2017 GAP YEAR CONFERENCE
The conference will be held in advance of, and in partnership with, the IECA Spring conference and is slated to have some exciting opportunities. This year, any Gap Year Conference attendee who has not attended an IECA conference in the last year, will be eligible for a $100 discount from their IECA conference fees - details can be found in your registration confirmation or by emailing Ethan@amreicangap.org. The 2016 conference doubled our attendees over the previous year in Baltimore, and we expect to do the same in Denver, limiting the number to 300 attendees. We will have some incredibly valuable discussion and presentations on key topics, some great networking, an experiential component, and some great food! As well, we are proud to reprise the highly successful "Gap n Go" all-day speed dating option (for an additional fee) to meet with registered IECA Members in a more intimate setting. This promises to be a collaborative and growth-forward event bringing together Colleges that offer and support the Gap Year, Gap Year Providers, Gap Year Partners, and of course, Educational Consultants and Specialists. We are making specific efforts to be inclusive and of value to our College partners this coming year, and look forward to a fantastic event!
Logistics (Hotel, Shipping, etc.):
- ACCOMMODATION. AGA has negotiated a discounted hotel rate of $169 plus tax. The contracted rate is good until either the room block sells out or until April 12, 2017. Availability and rate cannot be guaranteed once the room block is sold out or after this date. Please follow this link for the discount, or call and mention the Gap Year Conference:
The Curtis Hotel, a Double Tree hotel by Hilton
Address: 1405 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80202
- TRANSPORTATION FROM DIA is available through Uber or Lyft and costs $35-$40 one-way. Taxis run around $55 one way.
Or, to use the new Lightrail line, hop onto the A Line downstairs on the south side underneath the black Westin (W-shaped) hotel which is located in the transit center. Check out the schedule on www3.rtd-denver.com, click westbound for schedule. It is 23 miles between DIA and Union Station and takes 37 minutes. It runs every 15 minutes during peak travel times and every 30 minutes from 3-5am and 6:30pm to 1am. It costs $9 one way and tickets can be purchased at the vending machines located on the train platform using cash or credit cards. Once on the train, it will take you to Union Station where you'll get off and go outside and hop onto the 16th street free mall shuttle to get dropped off at 16th & Curtis. It's a two-block walk from there.
- BIKE RENTAL is available nearby at B-Cycle which is located throughout Denver. A wonderful bike path is near the Curtis Hotel on the Platte River Greenway. For bike rental, go to Denver B-Cycle.
- POSTAGE & MAILING. Address incoming packages to:
Gap Year Conference, May 6, 2017
Attn: American Gap Association
C/O Ashleigh Buhr
The Curtis a Doubletree Hotel by Hilton
1405 Curtis Street
Denver, CO. 80202
Boxes __ of ___ (multiple boxes MUST be numbered)
2017 SCHEDULE - updated 3/20/17, Proposed
Saturday, May 6 - Preconference Day:
To attend either of the preconference events, please register at the general conference registration page. The preconference day is limited to 30 attendees in each session so please register early. Attendance at future Accreditation Workshops is required for all Accredited members at least once every third year.
