What is a Gap Year?
What is a Gap Year?
This is a question we get asked a lot here at SOAR. A gap year is generally a year or more that young adults take between high school and college or choosing a career. Like the Tweet from Adam Kotsko so elegantly points out, we live in a day where structure and order for kids is handed to them. So often those kids do not learn to create their own structure and order. Essential life skills can be overlooked, such as cooking dinner, or making sure you have enough toilet paper for the bathroom when you get home.
A gap year gives young adults time to think before making the next step, whether it’s college or moving into the work place. Because we do ask 18 year olds to make huge decisions about their career and financial future. While some young adults may be ready for the transition and fully prepared, we are finding that more and more are not. This can create difficulty in those early stages of adulthood and can result in poor decisions based on lack of experience and feeling overwhelmed.
Being 26 now, and looking back to my own early adulthood, I don’t know if we had a term for it back then, but I also took a gap year. I went back and stayed with my mom while I figured out what I was going to do. That extra time and space helped me get my act together and my plan organized. I decided that I would go to school for business, and have since etched out a decent living and have a 4 year old daughter of my own. I’m not sure I would have been as successful in dealing with the amount of responsibility and effort that it takes to be an adult if I had not taken that year off.
However, if I had been 18 and had an opportunity to go to SOAR’s GAP Year Program, I would have jumped at it. I would even love to take it today, because how better to spend a year off than being with like-minded people in a beautiful place?
Why is “GAP” capitalized, you ask? It stands for Gateway Adventure Program. SOAR offers a program for young adults with AD/HD and Learning Disabilities that is specialized and individuated around their needs for growth. That can include help with cooking skills, self confidence, or simply learning how to structure your time. It is an outdoors adventure based program based in beautiful Dubois, Wyoming, a short drive from incredible national parks including Yellowstone, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain, Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon as well as of course, the Grand Canyon.
The camaraderie and fellowship is something to that will be remembered forever, and the adventurers often stay in contact into adulthood in support of each other’s lives. It’s truly a remarkable experience and a great way to begin as a young adult.
To find out more about SOAR’s GAP Year, visit https://soarnc.org/gap-year/ – See you this fall!