Built Environment / Co-living / Education & Learning / Environment / Mentorship / Sustainability

High Desert Center Gap Year


High Desert Center

offers gap year programs in Colorado for young adults seeking adventure, leadership skills, community, and a sense of purpose.


A year of adventure, community and leadership skills.  In the fall you will harvest and cook local foods, backpack and adventure, dance, build and practice leadership skills.  The winter consists of a self-designed challenged followed by 8 weeks immersed in the Spanish language and Guatemala.  In the Spring we return to Paonia and engage in an alternative building project between outdoor adventures in canyon country.

The program costs $7500 for the entire year plus the cost of round trip airfare between Denver and Guatemala.

The program fee includes all food, housing, transportation and activities while the group is together but does not include transportation to and from Paonia and Guatemala and optional spending money for personal purchases or activities.  You will need a passport and to provide your own health insurance.


    • Length: One year from September to May
    • Apply: Rolling basis

Spud’s Thoughts:

My go-to source of info when it comes to self-directed learning and gap year programs is Blake Boles, who is the one that shared this program with me. If you have specific questions about programs like this one, you should definitely reach out to Blake who would be more than happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction.