Gap Year – 2020

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What is the Challenge 2000 Gap Year?


The Society of Mary and Challenge 2000 have offered a full time gap year programme based in Wellington since 2007. Each year, eight young people accept the challenge to say “yes” and spend a year at Challenge 2000 developing, growing and serving others in our community.

In 2018, an internship was also integrated to the programme, this gives young people who have recently graduated or about to graduate an opportunity to gain work experience and prepare themselves for the workforce.

It is a one year programme that involves holistic formation, NZQA youth work training, work placements, life experiences, local and at times, international travel. The gap year offers the chance to develop the social, spiritual, intellectual, employment, well-being and physical elements that are required for a positive, successful and balanced life. Each participant has an individual plan to suit their needs and interests, this may include obtaining their drivers licence, first aid certificates, gaining final credits for UE or technology training.

Gap year participants are paid an allowance for the duration of the programme. Participants get the chance to grow, discover and learn with an awesome team of young people who are open to what life has to offer!

To date, 85 people both from around Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad have accepted this invitation and graduated from the programme!

If you are under 20 years of age and want more life experience, an opportunity to serve and to be part of a positive active community, then contact us and apply for our gap year. Each year, there are only 8 places available for gap students and interns.

Previous placements have included the Island of Wallis, Davao in the Phillipines, Chanel College in Apia, Hiruharama, L’Arche, Napier, Toluca in Mexico, Dunedin, LOGOS in Auckland, Okaihau, Palmerston North, Haast and more!

The Challenge 2000 gap year is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young people. In between school and joining the workforce, it offers work experience in an awesome environment, heaps of fun, a placement of your choosing and a NZQA level 3 youth work certificate. Opportunities like this are few and far between!

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What do previous participants say about the programme?

Rimu Goodisson | Gap year 2018
I am really enjoying my gap year so far. This year has allowed me to grow not only professionally as a trainee youth worker, but I have also grown personally. By being open to exploring new things I have never done before and by being surrounded by people with extensive knowledge to share about the strengths and challenges of New Zealand, and the world I have been pushed out of my comfort zone. I have also been lucky enough to go to different types of conferences and talk to other youth workers and youth organisations about ideas that I have around different issues that are troubling the youth of today. Overall I am really enjoying this year and look forward to taking the knowledge I have gained personally and professionally into the world later in life.

Charlotte Jakicevich | Gap year 2017
My year spent on the Challenge 2000 Marist gap year was one where I gained independence and confidence. I learned about the youth and social sector in a wonderful supportive community. It was certainly an adventure of a year, opening my eyes to the hard work of many youth and family agencies across our country, and the injustices that exist for many of our young people.

Jacob Bang | Gap year 2013
Taking the risk and joining the Challenge 2000 Marist gap year programme has been the most pivotal decision in my life. Unsure what to do next after high school, I left Dunedin and joined the gap year programme in 2013. I was convinced that I wasn’t very good with people; working with young people was the last thing I wanted to do or thought that I could do. Throughout the year, I met a diverse range of people from all walks of life who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and ask myself tough questions about what I wanted my life to be about. Both during and after the gap year, Challenge 2000 and the Marists have offered me countless opportunities to grow and to share what I have with others.

Anna Hoskins | Gap year 2013
Looking back now, the Marist Challenge 2000 gap year played a key role in my journey so far. The diversity of experiences, people and challenges that I encountered were so formative in shaping me into the person I am today! The gap year made me aware of my own gifts and talents and provided me with many different ways of expressing them. I have also learned valuable people skills, and learning styles which have benefited me significantly with my university studies and job opportunities. I am so thankful for my time on the Gap year and wouldn’t trade it for any other experience, it is like no other!