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
Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies. You will work a 40-hour work in one of Snow Mountain Ranch’s
and mission focused departments.
What is “Christian Formation”?
Christian Formation is the process of being formed into the image of Christ. It is a
journey of holistic transformation in Spirit, Mind and Body as one learns to live out the
of Christ in their individuality and community. This is the ultimate goal of TREK; our hope
that when you leave Snow Mountain Ranch, you are closer God and more like Christ than when
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
growth opportunities designed to stretch the participant spiritually, mentally and
all in the context of community. Some of the things you will encounter during the TREK
are: discussions around the basics of the Christian faith, exploring what it means to be
engaging the natural environment of Colorado through outdoor adventure (hiking, climbing,
etc.), learning to live with others from around the U.S. and the world, working a full-time
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 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
be working 40 hours per week at Snow Mountain Ranch in a variety of jobs. As a result of your
you will receive room, board, and an hourly wage plus employee perks—like free
at many Colorado resorts. The total program cost is $1,250.
What are the dates for TREK?
The program starts on August 10, 2020 and graduation is on May 4, 2021.
What is the curriculum of the TREK program?
As a student of TREK, you will come together 2-3 times per week in group settings that encourage
accountably, safe relationships, thoughtful reflection, honest conversation and prayer. Though Trek is not
an academic program, there are academic elements; you will be expected to read, study and reflect on the
content of provided course materials and scripture. Along with weekly readings there will be occasional
reflection papers, book reports and special projects as part of the Trek experience. Retreats and Colorado
adventure-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
SMR is situated between the towns of Winter Park (20 min) and Grand Lake (30 minutes), which is
western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather is usually sunny, as we’re
on a high, wide plain of rolling hills looking at the Continental Divide. In the winter, it can
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
are welcome to bring your favorite blanket, pillow etc. from home. Each floor also has a common
with a TV, games and space to lounge.
Employees have access to all of our amenities on property, including: indoor pool,
& outdoor rock climbing wall, horseback riding, library, craft shop, horseback riding, and over
of amazing trails for hiking, snowshoeing, skiing and mountain biking. For downhill ski
we run a daily shuttle to Winter Park Ski Resort once it opens for the season.
What can participants expect to gain?
The development of a spiritual, personal, relational and practical foundations for life and leadership.
Participants will also have gainful employment for eight months, lifelong friendships with people from
around the world, and mountain recreation.
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 initial program fees, TREK participants are paid $12/hour and are offered room & board.
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
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
Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact Benjamin L. Black, Associate Chaplain (Phone) 970-887-2152 Ext. 4005 (Email)