Explore the roads less traveled in Colorado! Examine the complex interplay of public, private, and nonprofit contributions to conservation in the Centennial State. From skiing to farming, and hunting to hiking, you'll leave the program with a broadened understanding of what it means to be a conservationist in the west. Join for the fall or spring semester!

What to Expect

What does it mean to be a conservationist in the west? Explore Colorado with other students in your pod. Meet environmental activists, land managers, and local officials who play a part in protecting the environment in the Centennial State. Dive deep into the ethics and practice of conservationism from permaculture to wolf reintroduction. Take part in outdoor activities like fly fishing, snowshoeing, hiking, and soak up the natural beauty around you while rafting.

 

What to Expect

  • Pod of 17 students (maximum)
  • 9-week session
  • Communal living while traveling around Colorado
  • Robust health and safety protocols

 

What You’ll GET

  • Support local conservation initiatives
  • Network with activists, local officials, and other actors who contribute to Colorado’s environmental protection efforts
  • Mentorship through coaching, supervision, and support
  • Earn 120 service hours

 

What You’ll Need

  • Age: 17–22 (high school graduate)
  • Interest in the environment and community service
  • Legal residency in the U.S.
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About the Program

8 WEEKS

Session Dates

September 8–November 5, 2021
March 14–May 11, 2022

 

How to Apply

Start your application here!

The deadline to apply is: July 15, 2021

 

Fees and Financial Assistance

$15,995
Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply is May 15th.

 

What’s Included

All expenses in Colorado are covered, including:

-Accommodation, including excursions
-Three meals per day
-Private group transportation throughout the entire program
-Medical supplies like hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning products
-Entrance fees at sites we visit
-24/7 On-Call Safety System

Itinerary (tentative)

Itinerary subject to change based on weather, local health restrictions, and other factors.

The Nature Place, Florissant

Get to know the other members of your cohort! Explore The Nature Place through activities run by AMIGOS and local staff. Reach new heights at the high ropes course! Depart after breakfast, travel to Leadville. Introduction to conservation in Colorado.

 

Leadville

Try out skiing in the Rocky Mountains! Prefer flat ground to the slopes? Go snowshoeing!

Wildlife

Volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, learning about endangered species and the interplay between wildlife management, protected spaces, and agriculture. Perfect your casting skills as you fly fish in sparkling waters. Experience the surreal beauty of Great Sand Dunes National Park.

 

San Luis Valley

Food

How much do you know about the principles of permaculture? Learn how cultivation can support ecosystem regeneration and how to grow food more sustainably. Explore how ranchland is managed in this part of the state.

 

 

Salida/Gunnison

Water

Take in the sights around you while rafting on the Arkansas River. Take in the majestic beauty of the high peaks of the Rockies surrounding you. You’ve heard of the Grand Canyon, but what about the Black Canyon? Rock, water, and sky meet at this sweeping sight in Gunnison National Park, home to some of the steepest cliffs in North America.

 

Durango

Land

Support local environmentalists dedicated to maintaining walking and hiking trails near Durango, Colorado. Explore the history of the Pueblo people in Mesa Verde National Park.

 

Denver

Debriefing & Public Policy

Put your knowledge into context by examining the past and present policies that shape conservation in the west.

From Wolves to Rivers: How the West Will Stay Wild

The need for change may be simple, but actually creating change can be complex. This program offers a learning, living lab to observe the principles of interdependence and coexistence through an in-person exploration of conservationism and environmental justice. You’ll witness firsthand how leadership, collaboration, and partnership are critical for the protection of wilderness in the American West. 

 

 

Questions?

Join an online info session!

RSVP Here
Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Gap Semester: Colorado 8 weeks

Training in Florissant upon arrival

Fall: September 8–November 5, 2021
Spring: March 14–May 11, 2022

17–22 July 15

$15,995

Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply for financial assistance is May 15.

  • Gap Semester: Colorado
  • Length
    8 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Training in Florissant upon arrival

  • In-Country Dates

    Fall: September 8–November 5, 2021
    Spring: March 14–May 11, 2022

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    July 15
  • Price

    $15,995

    Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply for financial assistance is May 15.

FAQ

Is this a backpacking or back country trip?

No. We will be staying for 90% of the time in lodging such as hostels or cabins. AMIGOS is the expert in creating youth leaders dedicated to catalyzing positive change. Our volunteers and staff will utilize our key pillars of leadership, service, and cultural humility to spend nine weeks in a pod model exploring conservation themes in Colorado. Students will also do service work to support the efforts of local organizations.

 

How is the program staffed and what is the ratio of staff to students?

The program will be led by a Project Director assisted by a Project Coordinator and Health & Wellness Coordinator. The number of students in the pod is 15–17 so the ratio will be close to 1 to 5.

 

What are some of the activities I might take part in?

Rafting on the Arkansas River
Visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Volunteer on a permaculture farm
Visit a ranch
Volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary
Fly fish
Visit Great Sand Dunes National Park
Skiing in the Rocky Mountains
Snowshoeing
High Ropes Activities
Trail restoration
Visit Mesa Verde National Park

 

What will I learn from the program curriculum?

Through guided conversation, guest speakers and reflections, key questions will be addressed throughout the program, including:

Who are the different constituencies and leaders in this regional landscape?

What are the benefits and risks of creating change versus supporting traditional stewardship roles?

What cultural biases are in place around environmental justice?

Whose voice are included/elevated and whose are excluded/devalued?

What histories need to be learned and respected in order to create partnerships?

What elements are helping to create broader networks of partnership? What elements are creating blockages to partnerships?

 

Do I have to be enrolled in college to participate?

No, you do not need to be enrolled in college or planning on enrolling in college to join. This program is open to all students ages 17–22 who have graduated high school, regardless of college plans. You should have an interest in environmental and social issues in the Americas and a commitment to your community.

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“The things you will learn and experience and the relationships you will build will remain with you through the rest of your life.”

—Emma, AMIGOS Gap Volunteer

Program Requirements
  • Age: 17–22 and high school graduate
  • Interest in the environment and community service
  • Legal resident of the U.S.
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