GeoVisions Blog

Three Ways To Be Famous On GeoVisions Home Page

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Thu, Jul 17, 2014

About 50% of the way down our Home Page, you will see our Social Media section. You can show up there and become famous!

Social updates on the GeoVisions Home Page

The first section is what we call a “slider.” That’s an area where we place current photos of our incredible participants and their quotes. Just down from there we have our “Latest News.” We change this out each Monday. Lower prices, new programs … anything that’s news about our programs we place here.

But then you come to your area … the Social Updates. Here is where we show you our up to the second Facebook posts, Tweets and photos from Instagram. If you add a post or photo or video to our Facebook page … you’ll be famous. Tweet about GeoVisions or Teach Abroad and you will be included in our Twitter feed. And if you share one of your Instagram photos with us … you are really famous.

When it the last time you were able to get on an organization’s Home Page? Well, you just can’t. So this is your chance to break the barriers and get on GeoVisions' Home Page.

Just go to our Facebook page and upload an incredible photo you took on your program or a photo of your travel bag as you pack for a GeoVisions program. Or Tweet about us … even a direct message will do. Let us know what you've done or read that helps others.  What we love is Instagram … that’s going to require you to share a photo or 2 or 3 with us. But your photo will show up here.

We have tried to make a website that reflects our participant’s experiences rather than just the ones we want you to see. Or the ones we think you want to see. Our new site needs to reflect our participants’ thoughts and feelings and we hope we have designed a site that will do just that.

Can you think of anything else you would like to see us add to our Home Page that is more reflective of what’s going on with the programs or with you? Leave a comment and let us know.

Tags: GeoVisions Updates

I'll Bet You Didn't Know This About GeoVisions

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Thu, Jul 10, 2014

A Series On Little Known Facts About GeoVisions

I’m going to do a series (over the rest of this year) about a few things of interest (I hope you find them interesting) about GeoVisions. I’ll bet some of our staff didn’t even know some of these things.

GeoVisions seven-point starThis post is about just one part of our logo … did you notice the “dot” above the second “i” (GeoVis*i*ons)? It is a 7-point star.

2001

In 2001 when our current logo was designed, there were many reasons our founders decided to use the seven-point star as an integral part of our logo. Here are some of the things they thought about as they wrote out our mission statement and thought about what the seven-point star meant over the course of time.

Religion

In traditional Christian teachings, it took God seven-days to create the world. It is also a symbol of protection in some Christian traditions. In Kabbalistic tradition, the seven-point star represents the sphere of Venus and the power of love.

Travel And Symbols

In keeping with the idea of creating a cultural exchange organization that centered around travel to fulfill it’s mission … there are seven-directions: North, South, East, West, Above and Within.

Various bands of the Cherokee Nation (as well as the Navajo Nation Police) incorporate the seven-point star. The flag of Jordan contains a seven-pointed star. The Flag of Australia employs five seven-point stars and one pentagram to depict the Southern Cross constellation and the Commonwealth Star.

Nature

There are seven colors of the rainbow, and the seven notes of the musical scale. Western science recognizes seven chief glands in the human body, called the endocrine glands; while Eastern yoga systems speak of the seven chakras, or centers of force, in man's subtle body.

Astrology

Medieval astrology has its seven Ancient and Sacred planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon or Luna. There are the seven visible heavenly bodies which make up our solar system, the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto not being visible to the naked eye. Strictly speaking, of course, the Sun and Moon are not planets, and are more correctly described as the two luminaries; but the term 'seven sacred planets' was used for convenience. Everything upon Earth is under the governance, astrological speaking, of these seven influences.

This is why we have the seven-day week. Each day is ruled by one of the planets. The Sun rules Sunday, the Moon Monday, Mars Tuesday, Mercury Wednesday, Jupiter Thursday, Venus Friday, and Saturn Saturday. These rulerships go back to the days of ancient Chaldea and Babylon.

Also, in the Northern Hemisphere, we have the most conspicuous constellation of the night sky, the Plough, or the Great Bear (Ursa Major), which points to the North Star or the Pole star, and which consists of a group of seven bright stars.

Geography

The GeoVisions logoAnd of course, by convention there are seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. Some geographers list only six continents, combining Europe and Asia into Eurasia.

And that is how I’m going to end this post about our seven-point star as part of our logo. You can see it was given a great deal of thought. And the fact that convention has it there are seven continents, yet others list only six fits very nicely in the way our company runs each day.

We believe as we move thousands of people around our planet each year, convention is a good way to be mindful of a conservative way to run a company and maintain conventional standards of risk, safety and the exchange of language and culture. We also acknowledge we don’t do this the way we did it in the 1970’s, when our founders started out in international cultural exchange. We know there is another way(s) to exchange cultures … a different star(s).

