Our home on the reservation is a beautiful ranch located a few miles outside the main rez town of Browning. Accommodations are basic, but the space is ample and the backdrop is breathtaking. There is a large bunkhouse with cots and mattresses for everyone, small home with kitchen and communal area, and showers. Since there only is one true bathroom at the ranch, we also rent several porta-potties (the more rustic part of the experience!).
We work five days a week, usually ending in the late afternoon. You typically get to choose from three different worksites each day, and most focus on carpentry and building. 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 in town and buys food for the next meals, does laundry, cleans our space, and enjoys a “day in the life” on the reservation.
Some afternoons we end work early to participate in community events or nearby outings. There is time to explore Browning, take short hikes, go on a rez tour with a local historian, participate in sweat lodges, and sometimes just have a bit of downtime at the ranch before dinner. In addition to afternoon and evening activities, there are full-day excursions and time with community members.
Meals offer a variety of options, including meat and vegetarian dishes. A few times a week, we have meetings in the evening to talk through the volunteer and exchange experience.
VISIONS is not a teen tour with a day-to-day travel itinerary. Instead we settle in to our homebase and are part of daily life and local happenings. The itineraries provide highlights of our time in Montana.