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Harriet Vane

Gap year ideas for wilderness boy who also loooooves math

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My son is at the stage where he needs to start seriously planning his gap year.

 

I am looking for links and ideas for specific gap year options. We know generally what ds likes, and now it's time to research specific ways/organizations.

 

 

We told our children they need to use their gap year to:

 

--Go somewhere.

 

--Earn money to help fund the gap year and college.

 

--Volunteer towards something they care about.

 

--Research and gain meaningful experience related to their career interests.

 

 

There are any number of ways these goals can be configured. We understand that some things will take more time and some less.

 

My daughter had an absolutely fabulous gap year. She started off with twelve weeks at a much-beloved campground as a children's camp counselor. When she came home she spent six months working full-time in retail and also did some volunteer tutoring. In the spring, she spent six weeks at a school in South Africa teaching and helping as needed with administrative tasks. The summer before she left for college was split between other volunteering and working full-time. She met the four goals above, and her time in the world gave her perspective, maturity, and overwhelmingly confirmed her desire to teach.

 

 

Ds interests:

 

--He looooooooooves being outside and roughing it in the woods. Loves gardening and land management; loves outdoor sports like canoeing, climbing, water sports, etc.

 

--Loves math passionately.

 

--He is a hard worker who dislikes a slow pace.

 

 

So--ideas? The more specific, the better. Links, organizations, etc.

 

Thanks!

Edited by Harriet Vane
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I love what your dd did for her gap year!

 

We have one who would have benefited greatly from a gap year: maturing, earning money, possibly buying a car, etc. But this child just wanted to go to school. 

 

We have another one that was ready to fly too, and did well and landed foot first. This child would probably have been discouraged "wasting" a year waiting to go to school. 

 

I love the concept of a gap year!

 

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http://www.riekes.org/

 

The above place hosts Nature Awareness classes that involve taking kids outside to learn survival and traditional indigenous nature skills and deeply experience a natural setting one full day per week, rain or shine, during the school year.  These classes are full of homeschoolers, as you might imagine, and are offered at a variety of wild nature parks.  

 

They follow the skills in "Coyote's Guide" more or less.  I wonder whether he might work there?

 

 

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What about working on a citizen science program? Ecology is a very math heavy discipline with a large outdoor component.

 

This is one example that game up from a Google search of citizen science gap year. I am sure there are more.

 

https://career.virginia.edu/blog/2016/mar/gap-year-opportunity-research-assistant-environmental-science

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I believe it was Lori D.'s son who tried Americorps, did lots of great outdoors stuff and picked up many skills. 

 

 

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What about AmeriCorps or civilian conservation Corps? He could work outdoors, wielding tools, in state and national parks I believe. And earn a scholarship for school at the same time.

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https://www.nols.edu/en/

https://www.outwardbound.org/

 

Both have great options for outdoors - NOLS is more skills focused, Outward Bound more introspection focused.  I think they both have semester and even year long programs.

 

 

Actuaries must learn interesting math to pass the exams, but most of their day is spent having the computer do the math for them, which is much more boring than he might think.  I would have him investigate being a math professor, associated fields like astrophysics, data mining, and how much money he could make in investment banking with an advanced degree in a math field or in economics.  I'm not kidding when I say I've heard of PhD's with million dollar salaries (someone I went to college with), and advanced math is at the center of it.

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My son did a semester at YMCA of the Rockies. He got a paycheck and learned great skills. The program is called Elevate and serves as Gap program. 

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https://www.nols.edu/en/

https://www.outwardbound.org/

 

Both have great options for outdoors - NOLS is more skills focused, Outward Bound more introspection focused.  I think they both have semester and even year long programs.

 

 

Actuaries must learn interesting math to pass the exams, but most of their day is spent having the computer do the math for them, which is much more boring than he might think.  I would have him investigate being a math professor, associated fields like astrophysics, data mining, and how much money he could make in investment banking with an advanced degree in a math field or in economics.  I'm not kidding when I say I've heard of PhD's with million dollar salaries (someone I went to college with), and advanced math is at the center of it.

 

An interesting perspective. Ds loves computer programming as well and is taking the Computer Science AP this year, so it may still be a fit. (I have been trying to funnel articles to ds about math careers in general, so this is in line with the evaluation/research he is doing now.)

Edited by Harriet Vane

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Sounds like a LOT of things going on for one year. I don't think it's possible to cover everything. He and/or you are going to have to focus a little, I'd think. It's only one year, and it's a very special situation. So pick one or two things and save the rest for either before or after the gap year.

