Homespun Gap Year Opportunities

Satisfy your thirst for adventure. Be true to yourself.

You know how to play by the rules.
Are you ready to get out of the box and explore the world?

Four young people with backpacks smiling together infront of a mountain


Here you have the chance to be seen and accepted for who you are.  You might feel like you're coming home or feel a sense of closeness you've been craving. Doing hard things together and sharing crazy adventures creates a bond that's unparalleled.

young man points across the grand canyon. surrounded by pink rocks


You don’t want to sign up for an ordinary Gap Year program; you want to co-create adventures.  You don’t want rules; you want choices and opportunities. You want to be what matters.

group photo 2020 edit 300 sq


Join us if you want to feel inspired; if you embrace homespun and informal fun; if you're intrigued by dumpster diving, skinny dipping and being real. Be ready to laugh hard and feel high on life.

laela garden 300


Here you'll fin your voice needs will be respected and heard. Choice matters. You'll find a place where part of freedom is having the courage to take ownership of what you choose.

Upcoming Programs

GAP YEAR 2021/22

One year, three dynamic phases:

The Simply Living Semester, The Winternship, and The Wanderlust Semester.

Sept. 1, 2021-April 27, 2022
Combine a fall of local adventure and community in Colorado with a chance to travel independently in the winter, + a spring traveling together to Guatemala. The result is an educated and inspired understanding of one’s impact in the world.

Half Gap, Fall 2021

Grow greens, climb mountains, create community:

Be part of the first semester of our full gap year program.

Sept 1– Nov 10, 2021
The full homesteading experience combined with a rich mix of play and adventure in the Rocky Mountains. This semester will shape your values and character while you develop skills that help build and contribute to community.

Spring Intensive

Write your heart out with a group of creatives in the Colorado Rockies:

The Writing Retreat

May 4 – June 1, 2022
Accomplish an ambitious, self-paced writing challenge in a tight-knit community. Take advantage of our daily writing workshops if you want or opportunities to take part in outdoor adventure, dance, cooking with local foods, and fitness challenges.

What past participants say about our gap year programs

Two young women talking about their gap year experience with mountains in the background.
Two young women talking about their gap year experience with mountains in the background.


Seattle, WA

My gap year at the High Desert Center was easily one of the most transformative, rich, and important experiences I’ve ever had. That year spent in the red canyons and tall mountains and juniper forests and small farms of Southwest Colorado brought me more growth, learning, joy and challenge than I ever imagined. Creating a strong, intentional community with the other participants and staff was a challenging and incredibly rewarding experience.


Atlanta, GA

I joined the program unsure of who I was or what I wanted in life, and found a community that not only accepted me, but celebrated me for everything that I am. From day one, everyone wanted to tear down their walls and be as authentically themselves as possible.  I grew emotionally, physically, and mentally.  I truly believe anybody could gain something profound from coming to the HDC.

Dev Carey, HDC director

Meet Dev Carey, director of the High Desert Center and all Gap Year programs.

Dev thrives on adventure and connection with others.  He’s had “normal” jobs like working for Sterling College, with inner city youth as a VISTA Volunteer, as a counselor at Not Back to School Camp, and as a river guide, but mostly he’s created off-the-beaten path adventures with teenagers. He has a Ph.D. in ecology and still now and then writes plant and animal guides with local youth. While working on his dissertation, he found himself being an advocate for students and families learning outside of the classroom. That advocacy turned into The Vision Program, which utilizes public funds to support over 600 students in learning however and wherever they want while still earning a diploma. Currently, he lives in funky old houses he built and shares land and meals with various folks and his family–Seraya, Huckleberry, Marian, and “adopted” teenagers.