Gap Programs & Life Dreams

Discussions about gap year programs, like our voyages to and from Cuba, frequently focus on the young people considering them.  But perhaps the best perspective comes from those whose life trajectories were changed by gap years they took long ago. 

In the 1990s, a book by Ron Lieber called Taking Time Off profiled 33 students on gap years – and recently surveyed them all again to see how the gap experience had influenced their life journeys.  The short answer: profoundly.  Way beyond good college grades, these yielded life lessons – in confidence, humility, awareness, risk, exertion, kindness – that yielded happy and productive lives.  

Mr. Lieber recently detailed this survey in a New York Times piece that concluded by profiling Tracy Johnston Zager in our hometown of Portland, Maine.  Tracy spent her gap year working in a presidential campaign – and herself now the author of Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had.  We were able to track down Tracy in Portland (it’s a small city!) and were pleased to learn how meaningful the gap year experience has been for her personal and professional development.  We certainly wish he’d had math teachers like her!  

It is in precisely this spirit that Ocean Passages crafts our Cuba gap programs to help young people embrace their own talents and dreams - and tonight we’ll be at Scarborough High School in Scarborough, ME talking to potential gap students & families at a fair hosted by USA Gap Year Fairs.  Then it’s on to VT tomorrow and Boston & Andover this weekend to complete our northeastern gap fair circuit!