What is a Gap Year Program?

I learned a new word a few years ago: Gap Year.  Have you heard of it?  And no, it is not a year where you only wear Gap clothes. LOL... I am SUCH A MOM! :)

It is what some parents offer their teens the year after their senior year of high school. 

Introduction to GAP YEAR

Instead of going straight to college, there are camps and facilities offering a one-year program to give your child a year out in the world, but not in school or having to head straight to working the 9-5.

They focus on creating learning environments.  Some gap year programs focus on leadership training, others focus on exploring a country, while still others give you experience in the field you think you will be heading into.  Prices range from $1,200 for the year to as high as $40,000 - all include room and board as well.

Does this sound like your 16-18 year old teen?

They want to spread those wings a bit before committing to the direction they want to head for their life?

If so, then, I highly recommend you and your teen check out a few gap year programs.  And I mention as young as 16, because these opportunities can be a little pricey, so that could give you time to save up for it.

Here are a few of the programs available:

Do you love the Colorado Rockies?

"TREK is a working Christian gap year program designed for 18 to 24-year-olds seeking personal and spiritual growth while working in a seasonal job at Snow Mountain Ranch. The TREK program at Snow Mountain Ranch will start in August  and runs through May.

During this 8 eight-month period participants will work full time at Snow Mountain Ranch—and earn pay, all meals, and lodging, while attending workshops, leading active lives, making friends from around the globe, and participating in group activities. Participants will experience faith development, character development, and greater self-awareness and understanding."


Are you a Kanakuk alumni and did you LOVE every minute of camp life?

"Link Year is all about community. Our heartbeat is that our students would pour into each other as they are being poured into by our speakers and staff. Link Year students will have ample opportunities to engage in an array of activities while living in the Ozarks, from caving to fishing, hiking to exploring, and traveling both locally and globally.

There is never a shortage of new things to do while living in the Ozarks. Our campus provides all the elements needed for students to maintain healthy minds and bodies. From sports and recreation, fitness and games, study and reflecting - we have community spaces that are designed with your needs in mind."


Another Christian Leadership Gap Program is in Texas

"Welcome to the Forge - Pine Cove's Christian leadership training program. The Forge is an 8-month resident discipleship program designed to develop followers and prepare leaders for a lifetime of good works.

From August to May each year, a small number of young men and women make the decision to set aside 8 months of their lives towards developing character, identity, and discipline consistent with Christian leadership. The close community and rigorous schedule challenge the students to discover not just what they can accomplish - but who they really are. In so doing, they become men and women who aren't performers; they are leaders."

Are you a fan of art history and want to travel abroad?

"Every year, Art History Abroad takes students aged around 18-25 to the great art centers of Italy.  Our tutors are young, unstuffy and expert, most of them Masters who know how to make the obvious extraordinary and the unusual captivating.  We have been going for over 20 years and we've built up a reputation for giving our students not what they expect but more than they could ever dream of - including private visits to places like the Basilica of St Mark's, Venice."

Do you have a love for all things Irish?

"Why not travel to Europe and experience the magic of Ireland!
On the western edge of Europe, along with the wild Atlantic, you'll meet the friendliest people, explore untouched nature and immerse yourself in the Irish culture.   Develop leadership and communication skills, volunteer with the local community and immerse yourself in nature."

Always wanted to go to Australia, but don't know how you could afford it.... why not work there for a year?

"Australian Working Adventures gives you the opportunity to work for a year - doing hard labor on a farm, with horses, some nanny positions too"



Do you love skiing and the great outdoors in Montana?

"RIDGE Mountain Academy is dedicated to helping student-athletes cultivate and strengthen their passion, focus, and happiness in life. We achieve this by providing tailored coaching in mountain sports and goal-oriented physical training, as well as opportunities for the student-athlete to develop - mentally, physically, academically and socially."

Check out http://www.ridgeacademy.com/

Wish for a life at sea?

"At its best, learning is an active process, and as part of our crew, Sea|mester will challenge you every day to learn by doing, seeing and experiencing.

You study marine biology and oceanography by conducting research diving on reefs. Acquire knowledge of geology trekking through mountainous terrain. Master meteorology and navigation as you plot your course across seas. And develop leadership and communication skills working together with your team."


Ideas to consider:

  1. Is a Gap Year Program a good fit for your teen?  If so, consider the investment you are willing to make and what your teen's passions are. 
  2. If you are not sure what would strike your teen's fancy, have them start researching Gap Year Programs as well.  We have learned A LOT about our teens from this exercise.

On the journey with you,

-melissa at LIFE 101 PRO

I also want to state, these are just cool Gap Year Program I came across. I don't endorse them or vouch for their authenticity.  Do your homework. ;)


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