Two VISIONS participants who were on two different programs last summer wrote in detail about their experiences in their school magazine. Blake Taylor was in Peru and Patrick Fleming in Alaska. Blake and Patrick both attend South Kent School, a college preparatory school for boys in South Kent, CT.

“After just a few days, our diverse group became a family, living, eating, speaking with each other and simply being our true selves. Urubamba became a ‘home away from home’” writes Blake. His group worked in Paclamayo and Collanos communities “installing bathrooms, constructing adobe walls and digging irrigation canals—installing better burning stoves and teaching English” in other villages. “We hiked to tremendous heights, spoke in native tongues and explored deep into the Incan culture.”

Patrick lived and worked in a native Athabaskan village of roughly 118 people.  “…in Tanacross I always felt at home; people constantly walked over to talk to me to ask how our projects were going and to discuss how life is in the ‘lower 48.’ We had weekly meetings with the village where we had the opportunity to learn from and observe some of their oldest traditions and participate in native songs, dances and art.”  For the three-day backpacking trip, his group set up base camp in a vast river valley. Patrick “had an amazing time. I saw everything from flowing streams to mountains, and stone river-beds to crystal clear ponds. I learned how to build and make a fire, how to cook and eat moose meat and keep warm in the cold.”

To read both boys’ articles go to:—“Venturing Beyond the Hillside: Two Students’ Community Service Experiences”

VISIONS in The New York Times