TREK Gap Program at YMCA of the Rockies

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Grow in faith. Find your calling.

TREK is a working Christian Formation gap year program designed for 18 to 24 year olds seeking personal and spiritual growth while working in a seasonal job at Snow Mountain Ranch.

Meet some of our team members.

  • Customer Testimonails

    “My favorite part about trek was when we shared our testimonials at the retreat in December. Although we had only known each other for four months, people were so raw and real in talking about some of the most intimate parts of their life. The first 18 years of my life I was surrounded by people very similar to myself, same home life and interests and life goals, and it was eye opening to see how I was in a room full of people with different upbringings and lifestyles and aspirations yet we had so much in common and yet they were some of the people I connect with the most and felt the closest too. Trek taught me a lot about loving people for how they are unique and the importance of individuality.”

    Emily, TREK Texas
  • Customer Testimonails

    You know as the time comes closer for me to leave Colorado, I can't help but look back on everything that has happened, the things I've learned and all of the amazing people I've met along the way. I won't say it's been easy, heck there were times I wanted to quit and head home. But by staying here I've grown more than I ever thought I would. But now is the time I tell y'all something, I was offered something I never thought I'd get. There is a 99% chance that this will not be the last I am in Colorado. I was asked if I would like to be a small group leader for the same program that I am in now. Helping kids my age who may have gone through or are going through the same crap I went through. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

    Tristan Hale Texas
  • Customer Testimonails

    So Happy! This morning I woke up early on my day off to go work with sled dogs…The whole time we were going, I just couldn’t stop smiling and repeating to myself, ‘I love my life. I am for sure living the dream.’ I’m just so thankful for the opportunities that are being brought into my life. God is surely doing great things for me right now! Sure, I miss my family and friends back at home, but I wouldn’t trade this adventure for the world!

    Olivia Kohnen Missouri

Ready to start the TREK application process?

That’s great! Applications are now open for the 2018/19 program. Here’s what you need to know in order to make the most of your TREK experience.

What is TREK?

Trek is an employment based, Christian Formation Gap Year experience.

What do you mean by “employment based”?
As a participant in TREK, you will also be a full-time, paid seasonal employee at Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies. You will work a 40-hour work in one of Snow Mountain Ranch’s hospitality and mission focused departments.

What is “Christian Formation”?
Christian Formation is the process of being formed into the image of Christ. It is a life-long journey of holistic transformation in Spirit, Mind and Body as one learns to live out the characteristics of Christ in their individuality and community. This is the ultimate goal of TREK; our hope is that when you leave Snow Mountain Ranch, you are closer God and more like Christ than when you arrived.

Why do you use the word “experience”?
TREK is meant to be more than a class or course, it is an experience of a variety of interrelated growth opportunities designed to stretch the participant spiritually, mentally and physically all in the context of community. Some of the things you will encounter during the TREK experience are: discussions around the basics of the Christian faith, exploring what it means to be “Christ-like,” engaging the natural environment of Colorado through outdoor adventure (hiking, climbing, camping, etc.), learning to live with others from around the U.S. and the world, working a full-time job, exploring who you are and where you come from, assessing your strengths, etc.

What distinguishes the YMCA of the Rockies TREK program from other Christian gap programs?
The Cost. Not only is the application fee ($50) lower than most, you actually have the opportunity to earn the fees back, and put money away in savings, because during your eight-month program you will be working 40 hours per week at Snow Mountain Ranch in a variety of jobs. As a result of your work you will receive room, board, and an hourly wage plus employee perks—like free skiing/snowboarding at many Colorado resorts. The program cost for the 2018-2019 program is $1200 (+$50 application fee).
What are the dates for TREK?
Applications Open October 15, 2018
All applications must be received between June 30 - July 12, 2019.
The arrival/start date for the 2019-2020 programs will be August 12, 2019.
The Graduation date will be May 5, 2020.
What is the curriculum of the TREK program?
As a student of TREK, you will come together in small group meetings that encourage accountably, safe relationships, thoughtful reflection, honest conversation and prayer, generally twice per week. In addition, you will meet weekly as a large group, guided by the chaplains. You will be expected to study and reflect on the content of provided course materials and the Bible. Spiritual disciplines will also be learned and practiced. Retreats and Colorado-based activities will also be part of your eight-month experience.
Where is the TREK program located?
TREK program participants work at Snow Mountain Ranch (SMR), our family retreat and conference center, located at 9,000 feet above sea level on 5,000 acres surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains. SMR is situated between the towns of Winter Park (20 min) and Grand Lake (30 minutes), which is the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather is usually sunny, as we’re located on a high, wide plain of rolling hills looking at the Continental Divide. In the winter, it can be cold and windy, so bring warm layers as you’ll walk a bit from building to building.
What is the housing like?
Participants live in staff dormitories with 1-3 roommates. There is a private restroom (toilet & sink) in each room, with communal shower on each floor. Furniture and linens are provided, however you are welcome to bring your favorite blanket, pillow etc. from home. Each floor also has a common area with a TV, games and space to lounge.
Employees have access to all of our amenities on property, including: indoor pool, gymnasium, indoor & outdoor rock climbing wall, horseback riding, library, craft shop, horseback riding, and over 100km of amazing trails for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing and mountain biking. For downhill ski enthusiasts, we run a daily shuttle to Winter Park Ski Resort once it opens for the season. SMR is also the home of a Sled Dog team—which our TREK staff help manage and mush!
What can participants expect to gain?
The development of a Biblical foundation for life and leadership, the development of a personal foundation for life, the development of a relational foundation for life, and the development of a practical foundation for life. You’ll develop a roadmap for your future, based on the values that guide you and skills you’ll enhance during your program. Participants will also have gainful employment for eight months, lifelong friendships with people from around the world, and mountain recreation.
How many students are part of the program?
We currently have 30 TREK students. That number may vary from year to year.
Where are TREK participants from?
TREK students come from all across the United States.
Do I get paid as a student in TREK?
YES! While there are student fees for TREK, seasonal staff and TREK participants are paid $230 a week plus room and board. The students receive three meals a day in our Commons Dining Hall. The food is a cafeteria style hot and cold buffet.
Can I bring my car with me to TREK?
Personal cars are highly encouraged to bring. It provides a greater sense of independence and most seasonal staff adjusts better to our rural mountain setting when they have their own car.
Are drugs and/or alcohol permitted?
In accordance with our healthy spirit/mind/body mission and federal law, we have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol or drugs on property; in addition, no drug use is tolerated (including marijuana) during your employment with us whether on- or off-duty. If you want to use marijuana, don’t apply for the TREK program.
Who is responsible for TREK leadership?
Steve Peterson is the chaplain and Ben Black is the associate chaplain. They can be reached at Steve: and Ben: Please contact the Gap Program Supervisor, Alyssa Villafranco, at 970-887-2152 x4119 or for questions regarding your application.
Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact Benjamin L. Black, Associate Chaplain (Phone) 970-887-2152 Ext. 4005 (Email)

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.