alongside Blackfeet people on genuine community service projects.
  • Be accepted into daily life on a Native American reservation and gain a "non-tourist" perspective.
  • Benefit from Global Volunteers' 22-year partnership with the Blackfeet people.
  • Experience the spectacular beauty of Glacier National Park during free time.

Program Impact

Global Volunteers’ development partnership in Montana’s Indian country began in 1999, when the Blackfeet Tribal Early Childhood Center in Browning invited Global Volunteers to help build a cultural park designed for family recreation. Since this first team cemented our commitment to working with Native American nations, volunteers have returned to the Blackfeet Reservation every summer, and like the changing seasons, they represent a new opportunity for growth within our relationships. In addition to building mutual respect, Global Volunteers teams working with local people have helped improve community buildings and outdoor recreation areas; collaborated with community leaders on services to primary and middle school students, Girl Scouts, nursing home residents, community college students, mental health program recipients, addiction treatment center clients, children in a crisis center, veterans, and participants in the Blackfeet Nation’s many summer cultural events. We work with Blackfeet Manpower, a social service organization which provides individuals and families in need with resources such as childcare, job readiness training, GED courses, and employment opportunities.

Program Reviews

9.8 Rating
based on 15 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 93.33%
  • 7-8 rating 6.67%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.7
  • Academics 0
  • Support 0
  • Fun 0
  • Housing 0
  • Safety 0
Showing 1 - 8 of 15 reviews
Default avatar
Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Montana Blackfeet Reservation

This was my first volunteer experience, so I had no idea what to expect. Two good friends and I picked this volunteer experience because so close after COVID we wanted to stay within the US and my friend had heard great things about Global Volunteers. We proudly wore our t-shirts on the plane with us and upon arrival at our connecting airport met two other volunteers heading to the same location. We instantly bonded!
Our group was "opening" the site after being closed for 2 years due to COVID. Peter, our fearless leader was great! He shared with us all of the volunteer opportunities (of which there were many) and we were able to have some choice into what we wanted to be involved in. Every day we had a morning meeting, and every evening a "debriefing" where we shared our experiences with the group. Besides "work" we were given plenty of opportunities to learn about the Blackfeet culture, to meet some of the local people and to see some of the sites with a local guide. We met some of the local artists and learned so much more about the Indian culture. We went on a wonderful horseback riding trip through the mountains. What has stayed with me, is that, away from work, family, friends and everyday responsibilities, I was able to find who I was again. This trip gave me such a sense of myself and what I can do to help others and I will take that feeling with me for a long time. My second trip with Global Volunteers is already planned, along with 3 of the other volunteers from the Montana trip!

Pros
  • Great opportunity to give back to the world and meet great people while doing it!
  • A way to see the world through the eyes of the people that live there.
  • Learn about yourself and all that you can do!
Cons
  • Airline travel today is a challenge!
Default avatar
lei
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Montana BackFeet

Deeply involve native American daily life. Through food center, kid summer camp and senior center, we know what they need, and how we can help them. Meanwhile, we gain the knowledge from them about the culture, skill and habit.
On the food center, we worked with the staff of the local food bank, unloading deliveries and assisting community members in selecting healthy options.
Even the kid summer program is a high-energy assignment, it helps supervise field trips, play and direct games.
Meanwhile, we can assist the activities director at the senior center with stimulating projects and visit one-on-one with Blackfeet elders.
It is indeed a nice trip! You should try to experience this trip by yourself.

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

Great experience for a family

My daughter and I participated in Global Volunteers' trip to the Blackfeet Nation last summer. It was amazing. Our guide, Karen, got to know all of the participants and tried to match them up with things they were interested in or skills they had. My daughter is an equestrian and Karen connected us with a local rancher and pastor who trains green horses. He works with at-risk youth to give them meaningful work while teaching them important values and building trust. Every evening we had a chance to learn more about the Blackfeet culture. We went on a horseback ride into the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Although the accommodations were not great, the trip was perfect in its imperfection.

17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Gordon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer at the Blackfeet Nation in Montana

Volunteering at the Blackfeet Nation in Montana was an amazing experience. We learned about the Blackfeet culture from native elders and worked in a variety of ways to assist the community. And we were able to enjoy Blackfeet stories, dance, and artwork. In our free time, we were able to visit Glacier National Park on two different occasions. Our leader, Karen, was well prepared from her leadership experiences with the Blackfeet in previous years and she did an excellent job during our week there. We were also blessed to have the opportunity to experience the Sun Dance on two different days. The Blackfeet community expressed their gratitude for our service. They affectionately referred to the current and past volunteers who have served there as "Globals." Volunteering in the Blackfeet Nation is a very meaningful and worthwhile program.

