Elevate Gap Program

    Elevate Gap Program


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Destinations: United States
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Semester, Quarter
    • Start Month: February
    • Category: Outdoor Adventure
    • Selective: Yes
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Dorm
    • Application Fee: $50
    • Accreditation: American Camp Association
    • Financial Aid: Not Available
    • Minimum Cost: < $1,000
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    The three components of this program are outdoor adventure, employment in the hospitality industry, and meaningful community service. Some of the outdoor adventures include daily access to Rocky Mountain National Park for hiking and exploration, a week-long trip to Yellowstone National Park, a weekend camping trip to Moab, UT, skydiving, and more! This is a great opportunity for those looking to live the mountain dream while gaining a greater skillset and lifelong friends along the way.

    The program fee ($200) will be waived for the Spring semester. The $50 application fee is still required, but the full $50 will be refunded to participants upon their completion of the program.

    Program Structure:

    • Paid seasonal employment, rotating through Guest Service focused departments
    • Recreational opportunities (both scheduled and informal) to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and our stunning locale
    • Opportunities for deeper reflection and relationship-building
    • Service opportunities in both Estes Park and Denver, as well as surrounding cities
    • A week-long service trip
    • Regularly-scheduled small-group workshops and training sessions on topics of interest
    • Opportunities to continue working at the Estes Park Center for up to 4 additional months as seasonal, or pursue a full-time opening with us 
    • Two extended camping trips (approximately 1-2 weeks long each) that will take place in Yellowstone National Park & Moab National Park
    • Regular commitment to local needs: including service projects at animals shelters and soup kitchens
    • Weekly activities and events to take place with the Elevate group that will encompass paid adventures to National Parks, indoor/outdoor skydiving, Denver’s Waterworld, and many others

    Program Outcomes: Elevate participants will emerge with greater self-confidence, self-awareness and a sense of purpose. Participants will meet all walks of life and learn to lead with heart. This is a place where nature inspires and quality time happens naturally. Our serene surroundings of Rocky Mountain National Park will provide moments of tranquility and a greater appreciation for the outdoors. Time management skills and learning to be a team-player will be gained from having a job with us. Participants will complete the program better prepared to face upcoming challenges such as starting/finishing college, applying for/engaging in employment opportunities and living independently. They will live and learn as part of an intentional community within our YMCA center.

    About Us: Our property is bordered on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park - an outdoor enthusiast's playground. Planned excursions will allow participants to hike, climb, snowshoe and enjoy other outdoor pursuits. We will provide a variety of training and certification opportunities (which may include CPR, Wilderness First Aid, etc.).

    What Distinguishes the YMCA of the Rockies Elevate Program from other Gap programs?

    1. The Cost. Not only is the enrollment fee ($50) lower than most, you actually have the opportunity to earn the fees back, and put money away in savings, because during your four-month program you will be working 32 hours per week at the Estes Park Center in a variety of hospitality-focused jobs. The normal cost of the program is $200, however, the fee for the Spring 2022 semester will be waived - which means you'll earning money during your seasonal job, while going on free adventures to multiple National Parks and other adventurous activities like skydiving!
    2. The length. Our four-month program will allow participants to take part in other gap year opportunities (before or after your ELEVATE experience) OR will allow you to stay on in a seasonal staff role.
    3. The location: The Estes Park Center is surrounded on 3-sides by Rocky Mountain National Park and is located just about an hour away from Boulder and Fort Collins. ELEVATE participants will live with one other roommate in dormitories, with access on the property to a pool, gymnasium, fitness track, tennis courts, mini-golf, 18-hole disc golf, roller rink, biking and hiking trails, and many other recreational opportunities.