Our New Montana Farm
As many of you know, last year we launched an all-new VISIONS experience, our Montana Farm & Ranch Program. We were based at a guest farm last summer, and our COVID protocols proved successful, with no cases and a VISIONS “pod” that also was able to interact (from a social distance) with farmers, ranchers and conservationists.
As of September, we’ve purchased OUR VERY OWN VISIONS FARM, a sprawling historic property nestled at the base of Montana’s Bridger Mountains. This farm will be the base for all our Montana Gap programs and Teen Summer Farm programs moving forward!
Our farm & ranch is situated in a historic locale, on a site that Sacagawea and American explorers Lewis & Clark camped on during the later stages of their three-year expedition across the North American continent (1803-1806). The property houses barns dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, which will be renovated as we progress. This summer, participants will sleep glamping-style with canvas wall tents on wooden platforms, with comfy cots & mattresses in each. We plan to build a new pole barn this summer, too!
Our VISIONS programs on the farm & ranch will focus on rich immersion in the cultural, geographic and ecological space of the Northern Rockies. Participants in our Teen Summer Farm programs will lend a hand at a variety of local farms and ranches, learn carpentry skills, tend to crops, and become engaged with true farm & ranch life of the West. One such partner farm is our next-door neighbor, Gallatin Valley Botanical, a vibrant organic farm and one of the primary producers of local food in the Gallatin Valley.
It’s worth noting that the Teen Summer Farm Program isn’t just about farming, either! We’ll also accomplish a variety of service work, from volunteering for local nonprofits like the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and Hopa Mountain to performing trail work and assisting with environmental projects for conservation organizations. There will also be time for plenty of adventure, too, including backcountry camping, rock climbing, and an optional hike to the top of nearby Sacagawea Peak, the highest mountain in the Bridger Range! [Note: Rock climbing is not offered on the 15-day program.]
As with other VISIONS programs, participants will choose between three different projects four days a week, then spend one day on our “homebase” crew back at the VISIONS farm. Each afternoon is reserved for recreation and cultural activities. Finally, weekends are for full-day excursions into the surrounding communities and pristine Rocky Mountain wilderness!
While our summer programs are focused on volunteer work, immersion, adventure and community building, our Gap Program participants will spend their time at the farm engaged in a rich sustainability curriculum based on Project Drawdown’s Climate Solutions, exploring modules that tie global carbon activities into the lens of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Learn more about the unique Gap Experience on our dedicated program page!
In addition to Teen Farm Summer and Gap programs, our farm will also host Custom Programs for groups.
All told, using our new farm as a launchpad, we’re working to create an agriculture cooperative that emphasizes sustainability and education opportunities. In the near future, our farm will serve as land for agriculturists to affordably run small enterprises and collaborate with VISIONS and other educational programs year-round.
Don’t forget! Our Farm Program is only one of four VISIONS locations running programs this summer, including the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, and Montana Blackfeet Reservation. Our BVI and our Blackfeet 1 programs are already full, and the remaining sessions are filling up fast, so SIGN UP NOW to make sure you get your slot!
We’d like to close with the note that above all, we are incredibly excited to enter this new decade with intention toward environment, conservation and… (as always) the power of the youth. We look forward to having you on this journey with us!
Meet Santos Ramos, our “Saint” of VISIONS Dominican Republic. Since 1991, Santos has been an integral part of VISIONS, dedicating his life to serving communities, building schools, and providing homes. Read on to discover his remarkable story and lasting impact.
As a teenager, volunteering abroad not only broadens your horizons but also leaves a lasting impact on the lives of others. We explore some of the best countries for teens to volunteer, and highlight some fantastic opportunities for high school students seeking summer volunteer programs.
Meet Rosa Maria Espino, a devoted Community Partner in Cotui, Dominican Republic, whose love for her family and community shines through her work with VISIONS Service Adventures.
Claire Hortens, a VISIONS alumna, beautifully recalls how much she learned from her time with VISIONS in Ecuador, one of our retired high school volunteer program locations. She used this essay in her college application process.