Adventure Treks: Leadership Adventure Gap Semester

    Adventure Treks: Leadership Adventure Gap Semester

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    (3 reviews)


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Destinations: Costa Rica, United States
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Credit Awarded: College
    • Program Length: Six Weeks
    • Start Month: March, June, September
    • Category: Outdoor Adventure
    • Selective: Yes
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Cabins, Tents
    • Application Deadline: 01/10/22
    • Minimum Cost: $5,000 - $9,999
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    Adventure Treks' Leadership Adventure Gap semester is an outdoor adventure and life skills program based in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. The semesters include three multi-day backcountry trips where students will learn how to lead their peers in the outdoors. They'll gain mastery in skills like rock climbing, mountain biking and whitewater kayaking, whilst building confidence in themselves, their peers, learning life skills and how to be a stronger leader.

    Our semester is a good fit for anyone who is looking to be a part of a strong, supportive community and is excited about being in the outdoors and pushing themselves to learn more. 

    Students will build interpersonal skills, live in a close community of peers, learn life skills like basic auto and home maintenance, and give back to the community with meaningful service. For spring and fall, students will basecamp in cabins in between backpacking trips. The open-air cabins are screened and rustic (no heat or A/C) but have electricity and are comfortable. For summer, students will camp expedition-style, traveling from location to location.

    Cost and Session Information

    Fall gap semester (74 days) Sept 7-Nov 19, 2022: $16,500

    Our fall gap semester bases out of western North Carolina for the 74 days with students embarking on a seven-day backpacking trip at the beginning of the semester. As the semester progresses students begin to build up their skills in mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing and backpacking, take their Wilderness First Responder course and a Swift Water Rescue course and learn life skills listed above. Students will embark on a 5-day thrupaddle in the middle of the semester and by the end of the semester will utilize the skills they've gained throughout the semester to plan and execute a 5-day student-led backpacking trip. 

    Summer gap semester (42 days) June 22-Aug 2, 2022: $7,395

    Our summer gap semester will travel throughout the Pacific Northwest. During this expedition-style semester, students will build up their backpacking, mountaineering and rock climbing skills. This semester also teaches students how to plan and execute and a backcountry expedition, with students leading a 5-day backpack on the Olympic Peninsula at the end of the semester.

    Spring gap semester (74 days) Feb 28-May 12, 2022: $15,995 

    Our spring semester mirrors are fall gap semester, except the first two weeks will be based in Costa Rica, where students will build there paddling skills. Students will have three days of curriculum on whitewater kayaking, embark on a 3-day rafting trip on the Pacuare River, take their Swift Water Rescue course and canoe through the canals of Costa Rica to overnight on the Caribbean coast. Once they return to western North Carolina they will start their first backpacking trip and follow the flow of the fall gap semester.


    * Fall and spring semesters offer the ability to earn 14 college credits through Western Carolina University and summer semesters offer 10 college credits. Each semester includes Wilderness First Responder training.

    Reviews (3)

    • Best decision of my life!
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      Reviewed on 21/11/2021 by maggiebroaddus

      The 74 days I spent last fall were simply the best days of my life. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it is most certainly not. LAS (Leadership Adventure Semester) was 74 days filled with insanely fun journeys, challenges, and growth. The best part was being part of an incredibly inclusive, fun, supportive, and extremely close community. Last year, for many, was known as "the covid year." While this was not the case for all college students, I think many had a difficult year with limited social interactions. However, this was not the case for me. At LAS, we formed a bubble, and it was awesome. Since it was such a crazy year in terms of Covid, I think many people who came to LAS had their own unique stories of how they ended up there. But even though we all had these different stories, I can speak for everyone when I say that there could not have been a better way to spend a gap semester. I took a whole year off before I started college, and I had an incredible year overall. After LAS, I got my EMT certification, worked on a farm in Oregon, I interned at a recording studio, and worked as an EMT. All of it was awesome, however, LAS was easily the highlight. I made life long friends who I am still very much in touch with. In fact, after LAS, I've had many reunions with these people, which included a ski trip in Park City and several road trips. Also, I worked on a farm for two months with one of my best friends and cabin mate at LAS. We even had a big one-year reunion on zoom with everyone just a few weeks ago. If you are thinking about how to spend your semester, you really should consider LAS. You will make life long friends. I promise. The instructors were also incredible. They were all such amazing, supportive, fun-loving, and talented people. They also became some of my best friends. They took us on some amazing backpacking, canoeing, climbing, and mountain biking trips, teaching us and sharing all of their wisdom, helping us to become really solid mountain bikers, climbers, kayakers, and much more. A really awesome part of the semester was all of the certifications we have obtained. The Wilderness First Responder course was an amazing bonding experience, and we all learned so much. It even inspired me to continue with my certification and get my Wilderness EMT later in my year. Everything I learned at LAS has enabled me to do so much. I have gone on many backpack and canoe trips since with my friends, and LAS gave me the confidence and skills to do this. I am now at Bowdoin College in Maine, and here at school, I have jumped into leadership training for the Outing Club here. The reason I am able to do this was because of all my experiences at LAS. I cannot properly express how much gratitude I have for those 74 days last fall. It was an adventure of a lifetime.

    • Best decision ever!!
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      Reviewed on 10/11/2021 by JessieSullivan

      Attending the Adventure Treks Leadership Adventure gap semester was one of the best decisions of my life. The activities and community are both diverse and enriching. My group ranged from seasoned outdoorsmen to students who had never been on a hike and the instructors excelled at accommodating everyone. The activities (including backpacking, whitewater kayaking and canoeing, rock climbing, and so much more) consistently felt safe and fun and there was always a challenge for every skill level! I could not recommend this gap semester more for anybody looking for a change in pace and a need to reignite your love for the outdoors. You will be introduced to a community that values fun, safety, and teamwork while still getting the chance to develop your own skills and take reasonable risks. As long as you are up for the challenge, the Leadership Adventure Semester is the perfect fit for you!

    • Best Summer ever!
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      Reviewed on 03/11/2021 by spt1

      I loved backpacking, rock climbing, and learning wilderness medicine skills while camping! I now feel prepared to lead my own backpacks and plan and cook meals while camping. The community that AT trips foster is one of a kind, and stays present long after closing day. Being in a small group allowed us to move around quickly and experience the Rockies, City of Rocks, and the North Cascades in one trip. Going on our student-led backpack was amazing, and our instructors were very close in case of emergency. Rafting was a great and fun-filled way to close the trip!

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