 

Also, living and traveling abroad are going to be seriously limited if he's not willing to live somewhere he cannot speak the language. He doesn't have to be fluent, but learning a few phrases is really important and it's also an opportunity for personal growth.

 

All the best! 

 

If he loves the outdoors, I'd recommend Norway. Check out the Norwegian Trekking Association: https://english.dnt.no/?_ga=2.105412675.1311573011.1517695673-655807163.1517695673

Edited by wintermom
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Sounds like a LOT of things going on for one year. I don't think it's possible to cover everything. He and/or you are going to have to focus a little, I'd think. It's only one year, and it's a very special situation. So pick one or two things and save the rest for either before or after the gap year.

 

Also, living and traveling abroad are going to be seriously limited if he's not willing to live somewhere he cannot speak the language. He doesn't have to be fluent, but learning a few phrases is really important and it's also an opportunity for personal growth.

 

All the best!

 

If he loves the outdoors, I'd recommend Norway. Check out the Norwegian Trekking Association: https://english.dnt.no/?_ga=2.105412675.1311573011.1517695673-655807163.1517695673

Thanks for your thoughts. I have to admit to some confusion though.

 

My daughter’s gap year covered all four goals? So it IS doable, and she did not find it pressurizing or taxing. It was all in the course of the year.

 

For example, going to South Africa satisfied both travel and experience in a career focus. She was paid at camp, at her retail job, and a tiny amount in South Africa, so that more than satisfied the earning goal. The larger part of her work in South Africa was unpaid volunteer work, and she also did tutoring when she was home.

 

I have had a few friends also do gap years.

 

Two young men spent two semesters in engineering internships that were paid. They volunteered through their churches during that time, and they traveled for a few weeks in the summer.

 

One young woman studied Bible in France for two semesters and worked all summer at home. In France, she paid for her program by working for the school.

 

That woman’s sister spent a senester in California doing soccer coaching for innercity kids, and then she volunteered at an orphanage in Honduras. She worked the summer before she went to Cali.

 

So the four goals seem reasonable to me?

 

He does not need to spend a year of time on each goal. Rather, he needs to configure the different pieces of his year to meet those goals in whatever proportion makes sense.

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Apparently the math/investment field calls the job Quants, or Quantitative Analysts:  https://www.investopedia.com/articles/active-trading/111214/quants-what-they-do-and-how-theyve-evolved.asp

 

Wall Street Journal article re big data & topology: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323452204578288264046780392

 

Other advanced math fields article I stumbled upon: https://math.louisiana.edu/9-ways-you-didnt-realize-using-advanced-math-daily-basis

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I have no gap year advice, but if he likes math, I would encourage him to look into cryptography as an area of study.

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Thanks for your thoughts. I have to admit to some confusion though.

 

My daughter’s gap year covered all four goals? So it IS doable, and she did not find it pressurizing or taxing. It was all in the course of the year.

 

For example, going to South Africa satisfied both travel and experience in a career focus. She was paid at camp, at her retail job, and a tiny amount in South Africa, so that more than satisfied the earning goal. The larger part of her work in South Africa was unpaid volunteer work, and she also did tutoring when she was home.

 

I have had a few friends also do gap years.

 

Two young men spent two semesters in engineering internships that were paid. They volunteered through their churches during that time, and they traveled for a few weeks in the summer.

 

One young woman studied Bible in France for two semesters and worked all summer at home. In France, she paid for her program by working for the school.

 

That woman’s sister spent a senester in California doing soccer coaching for innercity kids, and then she volunteered at an orphanage in Honduras. She worked the summer before she went to Cali.

 

So the four goals seem reasonable to me?

 

He does not need to spend a year of time on each goal. Rather, he needs to configure the different pieces of his year to meet those goals in whatever proportion makes sense.

 

I guess that's where my idea of a gap year differs greatly from you and your family.  I wouldn't chop it up into little chunks of many different things. It can take so much time and energy to set up a good situation, I'd like to spend time in that place enjoying it and getting the most out of it. If you have multiple situations your dc can get set up for the single year, and it satisfies them, then great. 

 

For myself in my youth, and my dc now,  we do volunteering, interships, and paid work over the years while in high school. So when it came time to for have the "gap" time for travel, I spent the time just doing this. I know a lot of people simply travel, or travel and work. 

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I guess that's where my idea of a gap year differs greatly from you and your family.  I wouldn't chop it up into little chunks of many different things. It can take so much time and energy to set up a good situation, I'd like to spend time in that place enjoying it and getting the most out of it. If you have multiple situations your dc can get set up for the single year, and it satisfies them, then great. 

