Dudley Gap Experience
The Dudley Gap Experience is 10-week leadership program for young men and women, launching in September 2017. We will invite 6-10 high school graduates to spend the fall season with us here in Westport. During this experience, our students will gain independence, confidence, competence, and a renewed sense of purpose before college or other post-graduation opportunities.
We have 132 years of experience and expertise in leadership development, character growth, and good old-fashioned Dudley fun. Our program centers on an in-depth exploration of our Four Pillars (outdoors, arts, athletics, spirituality), our Core Values (character, community, leadership, stewardship), and our motto, The Other Fellow First. Through Adirondack adventures, service opportunities with our neighbors, unique travel components, and unmatched exposure to a variety of skills, interests, and guidance from our expansive alumni network, this is the ultimate Dudley experience.
Why Take a Gap Year?
- Discover and pursue interests in authentic ways
- Engage in a community that offers support, care, and guidance
- Focus on personal leadership development through community living, exploration, and service
- Practice independence to prepare for a college experience and investment
Click on the pictures below to read reflections from some of Dudley and Kiniya’s finest leaders and staff who have taken gap years before heading off to college.
If you want to gain real-world experience and lead unique adventures with the support of the Dudley & Kiniya family, this program is for you. The timing works perfectly for the start of a gap year, for “Febs,” transfer students, or for those taking a break in their college path.
With our passionate team of Dudley & Kiniya instructors, educators, and alumni, we will offer unparalleled exposure to life skills, interests, hobbies, and mentorship. Using our Four Pillars to guide the programming, we will explore skills in the arts, outdoors, and athletics, while maintaining a sense of spirituality and the Dudley spirit throughout. Through our visiting alumni program, we will have the chance to spend time with Dudley & Kiniya folks who have chased a variety of different interests and paths.
Use your time off wisely with a new set of skills tapping the unique resources and support of the Dudley family. Go explore the mountains, visit Burlington and Montreal, and/or organize adventures with your Dudley & Kiniya peers. Through personalized mentorship and coaching, we will all be working toward greater individual growth and challenging each other to expand our comfort zones.
We will be living in the brand-new Leadership Barn on Dudley’s campus, fully equipped with dorm space, a commercial kitchen and vegetable garden, lounge area, fire pit, and fantastic views of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks.
Our group will function like a Dudley & Kiniya cabin: we will live together, adventure together, cook together, and support each other like a family. Alongside our Dudley & Kiniya peers, we will also have the chance to collaborate on a project that will have a lasting impact on the Dudley campus and, potentially, the greater Westport community.
Working closely with each other, our Dudley & Kiniya staff, and our expansive alumni community, we will foster meaningful, supportive, mentoring relationships that will last long beyond the program.
As is the case with all of our programs, leadership is the backbone of our entire time together. Each week will carry a theme helping us to further our own journey as individual leaders. Each day will take a new shape and leadership opportunities will be in abundance. While most leadership development will be organic several intentional programs will be in place throughout the program.
At the end of each month, we will venture out on a team expedition. Options may include: backpacking and canoeing in the Adirondacks, backpacking and canyoneering with NOLS, and kayaking and exploring in The Bahamas with The Island School! These and other unique expeditions will serve as experiential laboratories for our leadership and character growth.
During the second half of the program, each of you will choose and design an individual apprenticeship with a Dudley & Kiniya mentor. Whether you would like to learn locally from our year-round staff or remotely with one of our many engaged alums, we will match you with a caring, invested mentor with expertise who will coach you through your project.
In the spirit of our motto, The Other Fellow First, we will serve our host community, our neighbors, and our partners. We will have opportunities to work with local school systems, youth commissions, and sports organizations. As a team, we will show the world what it means to lead lives characterized by a devotion to others.
As a group, we will design and build a new and lasting addition to the Dudley campus. Whether we are constructing a new feature in Yurtville, installing a solar unit by our dorms, or designing a new garden for our Dudley family, we will have the chance to leave our own unique mark.
How to Apply & Timeline
Let us know you are interested!
- Fill out this form so that we can keep you in the loop
- Admissions will be rolling until the program is full. Expect a response within 3 weeks of your application.
- Our program will run mid-September through November
Tuition & Scholarship
Anticipated tuition for this 10-week program is $9,000 and includes all food, lodging, instruction, program fees and travel from Westport to our excursions. As with all of our programs at Camp Dudley and Kiniya, scholarships are available to qualified candidates (both merit and need-based). Additionally, opportunities to earn income will be available to all participants during the Gap Experience.
Keep in Touch!
For questions or additional information, please reach out to our Lead Instructors:
Tom McDonough, Gap Program Director
Kat Nelson, Leadership Development Director, Gap Instructor