BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Think building and beaches… For 27 years, we’ve been part of a scene that includes steel drums and island culture with Afro-Caribbean roots that date back to the 1500s. Live in Tortola, where housing and environmental issues are the focus. Bang some nails to contribute to community improvements, work on an organic farm, with the National Parks Trust and Humane Society. Also enjoy SCUBA, hiking, sailing, and beach time.

PROGRAM DATES

June 30 to July 9 $3250

July 13 to August 2 $5150

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WHAT WILL YOU ACCOMPLISH?

VISIONS teens have built playgrounds, pavilions, homes, mountain lookouts, walking trails and more during our 20+ years here. Along with contributing to these ongoing building projects, you will work with children, the local Humane Society, and get your hands dirty on an organic farm.

WHO WILL YOU IMPACT?

Your time will be filled with opportunities to interact with community members and to be a part of Tortola’s island culture. Although it’s a vibrant tourist friendly location, the community has great needs when it comes to housing and environmental issues, and they welcome VISIONS help.

WHERE WILL YOU EXPLORE?

Searching out the best coral reefs becomes a summer adventure, as extraordinary snorkeling opportunities exist at just about every beach. You will sail away to nearby islands, SCUBA dive, hike, and explore the capital and swim at the famous “Baths” on Virgin Gorda.

WORK ON SERVICE PROJECTS THAT MATTER

Community service in the BVI will engage you with the enthusiasm of local carpenters, farmers, environmentalists and development workers. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Department of Agriculture, National Parks Trust and schools, VISIONS teens have built playgrounds, pavilions, homes, mountain lookouts, walking trails and more. Volunteering in the BVI includes non-carpentry projects as well. The Rainbow Home awaits us for working with their children every summer, and we lend a hand with projects at the Humane Society. We also work on an organic farm preparing fields, maintaining irrigation systems, harvesting food, and feeding the livestock.

FEATURED PARTNER

With 21 national parks and expansive ecological diversity, the BVI National Parks Trust has an important duty in safeguarding the islands’ natural assets. VISIONS has worked with the Trust on trail work, building information centers, and wildlife habitat.

CONTRIBUTE TO A COMMUNITY THAT WELCOMES YOU LIKE FAMILY

VISIONS BVI Immersion
Our time is filled with opportunities to interact with community members and to be a part of Tortola’s island culture. In addition to the immersion experience that comes naturally by being grounded in the community, we schedule activities for after work, evenings and weekends. You will participate in workshops with artisans and musicians, make island smoothies, attend festivals, host a Rastafarian guest speaker, and have a chance for pickup basketball and games with neighbor friends. We listen to steel drum music on the beach and enjoy some competition in island scavenger hunts. Throw in a perfect ocean sunset, and the stage is set for an unforgettable summer.

OUR HOME BASE:

TORTOLA

We live and work on Tortola, the commercial center, capital, and largest island of the BVI. From the top of Sage Mountain—the highest point in the BVI—to the coral reefs below sea level, Tortola is a diverse and inviting Caribbean oasis. Friendships forged during our two decades of summer programs in the island’s friendly communities mean that teen volunteers are warmly welcomed year after year.

The BVI was one of VISIONS first international programs, and we are honored by the connections we have made, spanning more than 20 years. The first house we built was for Miss Ivy, an elderly woman who had gone mostly blind, but still helped choose the colors for her new home. This would be the first of many large projects over the seasons, and the start of relationship building with the vibrant local community. Environmental issues have become as pressing as housing needs on Tortola, and some of our work assists the National Parks Trust while also focusing on construction and carpentry for homes and organizations across the island.

Searching out the best coral reefs becomes a summer adventure, as extraordinary snorkeling opportunities exist at just about every beach. We sail away to nearby islands on the White Squall and SCUBA with the island’s most trusted dive company. Tortola is a mountainous island, and the picturesque panoramic views from the top of Sage Mountain will be imprinted in your memory for a long time. We explore the capital of Road Town with its markets, music, and traditional foods, and even take a ferry to nearby Virgin Gorda to swim at the famous “Baths.”

EXPLORE THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

DAILY LIFE

We live together as a group in a community center in one of the island’s neighborhoods. There are bathrooms and showers, kitchen facilities, and everything we need to make it our temporary home.

Service projects take place five days a week and finish by mid-afternoon to beat the heat. You typically get to choose between three different worksites each day, often making considerable progress in a short time. Once a week, you will be on “homebase crew” with a few other participants and a leader. The crew makes breakfast for the group, runs errands and buys food for the next meals, does laundry, and enjoys a “day in the life.”

After work is for beach time, island hikes, exploring Road Town, games with local kids, spending time with neighbors, and occasional downtime to relax before dinner. In addition to after-work activities, we have exciting full-day excursions that take advantage of our amazing Caribbean surroundings.

Meals are varied, plentiful, and with meat and vegetarian options. Miss Carol is our dinner cook, and knows our tastes well after cooking for VISIONS groups for more than 20 years! A few evenings a week, we have group meetings that last about an hour and are a time to reflect on the volunteer and cultural experience. Other nights we’ll hang out as a group, prepare for the next day’s projects, or go into Roadtown for an event.

VISIONS is not a teen tour with a day-to-day travel itinerary. Instead we settle in to our home base and are part of daily life. The itinerary provides an overview of some of the highlights, keeping in mind that most every day includes cultural any recreation activities.

ITINERARY

First Day

  • Arrivals & Welcome!

During Trip

  • Orientation & Worksite Training
  • First Full Day of Worksites
  • SCUBA Training & 4th of July BBQ
  • SCUBA Diving
  • Virgin Gorda “Baths”
  • Family & Neighbor Visits
  • Island Boating Trip
  • Community Goodbyes

Last Day

  • Departures

MORE DETAILS

  • Flights are to Beef Island, an extension of Tortola. Or, you may fly to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and be picked up by a VISIONS chaperon for the ferry ride to Tortola. VISIONS leaders pick each participant up at the airport.
  • Parents receive a phone call or email once their child is met by leaders at the airport. After that, phone calls home are generally limited to once a week.
  • Our home is a community center where our teen volunteers and leaders live together as a group. Boys and girls sleep in separate rooms and VISIONS provides thick foam floor mattresses. You will bring your own sheets, light blanket and pillow.
  • VISIONS has a 1 to 4 or 5 leader to student ratio, one of the best ratios among summer programs. The maximum group size is 25, and programs are gender-balanced. Most participants attend alone, and no more than two friends may attend a program together.
  • We emphasize an inclusive group dynamic. Things like age and grade become less important on a VISIONS program. We eat most meals and do most activities as a large group, and we break into small rotating groups for workdays.
  • Details such as a packing list, travel notes, and health forms are provided upon enrollment through login web pages. The process is straightforward and we are here to help. VISIONS travel agent books flights, which are not included with tuition.
  • Teen volunteers receive 40 community service hours for session 1 or 70 hours for session 2. Youth summer camp program for ages 14 – 18.

Program Director(s):

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