Gap Year Programs

VISIONS Gap Year Programs supplement the traditional college experience through our core modules that focus on sustainability, land and nature connection, food production, social connection and life skills. A place-based curriculum is underscored throughout each program and participants work on service projects, experience rural farm & ranch life, connect with diverse ecosystems, and partake in fulfilling adventures.

Gap Year Programs

VISIONS Gap Year Programs supplement the traditional college experience through our core modules that focus on sustainability, land and nature connection, food production, social connection and life skills. A place-based curriculum is underscored throughout each program and participants work on service projects, experience rural farm & ranch life, connect with diverse ecosystems, and partake in fulfilling adventures.

Gap Year Programs

VISIONS Gap Year Programs supplement the traditional college experience through our core modules that focus on sustainability, land and nature connection, food production, social connection and life skills. A place-based curriculum is underscored throughout each program and participants work on service projects, experience rural farm & ranch life, connect with diverse ecosystems, and partake in fulfilling adventures.

Programs for this School Year

VISIONS offers three Gap programs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem during the fall, winter and spring seasons.

Hands-on learning takes place on Montana ranches, farms and wildlands as we discover the connections between the land, community and ourselves. A historical ranch where Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea once camped serves as our idyllic homebase. Here, on our ranch at the base of the Bridger Mountain Range, students sleep in large wall tents equipped with cots and heated by wood-burning stoves. Some curriculum and learning takes place at VISIONS’ downtown headquarters, but most is done outside, where the land and ranch becomes our workplace and classroom. Everyone helps with “camp chores” and preparing locally-sourced meals.

Programs for this School Year

VISIONS offers three Gap programs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem during the fall, winter and spring seasons.

Hands-on learning takes place on Montana ranches, farms and wildlands as we discover the connections between the land, community and ourselves. A historical ranch where Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea once camped serves as our idyllic homebase. Here, on our ranch at the base of the Bridger Mountain Range, students sleep in large wall tents equipped with cots and heated by wood-burning stoves. Some curriculum and learning takes place at VISIONS’ downtown headquarters, but most is done outside, where the land and ranch becomes our workplace and classroom. Everyone helps with “camp chores” and preparing locally-sourced meals.

Fall Roots Gap Program

SEPTEMBER 18 – NOVEMBER 13
57
DAYS
TUITION $14,350

Alpine Winter Gap Program

JANUARY 10FEBRUARY 7
28 DAYS | TUITION $6,500
+
9 DAYS WFR ADD-ON $1,800
FEBRUARY 7 FEBRUARY 15

Spring Roundup Gap Program

MARCH 1 – APRIL 26
57
DAYS
TUITION $13,900

Gap Philosophy

Grounded in community service, experiential learning and outdoor adventure.

Like all VISIONS experiences, our Gap Programs are rooted in ambitious community service projects, immersion, inclusive community-building, preservation of natural resources and adventure. In the middle ground, between the wild and the urban, participants will dig in on the frontlines to learn and to help protect ecosystems and livelihoods that are under threat.

Gap Philosophy

Grounded in community service, experiential learning and outdoor adventure.

Like all VISIONS experiences, our Gap Programs are rooted in ambitious community service projects, immersion, inclusive community-building, preservation of natural resources and adventure. In the middle ground, between the wild and the urban, participants will dig in on the frontlines to learn and to help protect ecosystems and livelihoods that are under threat.

GAP PREREQUISITES

VISIONS Gap Year Programs are for motivated, intellectually curious and adventurous people who want to do meaningful service work with like-minded peers.

Our expectation is that each participant is open to the experience and to putting the community needs ahead of their own. Gap programs are generally for participants ages 17-23 We prioritize an inclusive group dynamic, and a family feeling defines every VISIONS program. Your new friends will include fellow participants, VISIONS leaders and people of all ages from the host community. Most participants arrive with little to no related experience.

GAP MODULES

FOOD SYSTEMS & SUSTAINABILITY

PERMACULTURE: Discover ways to design landscapes that mimic patterns and relationships found in nature to yield food for community needs. Students will draft their own permaculture design and implement it on location. (Note that this is not offered on the winter program)

RANCH LIFE & REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE: Spend time working at ranches in southwestern Montana with strategies of regenerative land management. Students learn a holistic approach to regenerating soil and agroecosystems, helping to address larger climate and biodiversity issues.

FARM TO TABLE: Learn to prepare ethically sourced food while also delving into topics about the health and nutrition of animals that spend time in natural environments with no stress or confinement. Students will collectively prepare and create memorable meals together, utilizing organic and local food.

SUSTAINABLE FARMING: Connect to your food through hands-on work of harvesting vegetables for the winter, planting and tending to the soil in the spring, and growing produce in the summer. Feel empowered as farmers and gain an appreciation for the complexities of sustainable farming.

