Evergreen School student to volunteer on a Plains Indian Reservation in Montana

Thursday, May 25, 2017

VISIONS students in the frame of the fire truck garage they built
for the Lame Deer community in 2016.
Photo courtesy VISIONS

This summer, Evergreen School student Gwendolyn Madill will travel to Lame Deer, Montana with VISIONS Service Adventures, an international community service program for teens.

Madill will join other high school students from around the world on the Cheyenne Reservation, where the teens will live in the community, tackle ambitious service projects, enjoy adventures and explore the surrounding area, and get to know the local customs and traditions.

“Students arrive with the intent of contributing to underserved communities, and end up a part of that community,” says Katherine Dayton, Executive Director of VISIONS. 
“Here, students are able to build relationships with other participants, mentors, and community members, and they get to step out of their comfort zones, do something different, and have experiences that create lifelong impact.”

In Montana, the students will learn the basics of power tools, building picnic tables, planter boxes, or benches for community centers in town. A highlight is serving meals at the Senior Center, where the students will engage with tribal elders and share stories. On the other end of the age spectrum, the students will assist with an educational daycamp for younger children on the reservation. This will be the 26th VISIONS summer in Montana.

In the afternoons and on weekends, students have the opportunity to travel regionally and explore their home base area. In Montana, this means attending a powwow, visiting the Big Horn Battlefield, a backpacking trip, learning traditional crafts, and games with local kids.

All programs are overseen by adult leaders and long-time local partners, who guide and teach the students in hands-on construction and other development projects. Beyond completing service projects, the summer is an opportunity for students to explore the idea of community in both a local and global sense. “VISIONS is not about construction projects,” explains long-time program leader David Kramer. “It is about deconstructing how we view the world and then framing a new vision upon the foundation of real experience with a global perspective.”

VISIONS has been running high school and middle school volunteer travel experiences since 1989, and is well known for programs that are centered on ambitious projects in cross-cultural settings. For more information about VISIONS, contact the office at 406-551-4423.


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