Former students report that the second semester is where the most transformational learning happens. A full year gives us the time to make best friends, to move through the superficial, acknowledge the challenges, find the inspiration, and become who we want to be. A full year also allows us to know a place in depth, to make it home, and to find a way to meaningfully contribute.
Our personalized approach results in a sense of family and profound personal growth. We believe in choice. We push the limits with adventure while maintaining a strong record of safety. Our participants find community, connection and a second home in Paonia, and they grow a sense of belonging and connection the the larger world.
Colorado, Mexico, and the South-West
Sept 11, 2019 to May 21, 2020
$7,750 for a year of adventure, travel, room, board and learning.
This semester is about challenge and new experience in rural Western Colorado. You’ll be climbing mountains, canning peaches and making bread, biking to town, meeting people who inspire you, getting purposefully lost and finding your way home, and living the simple, good life. In the process you will learn the skills of self-sufficiency, community and quality living. You’ll have backpacked in mountains and canyons, made a slew of new friends, and have a list of new practical things that you know how to do.
Between semesters, from mid November to mid-February, Gap Year participants will execute a self-design initiative. The options are endless. You can arrange independent apprenticeships, travel, work or adventures either near your home, in Paonia or elsewhere. During the fall semester we will support you to develop a meaningful project, and we provide weekly support during this phase of the year. Previous Gap Year students have arranged:
We meet up in late February, share our wintership adventures and travel south, down the Colorado River to Mexico. We’ll meet Mexican scientists and lettuce pickers, immerse ourself in border issues, and see first hand how we are connected to the people of Sonora not only by a river and water issues but also by trade, food, migratory fish and birds, politics and the human experience. We will then slowly make our way north through iconic western settings and see canyons, ancestral ruins, and road runners. We’ll hike and backpack. We’ll peer over the Grand Canyon and find remote spots where nobody goes to experience the full, nitty gritty essence of The West.
After eight weeks on the road, returning to Paonia will feel like coming home. For the final four weeks, we up your leadership skills to a new level. Now instead of following on adventures, you’ll be leading them. Students will run the program, plan the adventures and the meals, and make it happen.
When we ask our students why they chose us, many say words like “community,” “philosophy” or “strong recommendations.” Another thing we commonly hear is that our programs are relatively affordable.