VISIONS programs are grounded in a philosophy that has been changing the lives of teenagers for 30 years. We have one model, built on the pillars of meaningful service, full cultural immersion and open-minded exploration.
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 12 to 25 days long, and some sites include Spanish or French language immersion. In addition to VISIONS programs for high school students, we offer one middle school program in Montana.
We believe that stepping outside of ourselves and encountering new perspectives fosters profound and positive change. We know that young people who engage in meaningful service work in unfamiliar environments gain exceptional insight—it’s been our program model for 30 years. Our students 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 oldest international summer service organizations for teenagers, we celebrate this connectedness—and the hope it holds for the future.
30 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
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. The connections Visions has with the community are so deep. I finally felt like my true authentic self.
Eating scorpions with locals, building a school bathroom in Cambodia, and constructing handicap ramps for elders in the Blackfeet tribe were some of my adventures of the last two summers. I volunteered with VISIONS, a culturally immersive community service group, where I worked for seven hours a day, five days a week. In Cambodia we partnered with a group that rescued girls from sex-trafficking and trained them to be semi-professional soccer players. I was in awe of their strength. How did they get through the day, let alone push themselves to become high intensity athletes? On the Blackfeet reservation we helped build a Sundance lodge to assist locals in their sacred ceremony. I marveled at how devoted they were to their vibrant traditions, despite all the hardships they have faced as a race. Their resilience clarified why I was there. VISIONS challenged me to “dig deep, do good, and amaze yourself.” I did. 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, and the SALT girls. We had formed and become part of a real community. Amd 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.
The two weeks I spent in Peru were some of the best of my life. The leaders were very helpful and friendly, and all the natives were very kinda and patient. I learned a ton of Spanish and expanded my vocabulary. The other kids in the group were amazing and some of the best people I’ll ever meet
I spent 27 days on the Blackfeet reservation in northern Montana leaning about the tribes culture and history while also exploring glacier national park and making friends for life
I don't even know where to begin. My time with VISIONS in Peru was absolutely incredible. I met the most amazing people and learned so much. I always thought it was cheesy when people said that one small experience changed their life, but just the 2 weeks I was there gave me a whole new perspective and really opened up my world.
I went to Peru with VISIONS two summers ago, and Dominican Republic last summer. My Peru trip was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. I made so many new friends, saw amazing sights, perfected my Spanish-speaking, and got the chance to immerse in Peruvian culture. The staff on the trip was amazing and our daily activities were very enriching and fun. I am still in touch with everyone in the group and we all text on a regular basis. A girl I met on the trip became my best friend and we still visit each other pretty regularly, even though we are 600 miles apart. My Dominican Republic trip was fun and a very good learning experience. I had a lot of fun on this trip, but it definitely wasn't comparable to Peru. I would highly recommend going to Peru with VISIONS! -Eliza Trainer
Overall it was a good trip. I met a lot of new people, sometimes it wasn't the best but that was just because of our group's dynamic. I'm adopted from Vietnam, so Cambodia wasn't great after learning about their past history but overall it was educational.
Great summer experience learned a lot and made great friends along the way
I recently went on a trip with VISIONS this summer and this had been one of my memorable summer trips. The leaders made every aspect of this trip unique and fun in a way where everyone wasn't bored and we had something fun to do every day.
My trip to Guadeloupe was great and I made so many new friends. Great organisation that helps make memories.
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. I highly recommend.
Several of our students have attended Visions programs. The organization seems to have real values about community-building and cultural exchange that are important for today's youth (and society). The service projects are well-planned; great leader ratios (important note from an educator); and not the "savior" approach that is becoming more common with international volunteering. Several of our kids have even returned to their program sites to visit community friends.
