TREK Gap Program at YMCA of the Rockies

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

    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 TREK application process?

That’s great! Applications will open for the 2018/19 program in mid-October 2017. Here’s what you need to know in order to make the most of your TREK experience.

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.
What distinguishes the YMCA of the Rockies TREK program From other christian gap year 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 secular 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 2017-2018 program is $1200 (+$50 application fee).
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 once 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 the material, and the Bible. Spiritual disciplines will also be learned and practiced. Retreats and special activities will also be part of their eight-month experience.
Where is the TREK program located?
The location. TREK @SMR program applicants will work at Snow Mountain Ranch, live with 1-3 roommates in dormitories, with access on property to a pool, gymnasium, horseback riding, and over 100km of amazing hiking/snowshoeing/mountain biking. Please be aware, even if you’re working in another department, most of our staff may work up to a few days each week in food service or housekeeping during September/October. Staff that work in those departments do receive incentive bonuses during that time.
Snow Mountain Ranch (SMR) is located at 9,000 feet above sea level on 5,000 acres, 20 minutes away from Winter Park Resort, and about 30 minutes from Grand Lake and the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. In general, if you are a downhill/alpine/nordic/cross country/back-country skier, snowboarder, or fat biker, you’ll be happy at Snow Mountain Ranch, where we have over 100km of nordic skiing, mountain biking, and hiking trails on property. It’s also the home of our Sled Dog team—which our TREK staff help manage and mush! It’s usually sunny, as we’re located on a high, wide plain of rolling hills looking at the Continental Divide. You’ll walk a bit to go from building to building (bring warm layers), and are about a 10 minute drive from the nearest town, but that’s why our staff loves it! (Once Winter Park Resort opens, we run a daily shuttle to the mountain for our staff.)
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. Currently, we have a Trek student who came from the mission field. His family is still serving in foreign missions.
Do I get paid as a student in TREK?
YES! While there are student fees for TREK, seasonal staff and TREK participants are paid $220 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.
What is the housing like?
We have dorm style housing for seasonal staff and Trek Participants. Participants are assigned rooms together in our Blue Ridge staff housing where they could have 2-3 roommates. Linens are provided however they are welcome to bring their favorite blanket, pillow etc. from home.
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.
Who is your chaplain in charge of the students?
Steve Peterson is the chaplain and Ben Black is the associate chaplain. They can be reached at Steve: and Ben:
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 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.