Immersion Service Community

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We have hundreds of pages of testimonials and letters from students, parents and community members over the years about their experiences with VISIONS. Here are just a few of the comments we’ve received in recent years.


We welcome You

Ali had a great experience in every way—getting to know the BVI, feeling that she made a difference, making good friends, learning about herself.
—Penny B.

VISIONS was probably the best experience of my life so far. It gives you an idea about working for the future and working for other people’s joy and not for yourself.
—Oscar T.

I really don’t know where to begin. Each of the counselors brought something amazing to the table. The time that we spent with local members of the community created an atmosphere that we were more than welcome, we were wanted. They were adults choosing to spend their time talking and laughing with us. The trip changed so much about the way I view people around me.
—Addie M.

What sets VISIONS apart is the excellent group dynamic.
—Michael L.

VISIONS BVI has changed my life in a way no other experience has…I formed bonds and friendships I know will last a lifetime and discovered a group that will always cheer me on or cheer me up.
—Elyssa K.

My summer in the BVI changed my life. BVI reminded me that I could make friends, it gave me confidence, I formed friendships and bonds that became the foundation for the rest of my high school experience. I am so grateful to this day.
—Heather B.

We are friends

We Are Transformative

I learned so much about my capabilities and myself. I can see that I am now a more mature, open minded and self-confident person than I was before I left for this trip. This program has changed me.
—Amy D.

Our daughters have had two marvelous summers with VISIONS in BVI and Montana. As their parents, we want to say how much we appreciate the opportunity you have given them to challenge themselves; to take risks; to provide a service and discover that in so doing you are the one who has gained the most! Both have returned from their summers far more willing to give of themselves to assist others and ready to prepare themselves for a future of international work and living. A gift we could never have provided!
—Peter & Patricia C.

The leaders were amazing. They have the perfect attitude toward teens. I now have connections with Virgin Gorda Islanders and other VISIONS volunteers unlike any other relationships I have gained through camp or school. Living with such a small group doesn’t give anyone a chance to hide their true self. Because of this, I built the most sincere friendships I have ever known.
—Laura K.

OUTSTANDING! I LOVED IT! VISIONS was the best summer ever! I gained strength, courage, and became more open and outgoing. I was able to accomplish many goals and have fun at the same time…This was by far the best summer of my life. The leaders were on top of things—well-trained, worked hard, and great friends. VISIONS couldn’t have done a better job picking them.
—Kate O.

We are Mentors

We are Explorers

Zoie had an absolutely fantastic adventure. She loved every bit of it. Her experiences with VISIONS/BVI far surpassed our goals for her, including better purpose, more room to grow, more freedom, clearly geared towards service. Thanks for letting Zoie be a part of such a great adventure!
—Gail B.

In BVI my cell phone, iPod, and TV had been left behind; they were replaced with card games, kickball, and volunteer work. I had previously thought my electronics connected me to others, but the past month had proved me wrong. Both my view of the world and of myself changed dramatically.
—Irene O.

I have so much more respect for nature in general to the point that I greatly miss living there.
—Meryl G.

Being in the BVI taught me so much about myself and about other people. Also, the feeling I got when helping the children by building the playground and painting the bedrooms was one I will never forget. I will never forget the smiles on every single one of the children’s faces!
—Jordanna G.

Leo was able to tap into his empathy and a sense of deeper purpose, an experience that will inform his heart and actions for a lifetime.
—Kristine G.

This is an experience that connects with the culture of the place and opens your eyes to how other people live. Up until my trip to Virgin Gorda, I thought everyone had an iPhone, laptop and an iPad. But people in other places don't live like I do. I realized how fortunate I am.
—Amelia F.

We are Family

We get things done

My experience was incredible. Although I have done other types of community service, the experience in Virgin Gorda was the most rewarding. These are memories I will keep forever.
—Katie S.

All the projects included a lot of love…I love the island culture and the way of life. We all worked together on everything. I learned that we all have to put our own help in and contribute to be successful.
—Eleni W.

I liked that every day we got to choose what service we took part in. There was a good amount of diversity in the projects that we took on, they ranged from social work to physical work. It was incredible to see the people around me push themselves and get outside of their comfort zones, it really encouraged me to do the same.
—Nora C.


