Experience

THE

EXPERIENCE

Service Work
VISIONS collaborates with local nonprofits and makes long-term commitments in our communities. We have worked in most locations for more than 15 years, and in some places for more than 20 years. You typically get to choose from three different worksites during the week, and work until mid-afternoon. Our community service projects are a way we thank the local friends who welcome us into their lives.
CONSTRUCTION
 
Every VISIONS program undertakes at least one central construction project. Construction projects address pressing needs in our communities and teach valuable skills, including problem-solving, resilience, and teamwork. You won't just carry buckets of nails or pass power tools to our leaders—you will do the work and learn from professionals. Community partners choose projects, confident in VISIONS high standards and in our teen volunteers' capabilities.
LOCAL NEEDS
 
Programs include non-construction service projects as well. Depending on the location, you may volunteer with children, work on environmental and agricultural projects, or create irrigation and drinking water systems. Once a week you are on "homebase crew" to make breakfast, shop at local markets, and run errands to experience "a day in the life." Your days are jam-packed with many ways to contribute, discover your potential, and simply have fun in a new culture.
Since 1989, we have built more than 1,100 structures and have done countless hours of social work.

 

Our leader to student ratio is 1 to 4.

 

Cultural & Language Immersion
Cultural learning and friendship are core to VISIONS. You experience the culture in a way that is unique from being a tourist. You share common goals and work with local people to achieve those goals. You may be surprised by what you have in common with people whose lives are so different from your own.
LIVING IN THE COMMUNITY
 
Effective members of any community participate in community life wherever they live. VISIONS teens and leaders live together in a community center, school, or house in a neighborhood. We are involved in neighborhood life and engage with local people who may have worked with VISIONS groups for a decade or more. More than a youth summer camp or teen tour, VISIONS provides committed time in a community so that real friendships and understanding can grow.
SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE
 
VISIONS works in places with vibrant cultures and exciting local scenes. Because you are part of these communities, and not just passing through, opportunities abound to learn the language. In our French- and Spanish-language immersion programs, where many local people do not speak English, you can increase your foreign language skills while socializing with neighborhood friends, working on service projects, shopping at markets, and more.

 

  • VISIONS travels in groups of about 25 high school students; a great size to make real connections and get work done
  • VISIONS works with the same partners and communities each year.
  • Our volunteer service crew working on a construction project in Ecuador
  • VISIONS high school volunteers working on a wheelchair ramp project in Alaska

We hire local dinner cooks and serve a blend of Western-fare and local cuisine.

 

Adventure & Exploration
Hard work deserves time off to play and unwind. VISIONS sites offer a variety of summer adventures, full of scenery and history. We explore cultural and natural sites in ways that are engaging and fun. Because all VISIONS teen summer programs offer volunteer projects and cultural immersion, you might choose a program based on the geography and excursions that interest you most.
AFTERNOON ACTIVITIES
 
We take full advantage of our time, including many afternoons after the work day is over. Non-work activities vary between locations and include workshops with talented artisans, exploring colorful markets, visiting ancient ruins, day hikes, canoeing, climbing, swimming, sports and games with neighbors, and more. We go to family barbeques, celebrations and festivals, visit elders in their homes to hear their stories, and organize summer camps for local children.
WEEKEND TRAVEL
 
Over the weekends, you will experience some of the world’s most exciting cultural sites and adventures, such as the Galápagos in Ecuador or Machu Picchu in Peru, wildernesses in Montana and Alaska, tropical beaches in the Caribbean, the city of New Orleans just over the Mississippi border, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, and crater lakes in Nicaragua. From our local home base, we travel far afield for adventures that round out an unbelievably full summer.

 

Group sizes are between 15 and 25 students.