CHALLENGE 2000, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SOCIETY OF MARY, FACILITATED THE
Gap Year 2016
Since 2007 the Society of Mary and Challenge 2000 have offered a full time GAP YEAR programme based in Wellington. Every year 8 young people have accepted the Challenge to say “YES” and spend a year developing and serving others. Participants have usually completed Year 13 and want to gain additional formation and life experience before choosing future careers. Occasionally we accept a young person who wants to take “time out” from University or work to discern their future vocation.
During the GAP YEAR programme the participants work at Challenge 2000, Marist projects, Colleges or other community organisations and groups for three days per week. The other two days they receive theoretical and experiential training. They also have a one-month pastoral placement towards the end of the year.
On the Challenge 2000 Marist Gap Year I have learnt so many things and have been given many great opportunities. This year I got to go on “Outward Bound”, which is an outdoor learning course and has helped me find confidence in myself and has given me a more positive mind set. It helped improve ways of communication, self belief, and to follow my goals, believe in myself and seek the things I look up to. On the gap year I am part of the Challenge Missions Team. Coming from St Peters College, a school well known for their service in the community, service to others was quite normal for me. It’s about helping those who cannot help themselves and I know that I have gotten a lot out of doing missions for those who need help teaching me selflessness, service, compassion, and much more. At the start of this year I moved into a Challenge 2000 Youth House, where I live with a young person, who is going to school in Wellington, away from home. Even though I have only known him for 6 months or so, I feel as if he is my little brother. Living with this young person has taught me a lot about being responsible and being a male role model, and also maturity. Being on the Challenge 2000 Marist Gap Year has taught me a great deal of things and I am very grateful that I was able to do it. I definitely have no regrets coming on this gap year and I would strongly recommend it to school leavers.