Still, as we move into our 14th year we also think about the many uses and meanings of the seven-point star each time we see it. And those who decided on this symbol to represent what GeoVisions stands for, and what they were thinking as they decided between hundreds of ideas … knew the seven-point star was exactly right for what they wanted to do with cultural exchange and how that changes lives. Our staff and our participants perpetuate these ideas each time they go out into the world.

Tags: GeoVisions Updates, I'll Bet You Didn't Know

GeoVisions' Next 30-Days

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, May 23, 2014

Here at GeoVisions, we have a new website.  Yeah ... you're thinking you just went over there and saw the same-ol-same-ol and yeah ... you did.  The site isn't live yet, but will be soon.

As you can see, it is a complete redesign of our current site.  And when I can provide a test url for you to click ... I will.  We're using one of the newest Internet bells and whistles called "Paralax."  All that means is that when you see the page Internship in Chile, like the photo in this post ... and you scroll down the page for more information, the page covers the photo.  The PAGE moves, not the photo.  Now, that probably doesn't mean a lot right now, but when you see it you'll like it.

In fact ... click this link and see the WordPress theme using Paralax and you will see how the new GeoVisions site is going look.  You are going to have so much fun with this new site.  On the demo, scroll up and down.  I know ... it's addictive.

GeoVisions' Next 30-days

Right now when you scroll down most sites everything moves.  The photo, the content.  But in Paralax, the photo remains fixed in place.  The content scrolls over the photo.  And it sounds simple, but it isn't.  And I'm here to tell you that you're gonna love it.

We have become visual in our thinking.  That is, there are Internships in Chile (or homestays in France) and then there are GeoVisions internships in Chile and homestays in France.  They're different.  They're unique.  And we discovered there is a way for you to feel that long before you depart for Chile or France.

I thought it would be fun to "count down" to launch.  I remember being in Junior High School watching Alan Shepard (first American in space) get launched and hearing that, "10, 9, 8, 7, ..."

The fact that I get the rush and you might not is not lost upon me.  And that's OK.  If you have any interest in GeoVisions at all, we just want you to feel a part of this new site.  We believe, like many of our unique programs, it sets us apart from the rest of the crowd.

Well ... it isn't too late to offer up some ideas on a new site.  Here in the last 30-days we more than likely missed a few things.

Tags: GeoVisions Updates

The Best At What We Do

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Fri, Dec 27, 2013

If you follow any of GeoVisions' social media at all, we loathe writing about ourselves.  I'd say over the course of a calendar year, only about 10% of the content we Tweet or Post (Facebook or our Blog) is about GeoVisions.  The other 90% is curated articles that we think are useful to the people who have an affinity for GeoVisions.

Several of us were talking in the office recently about all the great things we do around here and I started to make a list.  Even that was uncomfortable.  So maybe the first of the best is that

1.  90% of our content is designed to help other people in their travels ... whether they choose to work with us, one of our competitors, or go it alone.

One of the other areas where we excel is

2. uniqueness.  We are very proud that GoAbroad.com hails us as the company "Where the traditional meets the unique" to use their words.  It's always amazing to me how many people have tried to copy the Conversation Corps, which we started in 2007.  We even see text on other organizations' sites that has been copied from our original program to their page.  But in the end, we are the only organization that not only has amazing host families wanting to improve their conversational English ... we have the ESL-Lounge and our own in-house ESL teacher.  And we provide our tutors and our host families with language goals (kind of like a menu) that they have in advance and work on together in real time. Every program we invent, goes through total innovation at least twice a year.  We're proud to be the exclusive provider of tutors to Feynan Lodge, an ecolodge in the Dana Bisophere in Jordan, as well as other unique opportunities around the world for our participants.

Why Our Volunteers MatterAnother place we excel is

3. making sure you not only know that you (our teachers and volunteers) matter, but Why You Matter.  GeoVisions focuses on the stories our teachers and volunteers bring with them, the impact they make when they go abroad, and how the stories evolve during the experience.  35 countries and counting.  Over 2700 teachers, interns, au pairs and volunteers this year equaling 5,926 months of service.  That's the equivalent of 494 years of service to others.  It isn't about GeoVisions.  It's about you.

4. Our demographics are changing through our uniqueness, not our marketing.  If you're "older" you have a place here.  Although 85% of our volunteers and teachers are aged 18-29, 13% are 30-59.  8% now (used to be 3%) are 60+.  Why?  Programs they can believe in.  Experiences they deserve.  Welcome home ... to your place.