- 9:00am - 12:00pm: "The Old & Accredited." Time for AGA Accredited and those organizations in operation for longer than 10 years - $60 includes lunch
- 9:00am - 12:00pm: "Screening Participants for International Programs" with Bill Frederick and his team from Lodestone Safety International who bring to us arguably one of the most comprehensive backgrounds in international risk management in the country. Robust participant screening programs can effectively reduce the number of such instances. However, concern for violating legal statutes or creating a greater duty of care often inhibits the objective analysis of participant’s medical and mental health histories. This session will survey the pertinent legal statutes and share some perspectives as to their applicability to your program or international programs in general. We’ll look at a multi-tiered system of potential components, approaches and procedures - $60 includes lunch
- 12:00pm - 1:00pm: Lunch
- 1:00pm - 4:00pm: "Accreditation Workshop." For those organizations interested in Accreditation and new to the Standards & Accreditation process - $60 includes lunch
- 1:00pm - 4:00pm: "Mentorship & Rites of Passage." Facilitated by Randy Russell, this is a deep dive into good mentorship practices and cultivating the power of a Rite of Passage for this age - $60 includes lunch
Sunday, May 7 - Conference Day One:
- 9:00am - 10:00am: Introduction to the Conference, State of the Field, and New Initiatives
- 10:00am - 10:30am: break/tea/coffee/snacks/games/networking
- 10:30am - 11:45am: Concurrent 75 minute panel sessions to present some of the best we know
- "No Easy Answers: Addressing the Issue of Substance Misuse, Abuse, and Addiction on Gap Year Programs" - Scott Burnett, Pacific Discovery & Robin Pendoley, Thinking Beyond Borders
- "Launching Successfully: Mental Health Challenges and Supports for a Positive Gap Year" - Rachel Singer, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
- "Increasing Diversity: Scholarships are NOT the Answer" - Hansell Bourdon, Carpe Mundi
- "Abroad with Disabilities" - Juanita Lillie, Abroad With Disabilities
- "The Effect of a Gap Year on Male Students and their Interaction with University Conduct Processes" - William Schiffelbein, Colorado College
- "Mind the Gap: Considerations in Building a Gap Year Program" - Elizabeth Coder, Elon University
- "AGA Committee on Inclusion & Access: Open table discussion and priority-setting for the next year" - Ethan Knight, AGA & Stacey Williams, Pacific Discovery
- "Gap Year Website Effectiveness" - Kate Warren, Center for Interim Programs
- "The Cognitive Benefits of Intercultural Gap Experiences" - Danny Recio, The Bridge Costa Rica
- "A GAP Year on Every Resume" - Sean Keener & Jennifer Miller, Boots N All / AirTreks / Travel Access Project
- "The Transformative Potential of Gap Years" - Erin Johnson, Stanford
- "Reflecting on Experience: Promoting Learning & Transformation" - Neal Taylor, Expedition Education
- "AGA Committee on Standards & Accreditation: Open table discussion and priority-setting" - Ethan Knight, AGA
- "So... is this Program Just for Rich Kids? Solving the Gap Year PR Problem" - Ben Welbourn & Julien Goetz, Winterline Global Skills
- "Turning Higher Education Frontwards" - Michelle Jones, Wayfinding Academy 2-year College
- "Part 1 of 2: Mental Health Crisis Response: A Real-Time Table Top Exercise" (Note, for this session, part 2 is closed unless attending part 1) - Gary Robinson & Laura Thompson, P3 Mental Health Advisors, and Stacey Williams, Pacific Discovery, and Dave Dennis, Rustic Pathways
- "1st offering: Creating Cultures for Student Empowerment and Accountability" - Aaron Slosberg, Where There Be Dragons
- "1st offering: Cultural Competence Framework: Context and Content for Pre, During, and Post-Service Training" - Nolan Sutker, World Teach
- "1st offering: Service Years as Gap Years" - Jenna Dell, Service Year Alliance
- "AGA Committee on Growing the Field: Open table discussion and priority-setting" - Joe O'Shea, Florida State University & AGA Board President
- "1st offering: Discrimination, Intolerance, and Objectivity - Navigating Increasingly Diverse Group Dynamics in a Hyper-Political Era" - Jane Sarouhan, Center for Interim Programs