We welcome You

I learned so much about what I could accomplish and who I was. I met some of the most amazing people that encouraged my growth and became great friends.
—Julie F.

Interacting with all of the little children and engaging in the activities that they enjoy was one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences of my life. I gained self-confidence by being a hard worker and I made some of the best friends of my life on the trip to the DR.
—Max K.

He loved it. It was wonderful for him to feel useful, speak Spanish, make friends with young and old people. Eat rice and beans, fruit. Be in nature. Thank you for this wonderful experience. Again, we felt so at ease. What you do is good for our culture at large.
—Kate S.

I loved everything, especially the nightly circle meetings and the cultural connection we had with the community!
—Julia H.

I learned a lot about myself and other people on this program. I came away a different person than when I started!
—Juliette C.

This summer was the best of my life. I learned so much about myself through circle meetings and living with people. I also learned so much Spanish and fell in love with the language. I got to interact with people my age in the community that I'm still in contact with as well as the amazing kids and counselors I met. VISIONS changed my life through all the friends I have made, the challenges I conquered and the things I have learned. I will never forget it.
—Megan W.

We are friends

We Are Transformative

It was a really incredible and life changing experience that has really changed my life.
—Reed G.

The greatest hope my husband and I had for the program came true; joy is reignited in our teenager. He got to see a glimpse of who he wants to become instead of being tied to who he thinks he was. He got a real chance to shed the insecurities of boyhood and step into leadership and true work.
—Alison F.

This was life changing for Jess. He grew up so much. If you want your child to discover the joy of truly doing service, to find a sense of calm and connection to nature, to feel a sense of pride in their growing maturity, and to become part of a community of caring, inclusive teens, then give your child—and your family—the gift of a Visions Service trip.
—Ken P.

We were extremely impressed with our son's VISIONS experience. We felt the program was well run and had a great group of leaders. The program was well organized and our son had an amazing time from work to adventure. We want to thank VISIONS for an exceptional program!
—Lisa H.

This summer was an amazing experience. I met lifetime friends. I’ve already had a mini reunion in New York City with some of them. The leaders did a fantastic job and I miss them just as much as my friends. It’s hard having to leave such a unique lifestyle because it really became a part of me…VISIONS programs not only let you learn about another culture and way of life, but it gives you time to truly learn more about yourself.
—Samantha J.

We are Mentors

We are Explorers

I had the adventure of a lifetime doing countless amazing things in one day that I would never do in a year at home.
—Becky S.

I loved how this program combined community service, cross-cultural interchange, amazing adventure, and fun excursion all into a single trip.
—Tanya T.

VISIONS may be a service program, but there is so much more to VISIONS than service work. The atmosphere is indescribable; I saw so many beautiful beaches, swam in crystal blue water, laid in the most amazing sand. The drives were always accompanied by laughter. The work days were spent singing or talking to Michael, who is one of the most interesting pineapple farmers anybody could ever hope to meet. I cannot remember one dull moment the whole time.
—Janelle G.

The cross-cultural interaction was amazing. Everyone was welcoming. Their effort to make us feel comfortable was fabulous.
—Kate S.

Thank you for another amazing summer! Living in a new culture, feeling vibrant music, working for the good of the community. I loved how this program forced communication in Spanish. Really getting to know Dominicans was the highlight of my summer.
—Michael K.

It was an environment that truly fostered cross-cultural interaction. Because of the various projects, activities and people, it was easy to find a passion, a friend, to feel appreciated, to be yourself. The staff was incredible, a variety of people with different talents and personalities. They took their job seriously and gave energy for a positive group dynamic.
—Margot F.

We are Family

We get things done

The service was absolutely incredible, and definitely the most rewarding thing I've ever done. The work was hard, but I really felt like I was helping people, and that's what it's about.
—Nicole K.

I think overall the VISIONS experience is something you can’t get anywhere else: the service, the people, the environment, and everything else just comes together for an amazing summer experience.
—Edgar M.

I’ve never had a summer as incredible as this one before. The community service aspect of this trip obviously had a great deal to do with this. The projects were challenging, but not impossible to accomplish. The completion of these projects brought me an overwhelming sense of pride and happiness.
—Jennie B.