I went on the 2016 British Virgin Islands mission with Visions for three weeks, and I must say it was an unforgettable experience that will last forever. Despite the fact that I'm Canadian, I found myself right at the beginning in the warm care of genuine people from all over the U.S. The leaders of the program, five of them, were true and enthusiastic, people who loved what they were committed to. My peers were supportive and humorous. I remember cleaning dishes while joking and having the time of my life with people I had no background with. The supportive environment also allowed me to explore new opportunities. By the second week, we were scuba diving. I was really nervous, but, my peers and leaders gave me moral encouragement and seeing them brave the challenge forced me into the new experience. Though work days were difficult, there was always something to look forward to after. Whether getting ice cream, meeting the locals, or even getting some time on the beach, it was a time that I look back on with a smile.
Absolutely loved these trips! At first I was only supposed to go to Ecuador and the Galapagos and I loved it so much so I found out I could go to the Dominican Republic and I went right after that trip ended. Absolutely loved that trip too! These trips were the best experiences of my life. I made so many amazing friends and did so many amazing things I could have never done without visions. Visions changed my life. I highly recomend both trips because both of them are very involved in the culture and you really get to explore where you live in these country's and places. Also you go on amazing excursions that are insane and amazing. And if you love kids like I do both of these trip have a lot of kids you get to connect with and really get to know them and play with them. I loved that so much I always couldn't wait to either go to the worksite or the preschool just to see the kids. And also if you are looking to improve your Spanish these trips really help with that. I highly recommend going on a visions trip because they are life changing expierences and changed my life.
The Nicaragua trip was fantastic all around. The people I met and the experiences we had together were unforgettable. I really loved being able to talk to people throughout the trip in Spanish. It is an amazing feeling when you are able to communicate in another language, even if you mess up all the time! The people are so understanding. It was a great learning experience, and I think I gained a lot of confidence in speaking Spanish every day. Another big highlight was living with 15 other people. Of course there were less than fun experiences, but we really became a tight-knit group of teens and leaders. Comunidad [evening Circle meetings] was incredible. We went to some really extraordinary places. Out of all of them, my favorite was Peñas Blancas, a rainforest reserve where they are reforesting as much as they can since a lot of Nicaragua's rainforests have been cut down due to deforestation. The community and their mission was really inspiring. That place is so incredible, and I’m planning on going back if I can once I’m done with
I have been on two VISIONS trips (Alaska and Myanmar), and these trips have been some of the most memorable and life changing experiences of my life to date! I love how on VISIONS programs you actually get to live in the community you are helping. You get to know the people first hand and become friends with them; some have even become like family to me. On the VISIONS Alaska program I spent about a month living in a traditional Athabascan Native village where I did construction-based projects (which included constructing a new basket-ball court) and also got to learn about Athabascan culture. We got to learn traditional beadwork and birch-bark basketry from an elder right in her own home--it was an exceptional experience. On the VISIONS Myanmar trip I spent about a month living in a monastic school in the city of Mandalay. My favorite community service project here was teaching English to the students who attend the school. Aside from teaching English to the students, we also got to go on excursions with them to visit nearby cities, villages and pagodas! It was so cool to travel with our Myanmar friends. It was memorable for me when I was walking along the U Bein bridge with one of these students and as we were walking, she taught me some Burmese words. The friends my own age I made on this trip was one of the things that I valued most about my trip to Myanmar with VISIONS. To go on a VISIONS trip you should be responsible, respectful of the VISIONS participants and the host community, and willing to go with the flow, because even though the itinerary is not written in stone, the experiences are always worthwhile.
I have completed two VISIONS trips (Cambodia and Ecuador) and have loved both. The trips were vastly different from each other in certain ways but the core values of VISIONS were still strong. An important part of a VISIONS trip is community service. I learned so many new skills in the worksites from nailing boards while on a ladder to discovering how to make cement. The work that you do helps the local communities. The work you do matters. We also got to know the community that we were living in! My favorite part of the trip was the day homestay. My host family for the day was very welcoming and friendly, and the kids in the family were adorable. I loved chatting to them in Spanish. I would recommend VISIONS to anyone who loves making a difference and wants a genuine experience abroad.