- "Part 2 of 2: Mental Health Crisis Response: A Real-Time Table Top Exercise" (Note, for this session, part 2 is closed unless attending part 1) - Gary Robinson & Laura Thompson, P3 Mental Health Advisors, and Stacey Williams, Pacific Discovery, and Dave Dennis, Rustic Pathways
- "2nd offering: Creating Cultures for Student Empowerment and Accountability" - Aaron Slosberg, Where There Be Dragons
- "2nd offering: Cultural Competence Framework: Context and Content for Pre, During, and Post-Service Training" - Nolan Sutker, World Teach
- "2nd offering: Service Years as Gap Years" - Jenna Dell, Service Year Alliance
- "AGA Committee on Research: Open table discussion and priority-setting" - Karl Haigler, Haigler Enterprises, Author, AGA Board & Luke Parrot, Kivu Gap Year
- "Exploring Barriers to Entry for Lower Income & Rural - Summary Research & Discussion" - Erin Barnhart, Effective Altruism
Monday, May 8 - Conference Day Two:
- 9:00am - 10:00am: Keynote
- 10:00am - 10:30am: break/tea/coffee/snacks/games/networking
- 10:30am - 11:45am: Concurrent 75 minute panel sessions to present some of the best we know
- "Brand Collaboration: Co-Marketing Beyond the Gap Year Field" - Ben Welbourn & Julian Goetz, Winterline Global Skills
- "Reducing Barriers to Gap Years: A Case Study" - Sarah Smith & Cecilia Polanco (alumnae), UNC Chapel Hill
- "The Visual Transcript: The Next Evolution of Experiential Academic Transcriptions" - Rod Parks, Elon University
- "1st offering: Shattering the Silence of Sexual Violence: Tips for Effectively Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence" - Stacey Williams, Pacific Discovery & Laura Thompson, P3 Mental Health
- "1st offering: Discrimination, Intolerance, and Objectivity - Navigating Increasingly Diverse Group Dynamics in a Hyper-Political Era" - Jane Sarouhan, Center for Interim Programs & Jake Lewis, Gap at Glen Brook
- "Learning Group Follow Up - Exploring Partnerships with the Travel Access Project & Open Source Curricula Projects" - Sean Keener, Boots N All & Jennifer Miller, Travel Access Project
- "AGA Committee on Ethics and Judicial Processes - Open table discussion and priority-setting" - Candice Washington, Hosteling International USA
- "Strategies for Minimizing Risks in your Contractor & Partner Relationships" - Doug Stevens, Caplan and Earnest LLC
- Open for Crowd-Sourced Topic ...
- "Incorporating Student Research On Program" - Bob Wittenburg, Pioneer Academics
- "Insurance... yeah, You Know You Need to Know More" - Maggie Robinson, iNext Insurance
- "Adding New Locations, Themes & Curricula" - Holly Bull, Center for Interim Programs
- "AGA Committee on Inclusion & Access - Open table discussion and priority-setting" - Ethan Knight, AGA
- "Better Together: Towards a Smoother Gap-to-College Transition" - Erin Jensen, Portland State University
- "Marketing Your Academics" - Billy O'Donnell, Ridge Mountain Academy
- "1st offering: Rethinking Student Dismissals" - Reed Harwood & Aaron Slosberg, Where There Be Dragons
- "1st offering: Using Digital Learning Technology to Make International Volunteering and Internship Gap Years More Ethical, Educational, and Affordable" - Willy Oppenheim & Will Horne, Omprakash
- "1st offering: Alumni Voices: A Deeper Look at the AGA 2015 Alumni Survey Data" - Corinne Guidi, PhD Extraordinaire
- "1st offering: AGA Think Tank - Meet the Leadership of AGA and Collaborate on Big-Picture Efforts" - Ethan Knight, AGA
- "You Belong To The World: An Ecological Lens for Gap Reflection" - Jake Lewis & Alison Sever, Gap at Glen Brook
- Open for Crowd-Sourced Topic to be decided Sunday ...
- "2nd offering: Rethinking Student Dismissals" - Reed Harwood & Aaron Slosberg, Where There Be Dragons
- "2nd offering: Using Digital Learning Technology to Make International Volunteering and Internship Gap Years More Ethical, Educational, and Affordable" - Willy Oppenheim & Will Horne, Omprakash
- "2nd offering: Alumni Voices: A Deeper Look at the AGA 2015 Alumni Survey Data" - Corinne Guidi, PhD Extraordinaire
- "2nd offering: AGA Think Tank - Meet the Leadership of AGA and Collaborate on Big-Picture Efforts" - Ethan Knight, AGA
- "Understanding the Mental Model for Student Transformation" - Adi Hila, Masa Israel & Debbie Goldsmith, Aardvark Israel
- Open for Crowd-Sourced Topic ...