We welcome You

The openness of the community is still mind blowing. The great friendships and networks that VISIONS has established on the Blackfeet reservation were super valuable.
—Judy C.

I really enjoyed interacting with the Blackfeet community and listening to their stories. One thing I gained was trying new things that I normally would have never done. It gave me a sense of what I want to do in life.
—Nicholas M.

I spent the best 2 summers of my life in Montana and Peru with VISIONS. I would love to spend a third in the BVI, but with college coming up it’s not in the cards for me. Although I won’t be getting my hands dirty with fellow VISIONS participants this summer, I will definitely continue to give back to the global community – either with this gap year, or another summer with VISIONS, next time as a leader! Until then…
— Jasmine B

She had a wonderful experience. She felt a close bond with her fellow students and the counselors as well.
—Lori C.

The Blackfeet culture is so welcoming to outsiders. Everyone we met greeted us with warmth. Families opened their homes to us and eagerly shared their culture. I learned so much about the extraordinary past of the tribe as well as their plans to continue their traditions in the future.
—Sylvie D.

I miss all of you and Montana so much. The Conoco, local friends, the dogs—especially the little things, which are harder to grasp and keep from sliding through my memory, like the enormity of the sky and the smell of sage.
—Sara S.

We are friends

We Are Transformative

Thanks everyone…What an awesome trip!
—Luned P.

After my month in Montana, I was not only able to reflect on the good that I had done for the community, but I was also allowed to reflect on my personal growth. VISIONS taught me a lot about taking personal risks, as well as the importance of communication and expressing myself while living in a group. I became a more independent and goal-driven person.
—Jennifer I.

My two summers with VISIONS have been the most rewarding experiences of my life. Two years ago I would never have imagined I’d be so culturally aware and find such joy from doing community service. I have been blessed to be a part of VISIONS because the experiences have allowed me to begin a transformation into a person I am proud to be.
—Hannah B.

I absolutely loved Montana. Shoutout to all the leaders for their hard work and patience. I admire and love them all!
—Grace L.

The staff was all supportive and welcoming. I felt like I really bonded with them in the first few days. I felt like I could go to them and tell them anything. They were amazing!
—Maddie R.

I really enjoyed getting to know and work with our six leaders. I found them to be interesting, caring and responsible people I felt comfortable around. I felt instantly safe and at ease. They were happy to answer our questions and help us get settled in. I really felt like they had our backs, and that we were part of a team.
—Erin P.

We are Mentors

We are Explorers

The things he got to feel from helping others, working hard in community, and exploring nature are priceless.
—Laurel C.

Backpacking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and camping were wonderful. I'm not an outdoor person, but the program made sure everyone could have an enjoyable experience.
—Rachel O.

I loved connecting with people and listening to their stories. This year I got to dance along with the dancers at the Sun Dance and it was a brand new experience for me. I absolutely loved it. I will never forget the backpacking trip and the rock climbing trip. I loved how we got to chill at the river and it was really nice.
—Grace L.

We went to a sweat lodge, a powwow, a sun dance... we built tipis! This was amazing.
—Ella C.

It was really fun getting to see and experience the traditions and culture of the Blackfeet people. People were so kind and friendly, and the rituals were amazing to behold.
—Jamie G.

We were able to talk to the residents of the reservation. I loved hearing the stories under the stars, and I'm so glad that many of the local people were eager to share their culture.
—Rachel O.

The Blackfeet culture was so welcoming. Families opened their homes to us with warmth and eagerly shared. I learned about the extraordinary past of the tribe as well as their plans to continue their traditions in the future.
—Sylvie D.

We are Family

We get things done

This program with VISIONS was the experience of a lifetime. The community service was so rewarding, the people were beyond amazing, the activities were so fun, and the counselors were wonderful.
—Eliana K.

Sam realized a lot about himself and what he is capable of, as well as seeing a glimpse of Native American life and the beauty of Montana—which is exactly what we hoped for. Thank you to the leaders who encouraged Sam and all the kids to be their best selves and who taught them so much!
—Lauren H.

The community service part of the trip was my favorite. I really felt like I was contributing in a meaningful way. I learned about carpentry and it felt good to work hard. The leaders were helpful and thankful for our work and we were always safe with the tools.
—Jamie G.


