Hi Everyone! My name is Margaret. I am an AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) member in Class 14 at the Central Region Campus in Denver, CO. I am 20 and I am originally from Illinois. Before joining AmeriCorps I was a full-time student pursuing a Social Work degree. After three semesters, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I felt like I wanted to do something hands on. I have always been a busy person and in college I was a full-time student, actively involved in several clubs, and I was a nanny. I loved everything I was doing but I wanted to take a break from spreading myself thin and put my time and effort into one thing. I was looking to do a few months of service in the summer and then continue going to school but when I found AmeriCorps I knew it was a perfect fit for me!
I recently read an article published in the Denver Post titled, Attention College Bound Seniors, by Ryan Brown. The author, a Duke University student, encourages high school seniors getting ready for college application process to consider a gap year before going straight to college. Ryan didn't take a gap year, but says she wishes someone would have told her it was okay to take time out between high school and college. She says, "think of the cool things you could do with a free semester, or year, like hold down a full time job, learn a language or join AmeriCorps."
Planet Gap Year creates new on-line promotional partnerships with two Denver based organizations eager to market programs to potential gap year students.
Up with People, an international youth exchange program offering multicultural education experiences, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civillian Community Corps), the residential national service program for youth age 18-24, have teamed up with Planet Gap Year. Both organizations are providing Planet Gap Year with a small group of motivated student writers who will blog during their respective gap year experiences.
I just read an article Change the World-on Dad's Time, by Judith Timson, of the Toronto Globe and Mail. The article takes a humorous poke at the upper-middle class appeal of the voluntourism industry, yet rightly points out the positive personal impact international volunteering can have in the lives of students.
According to a news release on our Gap News feed, Carpe Diem International, education specialists offering gap year programs to U.S. students, is the first U.S. Gap Year organization working closely with U.S. State Department to help students traveling overseas in November to cast their ballots.
The news release states, "the U.S. State Department reports that, 250,000 students participated in overseas programs last year. As many as 150,000 students are expected to participate in overseas programs during the 2008 Fall school term."
To support the growing ranks of U.S. students traveling on gap years before and during college,
The following story was contributed to Planet Gap Year by Holly Bull, a Gap Year Consultant and President of The Center for Interim Programs in Princeton, New Jersey. Interim is a service that enables one to pursue structured alternatives to formal education or work by matching interests with over 5,000 internships, volunteer positions, apprenticeships, cultural study programs, etc. worldwide. This "time on" can provide new direction, sharpen hazy career goals, rejuvenate those on the verge of burnout, and offer a much-needed break to students between high school and college, or in college.
I read an article on our Planet Gap Year News Feed dated July 2nd about a native Irish couple living in Marco Island, Florida. They brought their passion for golf to the U.S. by opening a golf academy in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The academy offers a 9 month gap year program for students age 17-21 to train and improve their golf game, and compete at the collegiate level.
According to the article,"Islanders Open Golf Academy", by Marco Eagle Staff, Marco Island residents Peter and Helen Donaghy, formerly of County Tyrone and Dublin in Ireland, opened the Champions Golf Academy in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in April, with former PGA Tour Player Hugh Royer, III. Read more.
Lauren Rhode is currently on a gap year between high school and starting college in fall 2008 at Princeton University. She spent the first three months of her gap year last fall in Morocco with Global Learning Across Borders (Global LAB), a non-profit that runs international immersion gap year programs. Lauren's gap year experience living with a Moroccan family and learning Arabic, working on community service projects, and traveling to Marrakesh and the Sahara desert have given her time to explore her interests and passions without being burdened by assigned curriculum . Lauren says of her gap year...
Tom Griffiths, Founder of UK based Gapyear.com, the most frequently visited on-line resource for gap year in the world, was quoted last week in an article (picked up on Planet Gap Year's news feed): College can wait awhile- 'Gap year' catches on with students who want to gain life experience after high school , by G. Jeffrey MacDonald in a special for USA Today. Here Griffiths speaks about the U.S. market.
"The U.S. is viewed in our sector as the sleeping giant, with the potential to surpass the rest of the world in numbers and possibly spending within the next five years."
A June 5th article in the Pittsburgh Gazette, titled The Gap Year: More students broaden their experience of the world, by Mackenzie Carpenter, points out what I think is a very important development for the gap year movement within the U.S.: The gap year is starting to take hold with more and more students across the socioeconomic spectrum in the United States.
There was a time when taking a year out was reserved for a select group of kids from well to do families, but that isn’t the case any longer, as affordable gap year options are becoming more prevalent, and students are working to pay for their own gap years, and finding options that pay them!