 

For myself in my youth, and my dc now,  we do volunteering, interships, and paid work over the years while in high school. So when it came time to for have the "gap" time for travel, I spent the time just doing this. I know a lot of people simply travel, or travel and work. 

 

Not trying to argue, but I do think it important to clarify so that any who offer specific ideas know that we are researching short or long term ideas.

 

My daughter's gap year was chopped up into chunks because that's how it worked out for dd. The school in South Africa extended an offer for six weeks. She was interested in more, but six weeks was what they felt they could do given certain logistics. Working as a children's camp counselor was only available as a summer job, so that's how long she did that. Those two settings offered what she wanted in multiple ways, so those set the parameters for how she organized her year. It worked out well for her.

 

A different option she considered would have been going for two semesters to France to a program her French tutor recommended. Had she done that, her year would have been configured quite differently but she would still have met the goals.

 

My son does actually do volunteering and paid work now, during high school, and he is currently gaining experience in a teaching internship in statistics. Like you, we consider all those things valuable and components of a good life, so we do those things.

 

It's great that you were able to travel exclusively in your gap. Focused travel is a dream of mine as well.

 

So, to summarize--we are interested in ideas for short-term or longer-term commitments that can cover at least some of our hoped-for goals. We are open to many creative ideas.

 

Thanks.

Edited by Harriet Vane
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Not trying to argue, but I do think it important to clarify so that any who offer specific ideas know that we are researching short or long term ideas.

 

My daughter's gap year was chopped up into chunks because that's how it worked out for dd. The school in South Africa extended an offer for six weeks. She was interested in more, but six weeks was what they felt they could do given certain logistics. Working as a children's camp counselor was only available as a summer job, so that's how long she did that. Those two settings offered what she wanted in multiple ways, so those set the parameters for how she organized her year. It worked out well for her.

 

A different option she considered would have been going for two semesters to France to a program her French tutor recommended. Had she done that, her year would have been configured quite differently but she would still have met the goals.

 

My son does actually do volunteering and paid work now, during high school, and he is currently gaining experience in a teaching internship in statistics. Like you, we consider all those things valuable and components of a good life, so we do those things.

 

It's great that you were able to travel exclusively in your gap. Focused travel is a dream of mine as well.

 

So, to summarize--we are interested in ideas for short-term or longer-term commitments that can cover at least some of our hoped-for goals. We are open to many creative ideas.

 

Thanks.

 

Got it. I'm honestly not trying to criticise your goals. I know that the time and money commitment is huge, and getting the most out of opportunities is important. 

 

My "gap year" was a year at a Folk High School in Norway, where I was able to incorporate a few of my interests and goals all in one situation. It also resulted in my getting a job as a teacher at a different Folk High School in Norway.  I did my this year after my undergrad at university, so I was at a stage in my life where I had the qualifications to move on into a teaching career. I was an outdoor education and aquatics teacher. That is where I gained a lot of experience in year-round camping and trekking in Norway. It's a fantastic country for outdoor life. 

 

My 17 year old dd and I are looking into "gap year" type things. We'd looked at the Rotary Club, Lion's Club, and Folk High schools in Norway and Denmark. Denmark has a lot of short-term options. 

 

Is there anything within the international scouting associations that might work for your ds's interest in outdoor adventures that he hasn't already done? 

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Got it. I'm honestly not trying to criticise your goals. I know that the time and money commitment is huge, and getting the most out of opportunities is important. 

 

My "gap year" was a year at a Folk High School in Norway, where I was able to incorporate a few of my interests and goals all in one situation. It also resulted in my getting a job as a teacher at a different Folk High School in Norway.  I did my this year after my undergrad at university, so I was at a stage in my life where I had the qualifications to move on into a teaching career. I was an outdoor education and aquatics teacher. That is where I gained a lot of experience in year-round camping and trekking in Norway. It's a fantastic country for outdoor life. 

 

My 17 year old dd and I are looking into "gap year" type things. We'd looked at the Rotary Club, Lion's Club, and Folk High schools in Norway and Denmark. Denmark has a lot of short-term options. 

 

Is there anything within the international scouting associations that might work for your ds's interest in outdoor adventures that he hasn't already done? 

 

Your time in Norway sounds magical!!! And it's easy to see that it served you well in more ways than one.  Thanks for sharing. :)

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I just saw an ad that our local DNR was hiring conservation workers. That would certainly give him the outdoors and hard work aspect.

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When I was a teen I attended a 7-week session with the Student Conservation Association. Our leader I think was taking a gap year. Looking at the web site those are now 21+, but they've also added some programs for younger adults:

 

https://www.thesca.org/serve/young-adult-programs

 

https://www.thesca.org/serve/program/gap-year

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