Heading towards graduation and still not sure what comes after the end of June? Considering the option of a ‘gap year’ rather than going directly to college or university? Or perhaps your plan is to try a year of post-secondary and see it will help you discover your passion and potential career path.

Experience is a great teacher, and there are many options for young adults (age 17-25) to get ‘real life’ experience, including a unique Canadian program that’s been around over 40 years.

Katimavik’s National Experience is a fully-funded, fully-immersive 5½ month program that brings together 11 young, diverse adults in a very hands-on learning program where they share and manage a Katimavik house while living in two different communities – at no cost.

All expenses related to participation in the program are covered, including transportation to and from the communities, group activities, housing, and meals.

This youth empowerment, non-profit organization has over 37 000 alumni, and their mission has always been to help young adults become engaged, caring citizens and capable contributors and leaders for a better Canada.

This amazing opportunity is open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents or landed refugees between 17 and 25 years of age when the program starts, who are looking to enhance their lives through creative learning, community engagement and self-discovery. A criminal record check is also required, however having a record does not necessarily effect eligibility to this program.

During the program, groups of 11 diverse individuals will collectively discover two Canadian communities, during which they will each contribute up to 32 hours of volunteer work a week, engage in Truth learning and active Reconciliation, and develop competencies related to Civic Engagement, Employability and Self Determination.

It’s an experience that will develop your independent living skills as you take turns managing a household, and build your confidence as you discover how you can make an impactful difference in our country. You will navigate through challenging new situations, helping to empower and enhance your resiliency as an individual while working as a member of a group contributing to a local community, not to mention creating life-long friendships.

In addition, research shows that students who complete a gap year are more likely to find work faster and at a higher pay rate than those who have not. All costs related to housing, travel, food and activities are covered by Katimavik. Program start dates are scheduled every January and July.