I've completed three summers with VISIONS and I can honestly say that it has played a large role in who I am today. I really value the time I spent participating in Montana Northern Passage, Cambodia, and Ecuador. Each program was vastly different in its own extraordinary way but all still included the special, core values of VISIONS that you won't find anywhere else. If you're passionate about humanitarianism or simply just want an authentic experience abroad, I can promise you that VISIONS will be rewarding.
I have now done two VISIONS trips and can say that VISIONS is very clear about its goal. Community service. This is what I had really wanted to do, so I really enjoyed it. If you are not looking for intense work though, I would say VISIONS is probably not for you. That's not to say that the days were long, hard, and I wanted to go home. The work sites were fun! We got to know many community members and it I could often see the difference we were making. After the workdays and on the weekends we would do lots of other fun things including touristy things, workshops with community members, and just enjoying being in another country. By the end of the trips I had made lots of good friends and amazing memories. Walking around the town for the last time I realized that it felt like i really lived there for the time I spent there. Also my Spanish improved a lot on the Spanish speaking trip.
Honestly, I was very unsure about spending four weeks in the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. It is one of those experiences you have to get your head wrapped around and into the mindset that you're about to leave everything you're comfortable with. The first week or so is one of the hardest; you have to be stripped down mentally into your most vulnerable state before you can let the next three weeks build you into the person you want to become. You learn the value of communication through Okanatapi and about the culture of the people through hands-on interaction. You work on projects that make you feel amazing because you know that it helps at least one person and will be there for years to come. The last week was almost as hard as the first. You've made friends from people who live half the world away from you and it's the last time you might see them. This camp has made me more proactive and a better leader and follower. I wish I could go again, just to relive the experience.
If you are thinking about doing VISIONS as a summer experience, here's my advice to you: don't think about it, GO! I had an absolutely awesome time on the trip that I participated in (Blackfeet Reservation, Montana). The VISIONS instructors are really, really great people who care about what they do, are always available for help, and really want to get to know you and have a good time! They implement a safe, encouraging environment for students, which makes all participants feel comfortable and respect each other. The service work is also amazing, as you really feel like are making a difference in the community you are working with.
Having experienced three VISIONS trips so far (British Virgin Islands, Montana Northern Cheyenne and Dominican Republic), I figured I could lend an interesting perspective on what it is really like being a part of this community service program. Unlike other summer community service trips I looked at in the past, VISIONS is honest about accomplishing its main goal: to do community service. They do not try to pretty it up online with vivid descriptions of the beautiful beaches or tall mountains on whatever program you are looking at. Everyone who goes on a VISIONS journey shares an objective in common, which is to help the less fortunate and give back. The staff members know exactly how to discipline, as well as hang out with, both middle school and high school students. They are never overbearing or annoying, and if there is ever a bump on the road you feel able to have a genuine conversation with them. They also do not act like your superiors; the staffers are more like older siblings rather than parental figures. The campers on each individual program are always a hardworking, fun, well-rounded group of kids. I have never encountered a bully or clique thus far, which is impressive considering how teenagers can often have exclusive relationships. The excursions we all go on after work during the weekdays or on the weekends are diverse and engaging. From venturing out to waterfalls and a discoteca to overnight backpacking in Wyoming, you never feel bored or out of the loop of whatever culture you are immersing yourself in. At times you may feel sad or homesick or angry, which is normal for both new and veteran travelers. This is where circle comes into play. Circle, also known as communidad, is a time where everyone sits in a circle, shares what happened that day, and completes an activity that helps everyone get to know each other and how they are all currently feeling. At first this sounded extremely cheesy to me. And on paper it does. I promise that we do not sing Kumbaya or hold hands. During circle, we open up to each other and share laughs, tears, and honest feelings. It is a healthy thing to do, especially in such an active environment where you have little free time. I am a huge fan of VISIONS, and while my review may sound biased to some, I feel like I was honest with how my three trips went as a whole. I had been searching for a reliable summer program for years. I cannot wait to go on my fourth VISIONS trip next year. I hope to see you there!
