Explore the roads less traveled in Colorado! Examine the complex interplay of public, private, and nonprofit contribution 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.

Application deadline: February 16th! RSVP for an info session here.

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.
Start an Application

Apply Now

About the Program


Session Dates

March 18–May 15, 2021


How to Apply

January 15, 2020: Financial assistance deadline. Apply here and indicate you would like to apply for financial assistance. Once you submit your application, you will get instructions about what documentation to submit.

February 16, 2021: Final application deadline. Spots are filled on a first come, first served basis. Apply now to secure your spot.


Fees and Financial Assistance

Need-based financial assistance is available!


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.

March 18–21, 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.


March 22–27, Leadville

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


March 28–April 7


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.


April 8 – April 18, San Luis Valley


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.



April 19–April 29, Salida/Gunnison


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.


May 1–May 10, Durango


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.


May 11–15, 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. 




Join an online info session!

Length Training
Ages Application
Gap Semester: Colorado 9 weeks

Training in Florissant upon arrival

March 18–May 15, 2021

17–22 February 16, 2021


Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply for financial assistance is January 15, 2021.

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

    Training in Florissant upon arrival

  • In-Country Dates

    March 18–May 15, 2021

  • Ages
  • Application Deadline
    February 16, 2021
  • Price


    Need-based financial assistance is available! The deadline to apply for financial assistance is January 15, 2021.


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 Program Associate and Health & Safety 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
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.

Get Social With Us!

Meet Nicol, our Costa Rica Gap Country Coordinator!⠀

Originally from Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica, Nicol considers herself a change-maker, passionate about contributing to the development of rural communities while also helping to preserve their essence of traditional living.⠀

Nicol began with AMIGOS as a Project Supervisor in Chimborazo, Ecuador and in 2017 Nicol was the Project Director for the Matagalpa, Nicaragua Project. For the last two years Nicol has worked with indigenous and farming community-based organizations in Central America providing capacity building training.⠀

Nicol is also committed to social entrepreneurship and during her free time enjoys working with women entrepreneurs guiding them towards their own paths of leadership.⠀

Learn more about gap program in Costa Rica here: https://buff.ly/3okUasi

Colorado's natural resource management approach is unique in the United States. Spend three weeks in western Colorado finding out why in our new summer program - U.S.: Western Colorado!⠀

Get hands-on conservation experience in some of the country's most majestic scenery. Meet local leaders, government officials, and entrepreneurs and hear their vision for the future of Colorado's natural environment.⠀

The financial assistance deadline for summer is March 1st, so apply now at the link in our bio!⠀

#naturalresources #nature #environment #sustainability #conservation #environmentalsecurity #environmentalstudies #resourcemanagement #visitcolorado #coloradolife #colorfulcolorado #choosemountains #roamwild #hikecolorado #mindthewild #coloradogrammers #optoutside #coloradoshared #coloradoexplored

From cultivation to consumption, dive deep into food systems by learning from communities in Costa Rica with our brand new AMIGOS Summer Program - Costa Rica: Los Santos!⠀

Spend 3 weeks this summer exploring different farming practices from the mountains to the coast. Learn hands-on how international demand for Costa Rican coffee impacts local producers and communities with friends around the world!⠀

Learn more at the link in our bio!⠀

#foodjustice #socialjustice #community #foodsecurity #foodaccess #foodempowermentproject #foodequity #humanrights #farmworkers #justice #localfood #nonprofit #socialimpact #costarica #puravida #costaricacool #visitcostarica # #costaricapuravida #thisiscostarica

Get a taste of an AMIGOS program in just 90 minutes this Thursday, January 21!⠀

Register today to join an AMIGOS Design Sprint, a time-constrained collaborative activity focused on Design Thinking to come up with solutions and narrow them down to an achievable project.⠀

We'll spend 90 minutes in a fast paced, collaborative, all hands-on deck experience where bad ideas don't exist. Experience a piece of an AMIGOS program by signing up at the link in our bio.

New info sessions just dropped! Come meet our team and find out how we're running our programs in Latin America and the U.S. this summer.⠀

RSVP at the link in our bio!

Apply today! The deadline to apply for the Gap Semester in Costa Rica and the Civic Action Gap Semester is tonight at midnight PST.⠀

Submit your application at the link in bio.

Tomorrow, January 15th, is the deadline to apply for the spring Gap Semester in Costa Rica and the Civic Action Gap Semester! Start your application now at the link in our bio. ...

Did you know that Nicaragua is home to 19 volcanoes? On our brand new summer project- Nicaragua: Nueva Segovia & Leon- you'll learn first-hand about how geothermal energy from the country's active volcanoes helps power the country.⠀

See the world from the distinct perspective of someone who has spent time in that country and learned about the culture firsthand by joining us this summer.⠀

Learn more at the link in our bio!