Sanborn Gap Semester

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We are excited to introduce our newest program: the Sanborn Gap Semester. The Sanborn Gap Semester provides the active, supportive, and healthy learning community that our college-aged students need right now. By building relationships, participating in engaging and challenging ideas and activities, the Sanborn Gap Semester helps participants navigate the current social, emotional and global health challenges, and provides them with the skills and tools to discover their strengths and possibilities.

Imagine sitting by the fireplace in a mountain lodge, snow lightly falling outside, learning from COEC’s year-round staff, visiting guest speakers and your new, life-long friends. Now imagine climbing red sandstone in Utah, picking a campsite among the yucca as the sun sets in New Mexico, mountain biking between rocky monoliths, or digging a snow pit to analyze the snowpack in the mountains around camp. Can you see yourself or someone you know as part of this picture? We can, too, so apply today!

Welcome to The Sanborn Gap Semester

The Sanborn Gap Semester is a two-month, experiential learning semester that expands upon the classic Sanborn Western Camps and Colorado Outdoor Education Center adventures. It is designed for anyone ages 18-25+ who is ready for an intentional experience focusing on empowerment, skill development and personal growth in the outdoors. In this time of social isolation and variable academic modalities, the Sanborn Gap Semester offers a chance to connect with others and to build resilience in a powerful, supportive community.

What IS a Gap Program?

According to the Gap Year Association, quality gap programs:

  • Provide clarity and purpose: the student will have a better grasp on what they want to study and why;
  • Improve earning and business potential: deepen communication and interpersonal skills through challenging experiences with “real world” applications;
  • Improve academic outcomes: such as GPA, time-to-graduation, and leadership

The Sanborn Gap Semester provides these outcomes and far more by creating a unique, experiential learning and growth community. Our program emphasizes personal responsibility, problem solving, collaboration and competency development through four different expeditionary learning modules in the American Southwest and through on-campus living and learning opportunities in Florissant, Colorado.

Experiential & Meaningful

When on-site, Sanborn Gap Semester participants live in cozy cabins with internet access and share meals and community living responsibilities.

On-site experiences include:

  • Earning certifications (Wilderness First Responder, Mental Health First Aid, Level 1 Avalanche Training, etc.)
  • Learning from engaging speakers, including professors and professionals with a variety of backgrounds and careers
  • Preparing for their Capstone Experience with knowledge acquisition, independent planning and real-time application

When off-site, we’ll travel throughout the American Southwest for four expeditions:

  • Rock climbing
  • Mountain biking and bike packing
  • Backpacking
  • Ski touring

Throughout our adventures and back at High Trails, participants will learn the natural and human history of each environment we explore and our place in it. Participants in the Sanborn Gap program will spend extensive time challenging themselves, and each other, in a strong community setting that emphasizes the development of healthy and productive communication, resilience and conflict resolution skills.

Who Is Our Ideal Applicant?

There is no specific “ideal” applicant for our program, but many applicants will be those who are:

  • Active and motivated to explore and try new activities
  • New or experienced outdoor enthusiasts
  • Seeking community, connection and social interaction
  • Experiential learners: they love learning by doing
  • A minimum age of 18 years old

The well-being of all participants relies on individuals’ ability to:

  • Adapt personal routines of daily self-care to the program environment, including medical needs
  • Be comfortable with limited connection to home and outside world for extended periods
  • Advocate for one’s medical, mental, emotional, and social needs
  • Practice effective communication with instructors and peers

If you know someone who may be interested in this program, or are connected to other individuals who are currently working with this age group, please feel free to share this blog post and/or our website link with them.

Our first session will run from January 17, 2021 until March 24, 2021. Enrollment will be limited to 12 participants. Program tuition: $13,500.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email or phone–we look forward to helping you or someone you know “discover your outdoor self.”

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Ariella Rogge
About Ariella Rogge

Ariella started her career at Sanborn when she was twelve. After five years of camper and five years of Sanborn staff experience, she continued her work with kids in the high school classroom. Ariella and her family returned to Sanborn in 2001 to take on the Program Director role which she held til 2012. She and Elizabeth Marable became co-directors of High Trails in 2013. She lists mountain golf, Gymkhana, climbing mountains and making Pad Thai in the backcountry as some of her favorite activities at camp. Ariella received a B.A. in English from Colorado College and is a certified secondary English educator,an ACCT Level 2 Ropes Course Technician, an ARC lifeguard, an AHA CPR trainer and WEMT. She lives at camp with her husband, two sons, 8 chickens, 2 salamanders, 2 hermit crabs and 1 cat.