During the 2014 summer Sage Choi (photo right), a student at Waldorf School of Garden City, spent 27 days working in Peru with VISIONS Service Adventures, an international community service based adventure travel program.
Choi was part of a group of high school students who traveled to Urubamba, a small city in the Andes, to do community service in outlying rural villages. The teen volunteers built much-needed infrastructure and an outdoor eating area at Pronoei Illary, an elementary school built by VISIONS in 2013. They also constructed cement irrigation canals at 18 rural locations.
The trip wasn’t all work for Choi and peers, who learned about Peruvian culture during internships with local weavers, beekeepers, potters and other artisans. They also visited historic and popular sites, including the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu, Cusco’s ancient cathedrals and central plaza, and a sprawling artisans’ market on the mountainside of Pijal.
“Service in the cross-cultural context allows teens the opportunity to make a difference and, just as important, know the people whose lives they are impacting in personal, mutually respectful ways,” says Katherine Dayton, VISIONS Executive Director. “We give students tangible ways to be challenged through ambitious service work, thereby developing resilience and self-confidence, and realizing their potential in this world.”
VISIONS operates high school volunteer travel programs in Alaska, the British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Mississippi, Montana Blackfeet, Montana Northern Cheyenne, Myanmar (Burma), Dominican Republic, Ecuador & Galapagos, Nicaragua, Peru, Guadalupe, and middle school programs, including the Island Passage in the British Virgin Islands and Northern Passage in Montana’s Northern Cheyenne Indian reservation.
“Each of our program locations is unique,” said Dayton, “but all provide primary ingredients of community service, cultural immersion, adventure and opportunities to explore places off the tourist track.”