We welcome You

I gained a perspective about what is important, it is not landscape or architecture that make life and journeys special, it is the people you form bonds with and help. This trip will always be memorable not because of the places I saw but the people I met.
—Katelyn W.

I made great friendships on my trip. I remember during circle we always talked about how quickly our group bonded, and how we didn't expect to bond so fast. I just wanted to commend the counselors and teens for working so well together and creating bonds that will hopefully last a long time.
—Maria R.

This summer was absolutely the best summer of my life. I made amazing friends and learned so much about myself and others. This trip was much more than just community service.
—Jesi L.

Carlie talked with us about the amazing social dynamics she experienced with the counselors and peers. She expressed how close everyone became in a short time period. This is surely due in large part to the counselors’ commitment to building community.
—Kathy T.

Lucy has truly grown and not only from being exposed to a new culture, Spanish immersion, going on her own and meeting new friends…but, in ways that we would never imagine that she learned from group living and cooperation. A true gift.
—Alice S.

Important things I gained from my month in Peru is honesty with myself and others. I gained different kinds of friends. I got so close with my peers and leaders… I am so thankful for this opportunity I had to go to Peru. I am forever grateful.
—Sophia M.

We are friends

We Are Transformative

I cannot rave more about VISIONS Peru. The experiences I had are irreplaceable.
—Natanya C.

Our son’s experiences last summer will be with him forever and have impacted the way he sees the world. My friend's children who attended VISIONS over 15 years ago were right—a life changing experience. Andrew said he never worked harder!
—Mary Louise C.

Ginny loved her second trip with VISIONS even more than she thought possible after her first. She has been touched, transformed and elevated in new ways as a teenager and young adult. Her understanding of the world has grown so much with this trip. She has been filled with joy since her return and the “knowing” of what matters in life has given her a wonderful perspective at age 15.
—Mr. and Mrs. U

Our leaders were ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! They created strong bonds with our students and worked hard to ensure our trip was successful and safe. I cannot say enough great things about them.
—Tina L.

VISIONS leaders were attentive, energetic, intuitive, and kindly firm, just as I would have hoped. We worked well as a team and the students rose to the challenges facing them.
—Anne W.

The support and wisdom of the on-the-ground leaders, the local teams and the directors made me so confident that I could let go and let my kid fall and rise on her own. She herself said she grew as a person—a response that blew me away. As she described the outings and family visits, I was thrilled. I had no idea so much would be in store.
—Jan H.

We are Mentors

We are Explorers

It was one of the best experiences I've had in my entire life. It was also the best summer I could have imagined. I cannot wait to do another service adventure next year.
—Georgia G.

I loved that we lived in the heart of Urubamba and had Bamba Time to explore the city and talk to people who lived there.
—Alexandra K.

MACHU PICCHU!!!! To be able to hike up to the top of the mountain that Machu Picchu was on was so fun! (And extremely tiring, stressful, and leg-killing) but at the top and in the days after the pain was all worth it, because the views were beautiful, and there was only a small group that went up, we were all rewarded visually and mentally knowing that WE had made it out of all the kids that went.
—Maria R.

Really you fully met and even exceeded our expectations in almost every important way… Tremendous opportunity for developing empathy.
—Mary S.

The cross-cultural highlight was my day stay with a local family. It was really cool to see what the life of a kid my age is like in a different part of the world. I really felt like our group became part of the community.
—Andrew M.

Victoria LOVED the entire experience, the country, the people, culture and food including meeting her new peers. And, immensely enjoyed supporting the daily work projects: building a school and water irrigation canals. Communicated that she would never complain again.
—Angela M.

We are Family

We get things done

WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS!!! IT WAS AMAZING it truly changed her.
—Kathy T.

I loved that we worked side-by-side with community members; we learned a ton and felt more like community members ourselves than tourists.
—Alexandra K.

I can truthfully say I have never had so much fun with such amazing individuals, completing projects that would and will benefit so many people, in my entire life, to this point. I have no regrets on this trip and this has been the best summer (hands down) in my life—and all doing community service. I have been bettered as an individual for having completed this trip and for having been in the presence of such a collection of selfless people. This was truly the most life-changing and eye-opening trip of my life.
—Patrick F.

VISIONS in The New York Times