The Land of the Midnight Sun stands dramatically apart from the rest of America. It is a land of extremes–spectacular in scale, in climate, and in character. Alaskans, like their state, are tough, imaginative, diverse, and colorful.
Visions’ program sites are in south-central Alaska at the entrance to Copper River Country, about five hours northeast of Anchorage. Home base is a native Ahtna village whose residents are the Athapaskan natives.
Close by Wrangell St. Elias National Preserve, home to the second-highest peak in North America. Expect a two-day ice climbing expedition and a three-day backpacking trip into the majestic Wrangells. You will raft the Copper River and explore the copper country. You will befriend local natives and will visit other villages, a historic ghost town, the seacoast city of Valdez. You will glimpse moose, deer, arctic fox, bald and golden eagles, and more.
The work you accomplish in Alaska will benefit the community in which you live. Past projects have included the construction of extensive playgrounds, a 42 x 60-foot outdoor basketball court, al log bridge, a handball court, and backboard; activities with native children, and more.
If you choose Alaska, an unforgettable experience awaits you there. You will forge deep friendships with your peers and warm bonds with local native people. You will build something of value for your host village. You will explore some of the most magnificent countries found anywhere in the world.
Montana is The Last Best Place. America’s fourth-largest state is home to less than one million people. Vast spaces and varied landscapes are the signatures of big Sky country. What makes Montana special? Some of the most significant wilderness areas in the US. Majestic mountain ranges. Blue ribbon streams. Abundant wildlife. Sunsets that leave you weak-kneed. A dramatic history in the West. People whose lives have been forever shaped by the land their ancestors inhabited or settled
Visions have well-established sites on four of Montana’s seven Plains Indian Reservations: the Crow and the Flathead Reservations since 1991, the Blackfeet, and Northern Cheyenne Reservations since 1992. Each tribe has a culture and traditions that are rich and powerful. No matter which Montana program that you choose, our native friends will welcome you and you will live in their communities surrounded by natural beauty.
Past participants in Montana have constructed playgrounds and picnic pavilions for schools, communities, and Head Start programs. They have repaired public buildings and the homes of needy elders. Visions groups have helped build ceremonial structures such as a sundance lodge; have tutored young children; have done environmental projects on tribal lands or in nearby wilderness areas.
Expect a three-day backpacking trip into one of America’s great wilderness and climbing at some of the best sites in the West. You’ll go rafting, visit small towns and historic sites. Attend a Pow Wow or Native American ceremony where you will see traditional dancing and colorful clothing, hear drumming and native songs. Listen to native storytellers and native speakers. Meat healers and enter sweat lodges. Learn how to bead from a skilled beader.
The power and beauty of Native American culture. The history of the West alive and all around you. Work that is meaningful to your host community. Montana is a part of your heritage.