FOOD SYSTEMS & SUSTAINABILITY

PERMACULTURE: Discover ways to design landscapes that mimic patterns and relationships found in nature to yield food for community needs. Students will draft their own permaculture design and implement it on location. (Note that this is not offered on the winter program)

RANCH LIFE & REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE: Spend time working at ranches in southwestern Montana with strategies of regenerative land management. Students learn a holistic approach to regenerating soil and agroecosystems, helping to address larger climate and biodiversity issues.

FARM TO TABLE: Learn to prepare ethically sourced food while also delving into topics about the health and nutrition of animals that spend time in natural environments with no stress or confinement. Students will collectively prepare and create memorable meals together, utilizing organic and local food.

SUSTAINABLE FARMING: Connect to your food through hands-on work of harvesting vegetables for the winter, planting and tending to the soil in the spring, and growing produce in the summer. Feel empowered as farmers and gain an appreciation for the complexities of sustainable farming.

LAND & NATURE CONNECTION

WILDLIFE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY: Travel to Jack Creek, a 4500-acre preserve near Big Sky Ski Resort. The preserve is an important migratory corridor for wildlife habitat from Yellowstone National Park to the Madison Mountain Range. A biologist will share her expertise about animal biodiversity, current conservation efforts to monitor predator populations, human interaction, disease and adaptation, as well as federal policies and possible roadblocks to sustainability.

LAND STEWARDSHIP AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: Meet with ranchers, activists and locals to learn about the North American model of Wildlife Conservation. Students will also converse with landowners to learn more about their role in stewarding the land and how their decision making impacts public resources.

HOMESTEADING: Partake in homesteading projects that connect the dots from wilderness survival to sustainable living in the modern world. Students will become proficient in the stages of hunter-gatherer, homesteader, caretaker and ecopreneur.

BACKCOUNTRY TRAVEL: Journey by foot or skis (dependent upon the season) in the awe-inspiring mountain ranges of the Gallatin Valley. Learn skills to be comfortable in an alpine setting, develop a love for the outdoors and gain an understanding of leave no trace outdoor ethics.

SOCIAL CONNECTION

COMMUNITY BUILDING: Live with a group of students on a historical ranch ten minutes from downtown Bozeman, Montana. Students will live, work and cook together, experiencing the rhythms of life that yield a connection to self, each other and the natural world. Explore the dimensions of social capital theory and make lifelong friendships. Leadership, communication, collaboration and community building will be woven naturally into the entire program.

STORYTELLING, FILM & CREATIVE WRITING: Learn the methods and techniques of storytelling through film, photography and writing. Guest speakers from the film and photography industry will discuss their processes and provide mentorship as students embark on their own capstone projects. Creative juices during the program will also include plenty of music sessions around the campfire with students who opt to bring instruments.

COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS: Participate in volunteer projects including packaging food for individuals and families in need, helping a local nonprofit that serves Native American reservations and harvesting carrots for the Food Bank.

SOCIAL CONNECTION

COMMUNITY BUILDING: Live with a group of students on a historical ranch ten minutes from downtown Bozeman, Montana. Students will live, work and cook together, experiencing the rhythms of life that yield a connection to self, each other and the natural world. Explore the dimensions of social capital theory and make lifelong friendships. Leadership, communication, collaboration and community building will be woven naturally into the entire program.

STORYTELLING, FILM & CREATIVE WRITING: Learn the methods and techniques of storytelling through film, photography and writing. Guest speakers from the film and photography industry will discuss their processes and provide mentorship as students embark on their own capstone projects. Creative juices during the program will also include plenty of music sessions around the campfire with students who opt to bring instruments.

COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS: Participate in volunteer projects including packaging food for individuals and families in need, helping a local nonprofit that serves Native American reservations and harvesting carrots for the Food Bank.

LIFE SKILLS & ADVENTURE

MINDFULNESS: Partake in classes with Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute; SIYLI (an organization that works with Google and the United Nations) to develop mindfulness, emotional intelligence and leadership skills.

PROFESSIONAL INQUIRY: Learn essential and pragmatic hands-on life skills in addition to discovering topics and professions of interest including basic carpentry, ranching, farming, wildlife biology, the snowsports industry, education and medicine.

WFR COURSE: Partake in a 72-hour Wilderness First Responder course to learn about wilderness medicine, risk management and responding to emergencies. Students will become WFR and CPR certified and this is a great course for anyone interested in exploring medicine, guiding or education.

JUNIOR INSTRUCTOR SKI PROGRAM: Interested in learning the skills to teach skiing or snowboarding? Students will participate in the Junior Instructor Program, sponsored by the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI). Learn what is like to work as an instructor, even if you have no prior experience. Completing this nationally-recognized certificate program provides a solid foundation of skills to help you work in the snowsports industry. (Note this is for winter programs only)

AVALANCHE EDUCATION: Students will take a three day avalanche course for skiers and snowboarders looking to gain skills for safe bacounty terrain and travel. The Level 1 Avalanche Course follows national guidelines set by the American Avalanche Association (AAA), and students will receive a certificate upon completion. (Note this is for winter programs only)