Taking a gap year has become increasingly popular in recent years, primarily due to the benefits many students experience when choosing to take a gap year. With the disruption to the school system and university studies due to Covid-19 and a move towards online learning, a gap year might be exactly what many students need to get themselves back on track and focused.  A structured gap year program has many benefits for students that includes enhancing maturity, personal growth and self-development and helping them find their paths. At the Warriors Academy, we receive hundreds of enquires for our accredited gap year program, but once many parents and students see the cost, they feel overwhelmed. If students start planning ahead of time and put the effort in, they could fundraise their whole gap year experience. Rudi Viljoen, the founder of the Warriors Academy, elaborates on this concept.

Why choose a structured Gap Year?

A student often takes a gap year after school or studies as a time-out. It can be many things for different people, but ultimately it is an investment in your future. A well-structured gap year program is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, to gain confidence, step out of your comfort zone and ultimately help you find your path, both personally and professionally.

A structured program is often filled with a balance of travel, activities, and personal coaching. It is not a year filled with partying or sitting at home. It offers students an opportunity to explore, travel and have an adventure in a safe and structured environment. Students on our program are challenged through adventure activities and have to dig deep mentally to overcome obstacles. This is done by partnering adventure activities like multi-day day hikes, mountain bike safari’s, kloofing, river rafting, with workshops on health and wellness, self-mastery, personal coaching and more.

From our experience, the real benefit of this type of program in students is the development of emotional maturity and their ability to adapt and deal with challenges that come their way.

Many parents have come to understand that a structured gap year program is precisely what their children need, but there is one thing holding them back, cost.

Why do Gap Years cost so much?

We often get this question from parents when they look at the cost of our gap year program. But many parents have nothing to compare this to. When breaking down the cost and figures, a gap year is almost equal to the amount that you would be paying for your child to study at university, with board, catering, and pocket money for different activities. Take a look at the estimated cost comparison below:

Description1st year in universityWarriors Academy Gap Year 2021
Housing in a university residenceR 25 000 A structured year of travel and experiences centred around experiential learning. Different courses, workshops and excursions, housing, travel, all activities included.
Catering/foodR 48 000
1st Year of UniversityR 35 000 – R 48 000 (depending on the type of degree)
Extracurricular activities: hobbies, excursions, partying, eating outR 72 000
Estimated totalR 192 000R 192 000

When you are looking at a gap year cost, many parents just see the activities, not the cost of boarding, food, having facilitators to ensure safety, travel, and experiences etc. With this being said, we do understand that many parents do not have this kind of money on hand, which is where the idea of fundraising comes in.

What is fundraising for your gap year?

Fundraising for a gap year is incredibly popular in the United States of America, Germany, and other countries globally, but this is not the case in South Africa. In South Africa, many students are too dependent on their parents and lack the “go-getter” and “entrepreneurial spirit”. Fundraising is a great way to bring this out in a child as it involves seeking and gathering voluntary financial contributions by engaging individuals, businesses, family, corporate, community organisations and more. But these organisations are not going to just hand over the money. Students will need to get creative, tap into their entrepreneurial skills, put the time in and come up with activities to drive support and donations. Some creative fundraising ideas that we love from the Gap Year Association include:

  • Turn Trash into cash – ask your friends, family and community members to donate their unwanted items. Use these items to host an online auction and create your own thrift/second-hand store. This can be carried out on social media where you can also take out a small advert to boost the number of people seeing your posts.
  • Start a sponsored sporting event– plan a 5km run, 50km cycle rase or even a kids run in a local park or zoo.  Ask your friends, family, local business, and community to sponsor or take part in your event. Just remember to do your due diligence and make sure you have all the safety precautions and regulations in place. This would be the perfect opportunity to partner with a bigger sponsor who may have done this kind of event before.
  • Get to work offer your services for lawn mowing, coaching sport, house cleaning etc. Let people in your community know you are fundraising and encourage them to use your services.  Small jobs are an easy way to raise money quickly without investing too much time.
  • Raffle it off – set up a raffle through a community club, non-profit organisation or business. Find businesses to sponsor your raffle with great prizes. Ask your school if you could ask the students and parents to buy raffle tickets as part of your fundraising.

There are so many more fundraising ideas that can be used to help you raise money for your gap year, but when in doubt, a part-time job is also an option. Many of our Warriors have worked part-time jobs over the course of one to two years to contribute towards their gap year experience. For example, we have had students who have worked from grade 10 through to matric to help pay for the program.

There are many benefits to fundraising and working part-time for young people that are not financially focused. By encouraging your child to fundraise or work towards their gap year experience, you are putting them in the driver’s seat, building responsibility, helping to set goals and encouraging entrepreneurship. We often find that the Warriors who have had a part in earning their gap year experience enjoy it much more because they have put the work in and achieved their goal of being on a gap year.

We encourage parents to challenge their children to fundraise for their gap year and contribute to their experience. This not only takes some of the pressure off the parents but provides an opportunity for growth in students.

For more information on the Warriors Academy Gap Year Program follow the link, http://www.warriors.co.za/

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