Naperville North Student Completes Service Trip in Montana
While some venture off to tropical destinations or jet set off to Europe for summer vacations, Naperville North student Emma Crosswait only needed to travel to Montana to have her eyes opened. For two weeks this summer, Crosswait joined the Visions program for Visions Northern Cheyenne where she assisted the North Cheyenne Native American community in Southwestern Montana, while simultaneously experiencing their unique culture.
Emma didn’t just choose the Northern Cheyenne randomly.
“I was very interested in helping Native Americans who I believe have been largely ignored by most people and governments,” Emma said. “I also didn't know much about the Cheyenne culture.”
Throughout the trip Emma participated in various daily service projects, accompanied with occasional cultural and outdoor excursions every few days.
Although the trip was mainly focused around service, during the two week stay, Emma and her group were able to visit unique places. Her favorite was when they were able to camp in Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming. During their stay, the Chief of the Cheyenne, Philip Whitman, took them to a place called Deer Medicine Rocks, ancient rocks with pictographs that appeared thousands of years ago and depict history.
“This experience was the most rewarding because the Deer Medicine Rocks are not open to the public, as they are on private property, and Philip had to say numerous prayers before we would be allowed to see the rocks,” Emma said.
When Emma returned she felt the trip had changed her for the better.
“The trip was one of happiest times of my life,” Emma said. “We had a lot of downtime at home base where we lived and we spent that time talking to one another instead of staring at our phones. Being away from my phone for two weeks was a liberating experience.”