WALI Gap Semesters: The Wilderness Adventures Leadership Institute offers opportunities for students to grow their leadership skills in an outdoor classroom like no other. Throughout each course, you will fine tune your leadership style, develop your critical thinking and problem solving skills, and become an integral member of your cohort – all of whom will challenge and inspire you into becoming your best self.
WALI Gap Semesters are for students 18+, offering opportunities to test your foundational outdoor skills and further your capabilities as a leader. At WALI, you and your cohort will earn your Wilderness First Responder and CPR / First Aid certifications, the industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members, outdoor recreationalists, and international travelers. Other certifications may include Swift Water Rescue, Leave No Trace Trainer, and more. Focusing on a plethora of technical skills in each semester, you will learn how to backpack, climb, whitewater raft, mountaineer, canoe, and sea kayak. You will utilize your time outside of the traditional classroom setting to hone in your hard and soft skills, receive impactful leadership instruction, and build towards your capstone experience at the end of your term. With an outdoor classroom unlike any other, this is the adventure of a lifetime.
Academic credit through the University of Wyoming is available for all WALI Gap Semester programs.
My gap semester with Wilderness Adventures was nothing short of transformative, and I can't recommend the program enough to any student considering taking a gap year before or during their time in college. The WALI program takes a small group of college-aged students out into the backcountry to foster their outdoor skills while backpacking, canoeing, and rafting. Yet the true lessons learned are in students' leadership and relationship skills as the small student group reads and discusses texts on leadership while forming a tight group bond. The WALI program is the perfect choice for students who want to expand their outdoor skills and take time to explore themselves and their interests before beginning their college experience. WALI will change your life; it changed mine.
I can truly say going on this gap semester with Wilderness Adventures changed my life in so many ways!! The trip iternary was packed with some amazing activities like canoeing, hiking through national parks, backpacking, camping, getting Wilderness First Responder certified, and white water rafting. The program's instructors were amazing and provided an inclusive, fun, and supportive environment where you were encouraged to push yourself and try new things!! Coming from not doing many outdoors activities prior, this trip pushed me just enough, and has shown me my abilities and also how amazing, healing, and fun the outdoors is!! Wilderness Adventures in particular, emphasizes family and you can definitely feel that through the programs! I definitely recommend this program because of its down-to-earth, wholesome, and fun atmosphere!!!
I recommend that everyone should take a gap semester at some point in their young adult life, and WA is undoubtedly a great program to facilitate this experience. Our group spent three months together learning valuable lessons about ourselves and the world we interact with. The time I spent away from those I rely on and in locations foreign to me forced me to ask myself questions about my current and future state that I would have otherwise bypassed if I had jumped directly into school. The WALI leaders were a blast and the locations and activities we enjoyed allowed us to truly take advantage of our time off of school.
The gap semester I spent with Wilderness Adventures was one of the most enriching, exciting and fun experiences I've ever had. From canoeing to backpacking to getting my wilderness first responder, there wasn't a dull moment! I was pushed outside my comfort zone while being supported by a group of my peers and the trip leaders all whom unfailingly and unequivocally had my back. I got to see incredible views in places you could only get to by hiking 20 miles, not to mention a night sky completely painted with stars. While our activities were amazingly fun and full of adventure, what makes WA unique is the community they build. No one creates a family quite like Wilderness Adventures. Our leaders were positive, kind, hilarious and completely supportive - they had me feeling at ease within my first few hours of knowing them. My peers quickly surpassed the bar of "friend I met on a trip" to people I truly and deeply care about, feel so fortunate to know, and that I have stayed in touch with even months after the trip (and know I will continue doing so). I never imagined that this trip would have the intense impact it did. I know I will treasure every memory - from sitting in the sun, surrounded by mountains in the middle of nowhere to just sitting with my peers in a car ride. I miss every moment! I feel so fortunate to have built my skills in the outdoors (from zero experience at the start, I now have the confidence and capabilities to do solo backpacking trips!), developed a love for outdoor rec! I cannot recommend this program enough :)
My wilderness adventures gap semester trip absolutely changed my life. Everyone I met quickly became friends and it wasn't long until they became family. I learned more about myself than I've ever learned in a classroom. The environment is positive and growth oriented. Wilderness Adventures creates an experience that fosters a transition from being a kid, to being a kid with a wise approach to every aspect of life. I strongly recommend this to anyone taking a year off.