ELEVATE Gap Program at Estes Park Center

Apply For Elevate


Applications for the Elevate Gap Program are now open! Program fee waived for the Spring 2022 Program.

Take a Gap Semester in the mountains! Opportunity for adventure and work experience next to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Elevate Program at YMCA of the Rockies provides young people (age 18 - 22 years old) with a variety of experiences designed to enjoy the outdoors while gaining work and life skills. The three components of this program are outdoor adventure, employment in the hospitality industry (rotating through departments in our resort), and meaningful community service. Some of the outdoor adventures include daily access to Rocky Mountain National Park for hiking and exploration, two week-long trips to 1. Yellowstone National Park and 2. Canyon Lands, Arches, Dead Horse, and Moab, Utah. Indoor and outdoor skydiving will also be offered. This is a great opportunity for those looking to live the mountain dream while gaining a greater skillset and lifelong friends along the way. (The destination of the trips may be subject to change to comparable locations.)

Apply For Elevate

Meet some of our team members.

  • Customer Testimonails

    ELEVATE has given me more life and work experience, to try things out and see what I like. The people and mentors are the best part in helping me explore what I want to do.

    Claire, ELEVATE New Jersey
  • Customer Testimonails

    Being forced out of my comfort zone has helped me learn about myself and others. I have loved every minute of it.

    Will, ELEVATE Illinois
  • Customer Testimonails

    By the end of the first week, we all felt like family. I have been able to adapt and thrive in a new environment. It’s hard to find one word that encompasses it all.

    Gustavo, ELEVATE Florida

Ready to start the ELEVATE application process?

That’s great! Learn more about our application process today.

Where is the ELEVATE program located?
The Elevate program takes place at YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center (EPC), which sits at an elevation of 8,000 feet, is located on over 860 acres and surrounded by the natural splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park. With over 217 family cabins and 9 lodge buildings, the Estes Park Center is a premier family getaway and conference center. We are located in a deep valley surrounded by soaring mountains, including Long’s Peak. Downtown Estes Park is about 10 minutes away via car, and Boulder is an hour away. If you prefer a slightly shorter, milder winter and want to be on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park—home of endless wilderness, outstanding fly fishing, and some of the best hiking/rock-climbing in the world—but closer to a bigger town, this is the place for you.
How does the ELEVATE Gap Year program work?
The Elevate program provides a variety of experiences designed to build confidence and develop life skills. The components of the program are:
  • Seasonal employment experiences in the hospitality industry (rotating through Food Service and Housekeeping)
  • Meaningful community service opportunities
  • Recreational opportunities (both scheduled and informal) to explore our beautiful natural setting and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park
  • A week-long service trip to allow for deeper personal reflection and relationship building with other participants
  • Regularly-scheduled small-group workshops and training sessions on topics of interest
  • Opportunities to continue working at YMCA of the Rockies for up to 4 additional months as seasonal, or pursue a full-time opening with us
Elevate is group-focused and will develop a close-knit community among participants and leaders. Participants will meet regularly and will develop bonds of friendship and fellowship.
What are the program dates & fees?
ELEVATE is offered in two independent four-month semesters, in the fall and spring.
  • Fall Semester: August through December (opportunity to extend 4 months)
  • Spring Semester: February – June (opportunity to extend 4 months.)
Participants that successfully complete our program will be eligible to stay on as YMCA employees for up to 4 additional months.
The program fee is $250.00.
$50.00 of this fee is payable at the time of application. The program fee helps to defray the costs of training sessions, activity fees, and other expenses.
What else is included as part of this program?
Enrollment in ELEVATE provides housing (in staff dormitory, with two people per room) and three meals a day in our staff dining hall. Additional employee perks include access to our facilities, including a pool and gymnasium (without weight equip.), as well as access to amazing hiking/snowshoeing/mountain biking trails.
What can I expect to gain?
As a graduate of the Elevate program, you will emerge with greater self-confidence, self-awareness and a sense of purpose. You will learn time management skills and the responsibility that comes from having a job. Through meaningful service, you’ll give back to others. Through an employment experience in a mission-based, not-for-profit organization you will gain an understanding as to how your work positively impacts our guests. Through both structured and free-time opportunities to enjoy the multitude of recreational activities available in our stunning location, a greater appreciation of the outdoors and the Rocky Mountains will be gained.
Our goal is to better prepare you to face upcoming challenges such as starting/finishing college, applying for/engaging in employment opportunities and living independently. There are also a variety of training and certification opportunities (which may include CPR, WFA, etc.). You’ll live and learn as part of an intentional community within our YMCA center.
How do I apply for ELEVATE?
Click “Apply Now” below, or search our current opportunities for “Elevate” and complete the online application. Please include the contact information for 3 references (2 professional and 1 family reference). Upon receipt of your application, we will request your $50 application fee. If you need assistance with your application, please contact Anna Curry at acurry@ymcarockies.org or 970-586-3341 ext. 1013.
Do I get paid as a participant of ELEVATE?
Yes! As an Elevate participant, you receive our seasonal compensation package. You will be working in a seasonal, hourly position, paying $12.32/hour (based on 32 hours/week), with employee perks including:
  • Room (housing in a dormitory style building includes internet access, heat, water, electric and no bills!)
  • Board (3 buffet style meals, 7 days per week)
  • Access to the YMCA of the Rockies facilities, which include: an indoor pool, basketball gymnasium, fitness classes, hiking/biking/skiing trails, climbing wall, library, and Craft and Design Center
  • Free passes for skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and golf, as well as free gear rentals (dependent on season and resort – limited number available, first come first served basis)
  • Employee programming, including free or discounted staff trips, provided by the Residence Office
  • Discounted nights at YMCA of the Rockies lodges (with some date restrictions based on season/occupancy)
What else do I need to know?
Drug & Alcohol Policy—In accordance with our healthy spirit/mind/body mission, we have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol or drugs on property. If you want to use marijuana, don’t apply for the Elevate program.
Pet Policy—Though we would love to welcome your pets, unfortunately we cannot allow animals of any kind, with the exception of certified service animals.
Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact Anna Curry at acurry@ymcarockies.org or 970-586-3341 ext. 1013.

Join Us

We invite you to join us in this amazing work—to develop your skills, to realize your leadership potential and to discover a career that is so much more than a job.