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Senior discusses gap year program, shows interest in community

Guest Photographer- Tucker Horton

The Joshua Wilderness Institute gives students the opportunity to serve around the world and develop a meaningful relationship with Christ.

As second semester starts up, us seniors are constantly thinking about what lies ahead after we graduate. We consider colleges that best fit our interests and intended careers and programs that provide opportunities.

Another possibly path to take after high school is a gap year, usually an academic year taken as a break between high school and college. Taking a gap year is another way to provide growth and development to students, and allows them a little more time to figure out what they want to do.

This past winter break I went up to the Joshua Wilderness Institute in Hume Lake, CA. This gap year program focuses on building your relationship with Christ and serving God through mission trips, as well as developing Bible study skills and becoming a Disciple of Christ. My dad Chris Schultz teaches at Joshua every couple of years, and decided to take me so I could see the program myself and get involved with students very close to my own age.

It was a very unique experience to see where each student came from. Most were from the United States, like Maine, California, and even Hawaii, but a couple students joined Joshua out of country, from Papua New Guinea. I found the diversity of the program a great way to connect to people and discover why they came in the first place.

The mission statement of Joshua, “Transforming the Life Effectiveness of God’s People”, plays itself in the lives of the students attending the program. By using worldview training, Bible study skills, character development, life skills and monthly missions trips, Joshua expose students to life and guides them to create a passion for God. 

But in order to do so, students need to follow some rules and guidelines. Students are asked to sign a Joshua covenant which states that they should abstain from all video viewing, social media and internet features, TV, video games, and music. Students must also refrain from dating at Joshua, and those entering into Joshua already in a relationship are not allowed to further it.

As you can see, taking the program is no walk in the park. More like a walk through the jungles of the Dominican Republic, the streets of Hollywood and the ancient roads of Israel. The program takes students on various missions trips so they can serve the community outside of the classroom. 

Guest Photographer-Tucker Horton

The 2017-18 Joshua class traveled to Israel at the end of the year to experience the events of the Bible firsthand.

Students at Joshua also serve and connect with their community at Hume Lake. Each student is assigned a family who “adopts” them for the year, and the Hume Lake Staff often mentor the students on a daily basis. During the summer, students take on jobs at Hume’s annual camps, which allows them to connect with not only the staff but the community that comes up to Hume Lake.

At the end of the day, though the days may seem long and tiresome, and the rules restrict some of our basis freedoms, the benefits you receive from the program will last a lifetime. The ways this program transforms the lives of young adults prepares them for their future and gives them an idea of what they want to do with their lives.

I’ve always been uncertain of what I wanted to do with my future. There’s so many options and opportunities and I don’t want to miss out on any of it. I’ve been accepted to a couple colleges, but haven’t made any decisions yet. And although Joshua is an amazing program, I have taken it into consideration and am still debating what I want to do after high school. 

For more information on Joshua and how to apply, go to their website.

For more articles read COLUMN: Welcome to 2019! and Living to see the dream, community remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kamryn Schultz can be reached via Twitter and via email.

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