34 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Christine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cultural Experience

My husband and I decided to volunteer on Blackfeet Reservation as a way to learn more about the native american culture, and possibly to give back to a community that we really knew very little about. At the end of each day we were to ask ourselves; did we learn, did we serve and did we grow? We spent an amazing week; starting out getting to know each other (11 of us), and attending a Catholic church service (this was optional), with the highlight being a local Blackfeet singer who had an amazing voice; our first cultural experience! Our next experience came from a local historian, again another Blackfeet, who shared a wealth of Blackfeet knowledge and gave us a tour of the Reservation within Glacier National Park. Certainly a great day for learning! We all shared in the first two days of this adventure! However, the next four days would bring different learning experiences to each of us. I spent time with patients at a nursing home, listening to their stories. The next day I went to a thrift shop to help organize clothing and jewelry so that shoppers could purchase inexpensive items. I also went to the Senior Center in town where meals were made and served to seniors who live at the center and meals were prepared to be delivered out in the community (meals on wheels). I had the opportunity to go out in the community to help with the delivery of meals and see how some of the Blackfeet people live. I went to the Food Distribution Center to help stock shelves. We helped others in the community with projects that they needed done. Some of us stayed at one location all four days, others (like myself) moved around. We got to attend a sweat lodge, to connect one-on-end with Blackfeet people over lunch at the Senior Center, and to participate in a purifying smudge and prayer ceremony which was done by a Blackfeet who was praying in his native tongue throughout the ceremony. We also got to participate in a celebration of dance put on by a Blackfeet. This was a totally amazing experience. So did we learn, did we serve and did we grow? My answer to this is most definitely. I feel that I was given so much more from this experience than what I gave.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go with an open mind, immerse yourself into the Blackfeet Culture,and listen (really listen) to their stories.
48 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Kathleen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A week of discovery!

I went on my first Global Volunteer trip this year to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. I have Loved Montana for as long as I can remember. This was at least my fourth time there albeit a different location each time. I chose Global Volunteers due to the recommendation of a colleague who had gone elsewhere. She had nothing but praise for the organization and now I know why.
I have no problem travelling alone and I was excited to meet new people and to provide service to others again. Our team leader was very friendly, knowledgeable and flexible. He reiterated that we would only work in capacities and areas in which we had been invited by the local community. What I found was we were welcomed with open arms due to the strong reputation of the "Globals"! The people welcomed our labor but also eagerly engaged with us as newfound friends! We readily shared information about our families and culture. We got to experience immersion into the community as no tourist could! We were invited into homes and allowed to experience Indian traditions such as a sweat lodge, ranching and native dance.
Our work varied, but some of us went to the local nursing home to interact with and get to know some residents where some beautiful stories of early lives were shared with the volunteers. Other volunteers assisted in delivering meals to local residents and helping refill shelves at the food pantry. A few people helped repair fences and dug post holes, a very laborious task in this Montana soil! One afternoon I helped serve lunch to children at a private school and also assisted in organizing the Thrift Store.
I always felt safe and the accommodations were fine. The food was very good and we were always asked for input from our team leader regarding work projects and supper plans. I really enjoyed our team morning meetings and sharing our experiences. This team seemed like a good fit as we all were of the mind to serve others and keep an open mind to a new culture, along with learning about each other in the group. I'm not sure where I'll go next but I've already been reading about the Global Volunteers’ other sites. I have no hesitation about working with this organization again.

What would you improve about this program?
I'm not sure if there is anything that I could change about this program.
53 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Gabe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

I spent a week in the blackfeet reservation in Montana near Glacier National Park and it was an incredible experience. The team leader was very prepared and everything ran very smoothly. I could also really tell that we made an impact on the community. We did all kinds of different volunteering on the reservation, we did labor projects, served meals, hung out with children and more. We also were able to spend time with the community and really immersed ourselves in the community. Not only would I go back to Montana but I'd love to try out other programs that global volunteers offers.

I loved spending time with the resort of the volunteers that we're all ages and came from all different walks of life, but we all came together to make a difference in Montana.

46 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Lindsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Second Family

I have volunteered with Global Volunteers on the Blackfeet Reservation two summers in a row now. The people there are welcoming and warm and many have become like family to me. The program itself has been around for a long time, and all of our partners on the reservation are happy to see the volunteers come every year.

Driving around in the big Global Volunteers Van you begin to feel a bit like a celebrity because people are always asking you if you are one of the "Globals" and telling you about a new work project that the team can do. There is no shortage of work on the Reservation, but there is definitely a related culture shock for many volunteers.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the pace of life there is very different, especially if you are someone who is punctual, and rigid about order and control. Work projects may fluctuate day to day, based on this pace and the availability of materials and local people. You may find yourself doing a few different work projects but that affords the ability to meet more people, and create more relationships which is really the whole goal. The work projects are there, not only to get things done, but to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and create relationships with people.

I highly recommend this program for just about anyone. The people are amazing, the scenery can't be beat, and the flexibility of the work projects assures that your skills will be put to use. Oh, and did I mention Indian Tacos?! Delish! (PS- Indian is not a derogatory term on this particular reservation and they are indeed called Indian Tacos).

49 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Our standard program in Montana is one week and the service program contribution is $1,095. Additional weeks can be added on. Hope that helps!

Our lodging for volunteers is right on the reservation. Volunteers lodge with their teammates in safe and comfortable dormitory-style, adjoined rooms divided by gender. Bathrooms with showers are designated for men and women. Small private rooms may sometimes be available for families with young children.

Hi, Debra! While Global Volunteers is a non-sectarian organization, we do partner with some religious organizations such as the Baptist Church in Ciego de Ávila, Cuba and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ipalamwa, Tanzania. In Havana, Cuba we partner with the Cuban Council of Churches and serve two senior centers for the elderly. Can we send you more information on any of our programs?

Hi Vicki, Global Volunteers offers just short-term volunteer opportunities, 1 - 3 weeks. Comfortable and safe lodging is included as part of the tax-deductible service program contribution. Feel free to call (800) 487-1074 or email@globalvolunteers.org if you have additional questions!