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A Gap Year Program with a Purpose

Thank you for your interest in the ELEVATE program!

Our Spring Semester is about to be underway and the application process is now closed.  We will begin accepting applications for our Fall Semester on March 1st.  

What is ELEVATE?

Our ELEVATE program will provide young people (ages 18-25) with a variety of experiences designed to build confidence and to provide life skills training. The two cornerstones are employment experiences in the hospitality industry (rotating through departments in our resort) and meaningful community service within the Estes Valley region.

Participants will have both structured and free-time opportunities to enjoy the multitude of recreational activities available in our stunning Rocky Mountain locale. Our property is bordered on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park – an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Planned excursions will allow participants to hike, climb, snowshoe and enjoy other outdoor pursuits. We will provide a variety of training and certification opportunities (which may include CPR, WFA, etc.).

How Does It Work?

ELEVATE is group-focused and will develop a close-knit community among participants and leaders. Participants will meet regularly in consistent small groups and will develop bonds of friendship and fellowship.

What Distinguishes the YMCA of the Rockies ELEVATE Program From Other Gap Year Programs?

1) Program Dates & Fees

ELEVATE is offered in two four-month semesters. Each is separate and independent. A participant may not repeat the program.

  • Fall Semester: August 14th, 2017 – December 15th, 2017  (App. Opening March 1st) (App. Closes July 1st)
  • Spring Semester: February, 2019 – June, 2019 (Official Dates To Be Determined)

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 $500. Fifty dollars of this fee is payable at the time of application. The program fee helps to defray the costs of training sessions, transportation, and other expenses.

2) The location

Estes Park Center (EPC), at an elevation of 8,000 feet, is over 860 acres 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 located in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. EPC is 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.  Enrolment in ELEVATE provides housing (1-3 roommates in dormitories), 3 meals a day, pools, gymnasiums (without weight equip.), horseback riding, and 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 in April/May and September/October seasons. 

What Can Participants Expect to Gain?

ELEVATE participants will emerge with greater self-confidence, self-awareness and a sense of purpose. They will learn time management skills and the responsibility that come from having a job. Through meaningful service, our participants will give back to others and develop a connection with the mountain community of Estes Park. Through an employment experience in a mission-based, not-for-profit organization participants will gain an understanding as to how their work positively impacts our guests. A greater appreciation of the out-of-doors and the Rocky Mountains will be gained.

Participants will complete the program better prepared to face upcoming challenges such as starting/finishing college, applying for/engaging in employment opportunities and living independently. They will live and learn as part of an intentional community within our YMCA center.

Please note our Drug/Alcohol Policy:

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 to work or volunteer for us.


Please call our HR office at 970-586-3341 x1032, or email


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