Outdoor Education

Gap Semester Partnership with University of Wyoming

By Tom Holland July 21, 2021

View on Buckrail

An announcement from Wilderness Adventures, words by Tom Holland, Owner and Director of Wilderness Adventures: 

JACKSON, Wyo. — Gap semester programs have always been a dream of ours.

I think that dream came from my own transition to adulthood. As a high school senior my mind was spinning with all the possibilities of college. Over the next two years in school, I found myself changing my major many times as I sought to discover my passions. At that time, Gap Semesters were not a viable choice for me, but had they existed, I know I would have benefitted from the experience.

As a consequence of this ‘searching’ experience, coupled with my experience in curriculum development through my past as an educator, I sat down a few years ago and wrote a curriculum for a Gap Program at Wilderness Adventures. Dubbed the Wilderness Adventures Leadership Institute (WALI), I made some tentative itineraries to wilderness areas through the west. I chose a text to be the anchor of the program and certain books to be included in the themes that would guide the educational experience. And then I took that binder, full of notes and ideas, and put it on a shelf for a rainy day.

Well, that prolonged ‘rainy day’ occurred during the pandemic. During that downtime, the need for quality experiences for young adults presented us with the opportunity to dust off that curriculum and realize this long-time dream. WALI Gap Programs were born.

Now, as we enter our second year of offering Gap Semesters year-round, we are thrilled with our product and the trajectory of the WALI program. Not only have we had great success in our inaugural year, providing amazing educational experiences to young adults, but we have also worked diligently to find a partner to offer our participants academic credit for their hard work during their program.

Today, we are pleased to announce a partnership with the University of Wyoming to do just that.  Through the University of Wyoming’s Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, all participants in WALI Gap Programs will be eligible to receive course credit for their work. WALI programs will continue to follow the set curriculum which culminates with a capstone event and an evaluation of performance throughout their experience.

“We are thrilled to partner with Wilderness Adventures to offer course credit for WALI,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, Degree Coordinator and Associate Lecturer in the Haub School. “WALI offers a rigorous outdoor leadership curriculum that is in line with the industry’s best practices. Adding academic credit increases the value of the student experience and helps prepare them for the transition to college.”

This is a pinnacle moment for us at WA as we continue to advance the program to expand the outdoor leadership opportunities of all our participants. We are appreciative of having a great partner like the University of Wyoming to help guide our programs into the future. Most importantly, we are thrilled for all the WALI students! To learn more about course credit or any of our WALI programs, call us at 307-733-2122 or join one of our upcoming virtual open house events. Learn more at this link.