Montana Northern Cheyenne

Program Itinerary

15 Day Middle School Service Program

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation middle school program in Montana. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

 

July 15: Arrive at the Billings airport, where VISIONS leaders will be waiting to meet each student. All kids make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) We leave Montana’s biggest city and make the two-hour drive east through beautiful Big Sky country to the small Reservation town of Lame Deer, our home base. Upon arrival, we settle into our new digs and get to know each other with a program orientation, icebreaker activities, our first Circle meeting, during which we deepen our communication and listening skills, and a welcome dinner.

 

July 16: Our local VISIONS carpenter gets us started with a tool safety class and carpentry training, during which each student will complete a small project, such as a picnic table for the Head Start school. Afterward, we hike to a hillside vista of the Tongue River Valley, and begin to learn some of the rich history of this special place, including historic battles that happened here. When we get back to homebase, we’ll have our second Circle meeting to touch base before embarking on our regular work schedule.

July 17 – 19: Time to dig in! Rotating groups take turns getting the hang of each project: serving meals at the Shoulder Blade Senior Center, assisting at the “Kids Kollege” summer day camp for local children, and doing small construction projects, such as building wheelchair ramps and doing minor repair work on local homes. (After this, students choose which worksite they want to attend each day.) We also begin “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. Afternoons and evenings include a visit to the Spang Ranch, where we learn about cowhand culture, watch roping, check out the horses and ponies, and talk with Mr. Spang, who was a bronco and bull rider in rodeo circuits. On other afternoons, we visit the Bighorn Battlefield, site of Custer’s Last Stand, and leave “the Rez” for a trip to Colstrip, where we swim at the public pool, play tennis and get ice cream. As a special treat one evening, we have dinner with elder and ethnobotanist Linwood Tall Bull, whose captivating storytelling reveals the history of the Northern Cheyenne tribe.

 

July 20 – 21: Gear up for an overnight camping trip to Pine Island in the Bighorn Mountains, just over the border in Wyoming. These two days also include outdoor games, building a campfire and making s’mores, doing short hikes and exploring a nearby alpine lake, enjoying the wilderness and sharing what we’ve learned at a Circle meeting. On Sunday, if time allows, we will visit the Medicine Wheel, a sacred site built from mammoth rocks by ancient peoples.

 

July 22 – 26: Return to home base and get back to community projects. Post-work activities during this week include an easy day hike during which we learn about native plants and medicinals, a swim at Crazy Head Springs, and learning traditional arts, such as beading and dancing. We also take a Reservation tour with Cheyenne elder Lonnie Littlebird to the historic Buffalo Jump and St. Labre Mission School, attend a drum circle and a powwow, make a return trip to Colstrip to tour the “energy capital of Montana” and the Rosebud mine, and visit Deer Medicine Rocks with another elder who shares the fascinating story of this revered place.

 

July 27 – 29: After a goodbye party and barbeque, we pack up, do a Big Clean of our homebase, say goodbye to our new local friends and head to Red Lodge, a Wild West mountain town nestled in Montana’s highest peaks. We go horseback riding with an outfitter group in the Beartooth Mountains, then have time to explore the town and souvenir shop before heading to Billings, where we have a pizza party, look at photos from the program, have a final Circle meeting and hit the sack (at a Billings hotel) before catching flights the next morning.

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation middle school program in Montana. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

July 15: Arrive at the Billings airport, where VISIONS leaders will be waiting to meet each student. All kids make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) We leave Montana’s biggest city and make the two-hour drive east through beautiful Big Sky country to the small Reservation town of Lame Deer, our home base. Upon arrival, we settle into our new digs and get to know each other with a program orientation, icebreaker activities, our first Circle meeting, during which we deepen our communication and listening skills, and a welcome dinner.

July 16: Our local VISIONS carpenter gets us started with a tool safety class and carpentry training, during which each student will complete a small project, such as a picnic table for the Head Start school. Afterward, we hike to a hillside vista of the Tongue River Valley, and begin to learn some of the rich history of this special place, including historic battles that happened here. When we get back to homebase, we’ll have our second Circle meeting to touch base before embarking on our regular work schedule.

July 17 – 19: Time to dig in! Rotating groups take turns getting the hang of each project: serving meals at the Shoulder Blade Senior Center, assisting at the “Kids Kollege” summer day camp for local children, and doing small construction projects, such as building wheelchair ramps and doing minor repair work on local homes. (After this, students choose which worksite they want to attend each day.) We also begin “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. Afternoons and evenings include a visit to the Spang Ranch, where we learn about cowhand culture, watch roping, check out the horses and ponies, and talk with Mr. Spang, who was a bronco and bull rider in rodeo circuits. On other afternoons, we visit the Bighorn Battlefield, site of Custer’s Last Stand, and leave “the Rez” for a trip to Colstrip, where we swim at the public pool, play tennis and get ice cream. As a special treat one evening, we have dinner with elder and ethnobotanist Linwood Tall Bull, whose captivating storytelling reveals the history of the Northern Cheyenne tribe.

July 20 – 21: Gear up for an overnight camping trip to Pine Island in the Bighorn Mountains, just over the border in Wyoming. These two days also include outdoor games, building a campfire and making s’mores, doing short hikes and exploring a nearby alpine lake, enjoying the wilderness and sharing what we’ve learned at a Circle meeting. On Sunday, if time allows, we will visit the Medicine Wheel, a sacred site built from mammoth rocks by ancient peoples.

July 22 – 26: Return to home base and get back to community projects. Post-work activities during this week include an easy day hike during which we learn about native plants and medicinals, a swim at Crazy Head Springs, and learning traditional arts, such as beading and dancing. We also take a Reservation tour with Cheyenne elder Lonnie Littlebird to the historic Buffalo Jump and St. Labre Mission School, attend a drum circle and a powwow, make a return trip to Colstrip to tour the “energy capital of Montana” and the Rosebud mine, and visit Deer Medicine Rocks with another elder who shares the fascinating story of this revered place.

July 27 – 29: After a goodbye party and barbeque, we pack up, do a Big Clean of our homebase, say goodbye to our new local friends and head to Red Lodge, a Wild West mountain town nestled in Montana’s highest peaks. We go horseback riding with an outfitter group in the Beartooth Mountains, then have time to explore the town and souvenir shop before heading to Billings, where we have a pizza party, look at photos from the program, have a final Circle meeting and hit the sack (at a Billings hotel) before catching flights the next morning.

Celebrating 30 Years