Last week, Spirit Representative, Lauren travelled to Montana to visit our employers and participants in Big Sky Country. She visited the towns of Whitefish, Browning, and West Glacier to see where Spirit participants have spent their summer. These small Montana towns are loaded with charm and are a hidden gem within the Summer Work and Travel program. Our participants were quite happy to be there! Here are some of the highlights from the trip.
Lauren’s first stop was Markus Foods – a boutique grocery store in downtown Whitefish known for their wine. One of the managers converted a nearby school into housing for the participants, it is such a unique experience for participants to stay in a refurbished school! The participants have a full-time staff member in charge of maintaining and managing the housing and participants are able to rent bikes to use around town!
Alpine Market is another boutique grocery store in the area, and participants are having a wonderful summer working there! Lauren met with TK, First, and Fah from China, who all enjoy their job behind the deli counter.
Whitefish Lake Restaurant is a golf club close to downtown Whitefish. Lauren met with the manager, who likes working with participants Ece and Mustafa from Turkey. Ece and Mustafa work as bussers and dishwashers this year.
The Lodge at Whitefish Lake is enormous, beautiful, and popular for conferences, weddings, events, and water sports. A few participants working there gave Lauren an excellent tour of the lodge, which is right on Whitefish Lake. After the tour, Lauren took them out for ice cream!
St. Mary’s KOA is a beautiful campground on the east side of Glacier Park. According to a manager, the summer has been going very well, and the participants there are wonderful. The front desk crew even noted they were the hardest working participants they’ve ever had and loved working with them this summer! The participants here also gave Lauren a tour of the campgrounds, where they work in the ice cream and coffee shop, make pizzas, work the BBQ grill, and do housekeeping. The participants love being able to try out new roles by rotating positions throughout the summer.
Glacier Highland Resort is right outside of the West Glacier entrance. Participants were very enthusiastic and are working in various positions such as cashiers, bussers, dishwashers, front desk, and housekeeping.
At West Glacier KOA, Lauren found another beautiful campground. She met satisfied participants who were working at the café, ice cream shop, and in housekeeping. The Mongolian and Chinese students working and living there love their managers and the surrounding nature.
Glacier Raft Company owns deluxe lodges where participants clean in small crews with Americans. The participants were very happy and loved being around all the nature! Participants here are even planning to travel to LA after they finish their programs.
Participants throughout the state of Montana have been able to explore Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, go hiking, learn how to stand up paddle board, learn about Native American culture, and go kayaking. It has been quite the summer! Now we want to visit Montana!
Thank you to all our Montana employers for providing our participants with such a great cultural exchange experience!