5. We love women. By that, I mean that although women make up 50% of the workforce in the United States, an incredible 75% of our volunteers, au pairs and teachers are women ... choosing their own adventures!  Now.  And forever.

I could go on.  And on. But hopefully you get the picture.  We don't like to talk about ourselves, but we can, and when we do we really do toot our horn.

Join us in 2014 and become another reason we are the best at what we do.

Tags: GeoVisions Updates, Why You Matter

GeoVisions Volunteer and Teach Abroad Is Becoming A Foundation

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Tue, Jul 23, 2013

Pikes PeakGreetings from Denver, Colorado!

I'm here on a little business and a lot of pleasure. I get to see my daughter, Alex, and my family is celebrating my Mom's 85th birthday here.

I'm visiting Denver, of course and Boulder, Estes Park, Golden, Woodland Park, Green Mountain Falls, Colorado Springs and Canon City. (I want to go to Red Rocks, where I of course missed Mumford and Sons.)

GeoVisions is a State Department designated sponsor of the Summer Work and Travel program. I'm going to take a day and head to Estes Park, where we have students working for the summer. I want to say hello, take their pictures and see how they like the United States.

Aside from all of this, my mind is on GeoVisions' outbound programs (volunteer abroad, teach and work abroad) becoming GeoVisions Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. It was always a goal, to hand off those incredible programs to a Board, and to watch the company we gave birth to leave the nest. So there will be GeoVisions (a for-profit company designated for the J-1 Summer Work and Travel program) and GeoVisions Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit sending volunteers, teachers, interns and au pairs abroad.

The Foundation will officially launch on August 1 ... in less than two-weeks. I will stay on as the Executive Director of GeoVisions Foundation. My business partner, Kevin Morgan, will be the CEO of GeoVisions. I'm excited to take this next step and to working with a Board. New programs that are very unique is what gets me out of bed everyday.

Child Safe internship in the UK

A great example is our newest internship in the Bristol, England area. Child-Safe is an incredible opportunity to develop awareness of child abuse outside the home. An internship in the UK is new for us. Prevention of child abuse outside the home is a unique approach to child-safety, where so many other organizations focus on it in the home. Founded by a former Detective in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Headquarters, near Bristol, UK, I am incredibly proud of the work our interns are going to do on the program.

Well, I'm going to join my family for a few rides on an Alpine slide and show them that racing this 63-year old down a Colorado mountain will guarantee two things: stunning scenery and the back of my bald head.

Travel safely, and I'll see you out there...

Tags: GeoVisions Updates

Working and Teaching Abroad Never Looked So Good--We're Back!

Posted by Randy LeGrant on Wed, Nov 07, 2012

It's great to be back.

We were closed Monday through Friday last week because of Sandy. We had no power, water, Internet, phones, heat. What was interesting though is the staff considered Internet a necessity…and of course that drives our phones. So we couldn't even hook up a generator for power. Xfinity was down.

So we went hunting again. Because this marks 14 days GeoVisions has been closed for weather in the last 13 months. Some of us moved our computers into the Guilford and North Branford libraries where they had power and Internet. Others sat in McDonalds and Starbucks and gained some weight in the process. Our town green, right across from our office, looked like a battle zone. Trees uprooted, limbs everywhere.

Storm damage on the Guilford GreenGuilford is odd with hurricanes. We are a shoreline community with a working harbor. So we get flooding from the sea. We are also an agricultural community, and so we have a lot of trees that go flying across roads during high wind. And the occasional flying cow.

I have to tell you, though, that our spirit is undaunted. After two hurricanes in one year, we feel knocked down, but we're back up and preparing for the next one that decides to turn toward us. Maybe 10 or 11 months from now. Our website never went down, since it is hosted on servers in Massachusetts and Arizona. Our email never went down, since Google hosts that. Our emergency phone service never went down since we forwarded all calls there in advance of the storm and that facility is more bunker than office.

The notes and emails sent to us last week from our offices and partners abroad, and our volunteers and teachers were more than we could have expected. Your patience as we dealt with this problem and your concerns and prayers were very much appreciated.

Through it all, we still have families desperate for au pairs. We have schools desperate for teachers. We have projects desperate for volunteers. The upside of being an Internet business is that the site is still live even when your office is getting pounded.

Thank you again for your patience. We are getting back to cleaning up the office, setting up our new telephone system, figuring out even more ways to be of better service to you all. If there is anything we can help you with, please drop us an email at programs@geovisions.org. Or call us on 203-453-5838. Both work just fine!

More important than what happened to us is what is happening to our friends to the south. Places that are now gone from us forever. People suffering today, families and children freezing cold from the low temperatures this week. Everyday we think about them.  

Tags: GeoVisions Updates, Guilford