Montana Roots Gap Program

8 Weeks

Ages 17 to 23
Sustainability, Fall Harvests & Wilderness Medicine

MONTANA ROOTS GAP PROGRAM
SEPTEMBER 18 to NOVEMBER 13
TUITION $14,350
Suggested for ages 17-23
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Late Start Date Option: Sept 25th
Call to Inquire

MONTANA ROOTS GAP SEMESTER
SEPT. 18 to NOV. 13
TUITION $14,350
Suggested for ages 17-23
_______________
Late Start Date Option: Sept 25
Call to Inquire

Gap Program Overview

Immerse in the Rocky Mountain way of life and connect to the land in hands-on ways that are invigorating and fun. Work with innovative land owners and conservationists, wilderness guides and storytellers. Get your hands dirty helping with harvest season at vibrant farms that are top producers for the Bozeman community and beyond. Build a kit of skills and certifications, including Wilderness First Responder. Learn how global issues such as climate change interconnect with rural life, and challenge yourself to be part of creating practical solutions alongside your new friends and program leaders. VISIONS Gap Program provides a “Big Sky” view of this modern era and some natural, creative solutions for living in harmony with ourselves, each other and the natural world.

Call to learn more: 406.551.4423 (open weekends & evenings)

FAQ

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love.”

John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Embracing Projects That Matter

Projects for the Montana Roots Gap program focus on sustainable agriculture as well as the preservation of natural resources. Volunteer with farmers, ranchers and environmental organizations to work the land, renovate historic barns, and harvest fall crops. In the middle ground, between the wild and the urban, worksites are where you dig in on the frontlines of local food production and help protect ecosystems and livelihoods that are under threat.

In the process of working on local service projects during the first couple weeks of the program, a place-based curriculum is underscored. Experience local culture and connect with some of the most diverse ecosystems in the contiguous United States.

FOOD SYSTEMS & SUSTAINABILITY 

PERMACULTURE: Learn 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. 

RANCH LIFE & REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE: Spend time at a working ranch in the Paradise Valley. Barney Creek raises cattle with a strategy of regenerative land management. Students will move cows and 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 throughout the program, including elk and bison. The program has an abundance of options for vegans and vegetarians, 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 with options to incorporate wild game and grass-fed beef and bison.    

SUSTAINABLE FARMING: Connect to your food through hands-on work of harvesting fall root vegetables at neighboring Gallatin Valley Botanical Farm. Feel empowered as farmers and gain an appreciation for the complexities of sustainable farming.
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LAND & NATURE CONNECTION

WILDLIFE BIOLOGY & 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 & 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: Travel to Pony, Montana, to sleep in an earth lodge and partake in an immersion program that connects 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 ADVENTURE: Journey by foot on a backcountry hike in the awe-inspiring Gallatin Mountain Range during the fall foliage. 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.
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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.
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LIFE SKILLS 

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, 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. 

 

We are Home

Connect to nature and learn about life in the Mountain West

Making Meaningful Connections

This fall, the great outdoors, worksites, and farms and ranches of the Greater Yellow Ecosystem will serve as our classroom. Much of your time will be on an 80 acre historical homestead at the base of the Bridger Mountain range where Lewis and Clark once stayed. Less than ten minutes from downtown Bozeman, we will create a cozy “tent town” for the first couple weeks of the program in order to simplify COVID protocols, ensure health and minimize mask-wearing. You will be provided with your own tent and thick mattress, and all tents will be clustered together. Our kitchen is an outdoor canvas tent with a full cooking setup. We have outdoor port-o-pots and a “glamping” (glamorous camping) structure with hot water showers. Once the weather cools and we’ve passed the “COVID-clear” date, you will have the option of moving from your individual tent to group canvas wall tents that are equipped with cots and wood burning stoves. We will also utilize the VISIONS office for educational and curriculum components.

We will eat from local food sources including produce harvested from neighboring farms, edible plants foraged from the wilderness, and organic meat from grass fed beef and wild game. Everyone will be involved in preparing meals and participants will learn along the way about utilizing local and natural ingredients and resources.

Please note that this is not an extreme wilderness program and is accessible to everyone who enjoys spending time in nature without pressure.

SETTING OUT TO GO BEYOND

Prepare to immerse yourself in an unforgettable Western landscape including vast ranch lands, mountain peaks, high alpine lakes, wild rivers and open prairies.

I AM READY FOR MONTANA GAP…

  • I AM BRAVE
  • I WANT TO LIVE SUSTAINABLY
  • I AM READY TO GO BEYOND MY COMFORT ZONE
  • I WANT TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE WORLD
  • I WANT A FULFILLING LIFE
  • I AM READY TO BE CREATIVE
  • I WANT TO TO BE ACCEPTED FOR WHO I AM
  • I AM AN EXPLORER
  • I AM RESILIENT
  • I BELIEVE IN SOCIAL JUSTICE
  • I WANT TO SPEND TIME IN NATURE
  • I WANT TO MAKE LIFELONG FRIENDS
  • I AM READY TO GET OFFLINE
  • I WANT TO LAUGH AND HAVE FUN
FAQ

COVID-19 Notes

COVID-19 Notes

VISIONS regularly follows updates and guidelines set by the CDC, American Camp Association, and State of Montana. We have successfully run two summer programs using our COVID protocols, and will continue to enforce these standards in order to mitigate risks for participants, leaders and the community. Please read more on the FAQ page, here. Note: Information specific to the Montana Gap program supersedes VISIONS other promotional materials and web pages. For example, our general FAQ page provides details about our traditional living situations, which have been altered in order to follow health guidelines.

Gap Program 2020 Refund Policy

  • A $3500 deposit is due at the time of registration in order to hold your space in the program. The remaining balance is due 15 days prior to the program start date.
  • If you decide to cancel for any reason, 50% of your paid tuition will be refundable until three weeks prior to the program start date. Within three weeks of the program start date, tuition is non-refundable. We recommend purchasing trip cancellation insurance if you have concerns about canceling (read more on this page).
  • If VISIONS must cancel for any reason, we will refund all program fees, though less an $800 nonrefundable operational fee, which we must keep in order to help cover the expenses of planning the program.

Celebrating 30 Years