LEAPYEAR - New Developments for Fall 2018
The Evolution of LEAPYEAR: A letter from co-founders, Sam & Cassie Bull:
For the world has
changed and we must change with it.
LEAPYEAR has been, from inception through the past 17 years, an advocate for and embodiment of education that transforms the individual, and encourages the change an individual can bring to the world. To remain alive and relevant over decades, our program has to change and evolve to meet the changing needs of young adults and the world. Change and evolution naturally involve moving beyond a founders' vision and integrating new voices and educational structures to renew and carry forward a vision.
Naropa University has been our academic home for the last four years and their doors are opening wider to include LEAPYEAR as a unique and defining year in their four-year undergraduate journey. Inherent in a change of this kind is the challenge to keep the magic alive, to maintain the centrality of experiential education that transforms, and to bring the best of "gap year" learning into a four-year college journey.
Our work on the frontiers of American education continues as we bring the wild magic of LEAPYEAR into Naropa University, spearheaded by our current staff and supported by a Naropa faculty of culturally creative teachers and changemakers.
LEAPYEAR retreats will continue to be the defining heart of the program where students learn deeply about themselves, how to live in community and find a valid place in this world. But the place itself is changing. We are moving LEAPYEAR from an 11-acre retreat center in Northern California to a more expansive 600-acre retreat center in Colorado. We will be able to work outdoors with the natural world as a teacher, which has been a long-time goal of LEAPYEAR.
The group travel semester and the 3-month individual internships will continue in their same forms, but will be better supported. It remains fundamental to LEAPYEAR to use the world as our classroom to learn by doing and to place an individual life in a global context. The dynamic and living curriculum that we use to integrate and digest myriad international experiences remains the same.
As LEAPYEAR integrates more fully with Naropa, the power and resources of a university to support LEAPYEAR students expands exponentially. Here are a few of the benefits:
- New LEAPYEAR retreat facilities, upgraded in quality and size - from 11 to 600 acres.
- A more centralized U.S. location. LEAPYEAR students come from all over the country, and so this will reduce domestic travel time for many students and lower our carbon footprint.
- LEAPYEAR students will receive instruction and support from a more educationally diverse team drawn from Naropa faculty.
- Being housed within a university that is values-aligned with LEAPYEAR means greater continuity from gap year to college. Many LEAPYEAR students continue at Naropa upon completion.
Access to greatly enhanced student support services, including:
- Mental Health Counseling & Resources
- Academic Advising, Coaching & Tutoring
- Accessibility Services
- A network of in-country international support staff as a resource in times of crisis or emergency for LEAPYEAR students during individual and group travel.
Sam Bull will continue to guide and support the vision of LEAPYEAR through a lengthy period until full integration with Naropa. Cassie Bull will continue on as mentor, teacher and staff trainer for the foreseeable future. Our commitment is to insure continuity and higher quality through the transition. A number of LEAPYEAR staff will likely continue through the transition, further insuring continuity of the culture that we have developed over many years.
Please join us in benefiting from these changes. They are renewing and transformative, and represent evolution in action for a program that remains fundamentally unchanged. We look forward to working with you, our incoming students, in the coming year and beyond, and we'll keep you updated every step of the way.