I had a really good trip with Visions and would definitely do another trip! Everything was really organized and the other participants were so nice! I would definitely recommend Visions!
my summer adventure in ecuador was amazing! emerging myself in the ecuadorian culture and everyday life was incredible. i wish i signed up for the month long one instead of 2 weeks. meeting new people and trying new things helped me grow and i wish i could go back.
Great community and group to spend an entire month with! The time I spent in the Dominican Republic will never be forgotten!
This program was absolutely amazing! Going to Nicaragua lead to making so many friends and learning so much both about the culture of Jinotega and the language of Spanish. I couldn't believe how fast three weeks flew by while we were there. The construction work became routine every day and I ended up enjoying working more than some of the activities we did. One of my favorite parts of the whole trip was the hike to the waterfall. At that point the group had become more like family and none of us were afraid to joke around or speak our mind when needed. The whole time I had one of the best feelings- that of being able to act completely yourself and not worry about what others think of you. This trip was more than just a summer vacation. I was taught values that I will carry with me the rest of my life. I hope to return to a visions program soon!
The month I spent in the overseas region of France called Guadeloupe was arguably one of the greatest months of my life. The 27 day program provided an incredible amount of insight and fulfillment, particularly as we worked with the community of Capesterre on the smaller island of Marie-Galante. This service adventure sent me outside of my comfort zone, allowing me to truly face (and overcome) the challenges that life sets before me. I was afraid of speaking French at first, but the environment created both by my peers and by the VISIONS staff allowed me to become much more proficient in the language and have fun with it. Spending a month with 23 other kids that I had never met before was incredible - I felt like I was able to get to know everyone on a very personal level, as everyone was completely on their own to be themselves; everyone without influence from their friends or their technology - just the real person for everything that they are. For me, half of the trip was focused on being able to connect with and serve the community of the island, while the other half of the trip was (as I said before) getting to know so many different and unique people in such a unique and different place. Beyond that, the six VISIONS staff members that were with us respectfully maintained a position of authority while simultaneously providing us with the opportunity to be friendly and amicable - each and every staff members went above and beyond the "call of duty" for this type of trip and worked their hardest to make it a bettering experience for all of us. I've committed myself to returning to Guadeloupe one day, but I know for a fact it won't be the same without the incredible people and program that I shared the experience with the first time.
I had an incredible experience with VISIONS over the summer. I went to a small region of France called Guadeloupe, and lived with 23 other teens for a month. We all got to know each other really well, and I made long-lasting friends. The time we had I think can be called "life changing." We got a chance to fix up schools for the local french kids, and we taught english classes to them. It is so amazing that feeling you get when you know you've changed a person't life, or helped them in some way. Working with the local kids made me feel that way every day, and I would give anything to have that feeling again, which is why I'm going to try to continue doing community service at home. However this trip was not all just about working, we also got chances to go the the beach and go snorkeling, hiking, and all sorts of other activities on the island. I had so much fun on this trip, and would definitely recommend it to other teens.
Visions is awesome I loved Alaska It was an life changing experience I had so much fun and learned so many new things Alaska is gorgeous and I loved it I made so many new friends
In 2012, I became interested in doing a volunteer trip. After days of searching on Google for teen volunteer programs, I stumbled across VISIONS. That summer, I signed up for the Alaska trip. Between our construction project, and our weekend excursions, I truly felt as though I had immersed myself in a completely foreign culture. After spending a month in a safe, welcoming and beautiful community, it was time to return home. In 2013, I signed up for VISIONS Ghana. Wow. I dream of going back to Ghana with VISIONS. Everyone in the community (kids, teens, elders) were so cheerful and filled with smiles. The kids were so eager to practice their english with you and get to know you, that by the end of the month, I felt as though I had made real connections. There was never a time in both Alaska and Ghana that I wasn't enjoying myself. Safety was a TOP priority for VISIONS. In 2014, I definitely plan to do another VISIONS trip, it's just a question of which program to do. Both programs had absolutely fantastic counselors! Both VISIONS programs that I did were life-changing! I can't wait until next summer.