Tuesday, May 9th - GAP N GO or Community Activities:
9:00am - 4:00pm: "Gap N Go" opportunity costs an additional $300 for Providers, and $100 for IECs. This is a proven format where organizations have a dedicated 25 minutes with pre-registered IECs to share about their program, develop a personal relationship with program representatives (usually holding some executive role), and for IECs to ask questions. Lunch and drinks will be provided.
The Gap Year Fair is unfortunately canceled and we will instead use the time to catch up on work emails (ugh), but also connect you with some of the great things Denver has to offer:
- Free Denver walking tour-2 hours long. Meet at Civic Center Park at 10am. Flat 1.8 miles in length and wheelchair accessible. Meeting place-The Veteran's Memorial, 1449 Lincoln St., Denver, CO.
- The Veteran's Memorial is located one block west (towards the mountains) of the Capitol building. Colfax Ave. is to the north, 14th Ave. is to the south, Lincoln St. is directly east and Broadway is to the west. Walking distance from hotel. Ending location-Coors Field (baseball stadium), 2001 Blake St.
- United States Mint Tour, walking distance from hotel. 320 West Colfax Avenue. Free tour tickets are available at the Tour Information window located at the Gift Shop entrance gate on Cherokee Street, between West Colfax Avenue and West 14th Avenue. Tickets are for same-day tours only; no advance tickets are available. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to 5 per person. All visitors must be at the tour entrance located on Cherokee Street 30 minutes before their scheduled tour time. Tour hours-8am-3:30pm and are 45 minutes in length. Sale information-#303-572-9500. DenMintTourRes@usmint.treas.gov, Special Requirements-If you require special assistance (e.g., sign language interpreters, wheelchair assistance) please contact us at least ten days in advance by email DenMintTourRes@usmint.treas.gov, or call at 303-405-4761.
- Denver Zoo-Uber
- Larimer Square-shopping/restaurants (walking distance)
- Denver Center for Performance Arts (200 feet away from Curtis): check out the shows on www.denvercenter.org for dates and times and purchase of tickets. These three shows/musicals are showing at the smaller theaters during the conference:
- Travelers of Lost Dimension
- The Secret Garden
- Coors Field-May 8 and 9, 6:40pm. Rockies vs World Series champions Chicago Cubs-both nights. coorsfield.eventticketscenter.com or 866-820-4553 for tickets. (16th Street shuttle and walk)
- Bowling-Lucky Strike (near 16th Street Pavilions-walking distance)
- Denver Art Museum (walking distance)
- Anschutz Museum- Navarre building (walking distance)
- Denver open market -Rhino (Uber)
- The Source-shops and restaurants(Uber)
- REI-large shopping mountaineering outlet (16th street shuttle and walking distance)
- Kayak at confluence of Platte River (walking distance)
- bike path/bike rental (through hotel) by the hour or day (Platte River Greenway bike path is near hotel)
- Denver Aquarium-shuttle and walk or Uber
- Union Station-bars/restaurants (16th street shuttle)
Wednesday, May 10 - IECA Conference:
- The IECA Conference officially starts Wednesday with their almost 2,000 anticipated attendees. We encourage you to visit and register separately for their conference.
- 5:45pm - 7:30pm: AGA is hosting a reception at the IECA conference for AGA Accredited Members to showcase the high quality and diversity of Gap Year programs we represent. There is an additional fee to cover our costs and is a cocktail/appetizer event for IECs to come and visit who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend the Gap N Go.
Remembering the 2016 Conference
The 2016 Gap Year conference was hosted by the non-profit American Gap Association, in partnership with EnRoute Gap Year Consulting and the Independent Educational Consultants Association. The IECA Spring Conference followed ours and was designed for the Independent Educational Consultant community.
2016 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Sunday, May 1:
- 9:00am - 10:00am: All attendees are welcome. Ethan will give an update on AGA, its committees, and the State of the Field. Karl Haigler, AGA Board Member & Research Committee Chair, will share results of the National Alumni Survey. And we will share information about a new online curricula available to all AGA members called the Impact Abroad Toolkit.
- 10:15am - 11:30am: Concurrent panel sessions to present some of the best we know in the realm of program security, mental health, and more. The panel sessions are available for any attendee to attend any session.
- "Mental Health" - Led by Stephen Barnes and Gary Robinson, Thinking Beyond Borders Gap Year Program
- "Ethical Volunteering" - Led by Willy Oppenheim, Omprakash EdGE Gap Year Program
- 11:30am - 1:00pm: Lunch & networking
- 1:00pm - 1:15pm: Introduction to Discussion Roundtable options
- 1:15pm - 2:45pm: Concurrent discussion-centered Roundtables. We will have different tracks for Educational Consultants and Program Providers.
- PROVIDERS - "Research Discussion" - current research efforts by programs highlighting methodology and utility
- PROVIDERS - "Marketing 1" - best practices in marketing to grow your enrollment
- PROVIDERS - "Ethical Media & Outreach" - where responsibility to local communities meets educating students and marketing to enrollment
- PROVIDERS - "China Doesn't Gap, But Change Is In The Air" - how to grow your enrollment of students from China
- PROVIDERS - "Rites of Passage - what we're really doing" - tying the art of student mentoring to the systems on program
- CONSULTANTS - "Interviewing Programs" - an introduction for how to make the most of your time interviewing providers
- CONSULTANTS - "Domestic Programs" - the ups, downs, and options for domestic programs
- CONSULTANTS - "Insurance" - education on the critical parts of insurance - making sure your students are covered
- CONSULTANTS - "Navigating Gap Years with Parents" - it's the hardest part and this is how it's done best
- 2:45pm - 3:00pm: Introduction to Roundtable options + Coffee
- 3:00pm - 4:30pm: Roundtables as different tracks for IECs and Program Providers.
- PROVIDERS - "Marketing 2" - lead conversion
- PROVIDERS - "College Credit & Financial Aid" - the pros, cons, ups and downs and how providers can make this work
- PROVIDERS - "Training and Maintaining In-Country Staff" - best practices for ensuring quality carries through to the students
- PROVIDERS - "Nonprofit Help Group" - fundraising for your nonprofit including grantwriting efforts
- PROVIDERS - "Growing the Field Committee" - download of current committee efforts and discusion for goal setting in next year
- CONSULTANTS - "Knowing Which Students are Good Gap Year Candidates" - when to insist on "the conversation" and when to float it
- CONSULTANTS - "Gap Year Affordability" - finding the sweet spot in finances and knowing student financial aid options
- CONSULTANTS - "Managing Expectations for Gap Year" - popular locations, common outcomes, and regular pitfalls
- CONSULTANTS - "Useful Resources for Consultants" - know your tools
- End of Day Reception - EVERYONE IS INVITED. Co-hosted by Ridge Mountain Academy & GoOverseas.com
Monday, May 2:
- 9:00am - 10:00am: Keynote Speaker - Rick Weissbourd, Harvard Graduate School of Education, author of Turning the Tide report on making college admissions more human-friendly.
- 10:15am - 11:30am: Concurrent panel sessions to present some of the best we know. All attendees are welcome to any session this day.
- "Effective school outreach" - Led by Marie Schwartz, CEO, TeenLife.com
- "Student Panel: What Convinced Me to Take a Gap Year" - Facilitated by Cara Murray & Nathan Scott, Winterline Gap Year Program
- EVERYONE - "Alcohol and Other Substances on Program" - proactive and reactive methods to address a very complicated issue
- EVERYONE - "Risk Management in the Field" - with Bill Frederick of Lodestone, this is a discussion led by the best in the field
- EVERYONE - "Research Committee" - current efforts of research in the field and how to contribute
- EVERYONE - "Learning Differences on Gap Year" - accommodating students with learning differences
- EVERYONE - "What Makes it 'Transformational?'" - what are the antecedents to maximize student growth?
- EVERYONE - "Predeparture Preparation" - predeparture is a crucial time to push student growth - what are you and your peers doing?
- EVERYONE - "Other" - left intentionally undefined
- EVERYONE - "Ethical Volunteering" - a continuation of the ethics in volunteering for a broad range of program types
- EVERYONE - "Standards & Accreditation Committee" - download of current committee efforts and discussion for goal setting in next year (what would it take to be an outcomes-defined Standards process?)
- EVERYONE - "The Gap Year Admissions Process" - how are different organizations covering their bases with this critical element of the student experience?
- EVERYONE - "Using the State Department as a Resource" - Overseas Security Advisory Council, the State Department, their limits, and what can Commonwealth countries avail themselves of?
- EVERYONE - "Emerging Adulthood" - understanding the young adult brain and speaking effectively to it
- EVERYONE - "Technology on Program" - idealogical and practical considerations of technology use while on program
- EVERYONE - "Other" - left intentionally undefined
Tuesday, May 3: GAP N GO & School Visits
9:00am - 4:00pm: "Gap N Go" opportunity that costs an additional $200 for Providers, and $150 for IECs. This is a proven format where organizations have a dedicated 25 minutes with pre-registered IECs to share about their program, develop a personal relationship with program representatives (usually holding some executive role), and for IECs to ask questions. Lunch and drinks will be provided.
- The current list of Gap N Go Providers are:
James Bridge - InterExchange, Jake Lewis - Gap at Glen Brook, Richard Nimmo - Blue Ventures Expeditions, Danny Ponce-Taylor - Global Vision International, Eva Vanek - Where There Be Dragons, Delores Fabregas - CIEE, Rebecca Thomas - Pacific Discovery, Sophia Weeks - ARCC Gap Year, Stephen Barnes - Thinking Beyond Borders, Randy Russell - InnerPath Works, Tim Porter-DeVriese - Rustic Pathways, Liz Hesterberg - Cross Cultural Solutions, Jenny Doder - Academic Programs International (API). Note that the waitlist is currently two organizations deep.
- The current list of Gap N Go IECs are:
Diane Geller, Jason & Jane Sarouhan, Julie Gross, Lisa Thomas, Betsy Donnelly, Ramona Wessel, Alex Steinert-Evoy, Sandy Storer, Katie Sterns, Lucy Shih, and Katie Garrett.
9:00am - 4:00pm: For providers and attendees NOT attending the Gap N Go event, we will have some loosely structured marketing opportunities with two local schools and unstructured networking opportunities with IECs who arrive early. Please plan on bringing promotional materials for these events. For those wishing to do a school visit, please email Madelaine Eulich to RSVP. The following two schools will be stacked and AGA will reimburse transportation costs for this event.
- Meridian Academy
10:15am - 11:00am
54 Brookside Avenue
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Meridian Academy is an independent, diverse, project-based school serving sixth through twelfth graders in the Boston area. The visit to Meridian Academy will be held from 10:15am - 11:00am on Tuesday, May 3. Students in tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades will be in attendance (roughly 28 students).
- Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols
12:40pm - 1:20pm
80 Gerrys Landing Rd
Cambridge, MA 02138
Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols (or BB&N) is a private day school based in Cambridge and serving pre-K through twelfth graders. The visit to BB&N will be held from 12:40pm - 1:20pm on Tuesday, May 3.
Wednesday, May 4 - May 7: IECA Conference
- The IECA Conference officially starts Wednesday with some of the 1,500 attendees. Please use your $100 AGA discount code to register and attend the IECA Conference and network with this amazing body of educational consultants and experts.