Do Life Differently.

Learn, Grow, Contribute.

Be Recognized.

Research shows that a gap year is one of the best things you can do for your health, wellbeing and future prospects – and we can help you make the most of yours.


The Student of Leadership & Humanity Award will set you apart from your peers who accept the status quo. 

It is a framework to designing your purposeful gap year. 

The Award provides milestones to mark the transformation you experience through all of your gap year adventures. 

It showcases your life experience beyond a classroom and proves to the world that you have got what it takes to succeed in life and leave this world a better place.

Grow Through Life Lessons During Your Gap Year

This resource will help you successfully navigate different experiences through the core pillars of our program to help you be the well-rounded adult you’re already becoming.

Why sign up for the award?

  • Ensure that your gap  year is memorable & purposeful

  • Broaden your skills & your impact on society

  • Increase motivation & track progress

  • Improve post-secondary & career prospects

How Does The Award Process Work?​

  • STEP ONE: Register

    Jump on board with us and commit to making this a year that moves you forward towards your life goals and puts you in the driver's seat of your success.  

  • STEP TWO: Get Access & Attend an Orientation

    When you sign up, we will give you access to our portal of resources that will help you on your journey to completing the Student of Leadership & Humanity award.  You will also receive an orientation package that will make sure you are set up for success!

  • STEP THREE: Experience Life on your Gap Year

    Equipped with the knowledge of what you need to do to achieve your award, head out and experience life to its fullest, with the knowledge that each experience is moving you closer to your award.

  • STEP FOUR: Complete Your Forms

    The proof is in your submissions!  To earn each component of the Award, complete the guiding questions in any format that speaks to you - written, photo essays, spoken word, video, comic book-style.

The Student of Leadership and Humanity Certificate is presented to all applicants who:


  1. Submit an intentional and thoughtful gap year plan
  2. Complete five required reflections related to the focus areas of the program (see image)
  3. Design and implement one independent project


Gappers who complete these requirements will be issued digital badge and certificate through the Gap Year Association.  This award can be displayed on LinkedIn and/or your resume.


Humanity & Leadership - it's right in the name. Your gap year will take you on a journey to discover more about yourself and the world around you.  There will be things you like and things you'd like to change about both! 


One of the Award's pillars is an exciting call to action! Make a dent in one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (see image below).  While you likely won't irradicate world hunger, you can make a positive impact on the issues of your choosing.


This isn't anything like a school project. This is an opporunity to leave your mark and a way to make a contribution NOW.  You already have enough knowlege, experience and skills to have a positive impact.  You are in full control and this is how:

  • ISSUE: Change what isn't working

    There is no shortage of work to be done to make this world a better place.  In your lifetime we have seen the realities of the climate crisis, racism, gender inequality and so much more! While you won't solve the issue on your own, you learn how to positively contribute to one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (see image below). It's your choise if you want to address the issue at a local, regional, national or international level.

  • STRENGTHS BASED: Use your gifts and talents

    You can make a difference with the gifts, talents and skills you have right now.  Are you an artist? Into coding? A strong leader? Good at writing? Good with people? A good listener?  We will show you how to leverage your best to have the greatest impact.

  • SCOPE: Large or Small

    All contributions are valid.  Some participants choose to make this a major cornerstone of their gap year while others choose to limit it to a weekend project.  It's your project. It's your impact.  It's your choice.

  • PROJECT DESIGN: From paper to action

    Equipped with the resources you need, you get to decide how you will make your mark.  Will you fundraise? Advocate for policy change? Work on the front lines? Raise awareness? There are no limits for you!


Max B

2019 Gapper

You only get out what you put in.

For me, it was trying to think about how I could make the most of this year... Just having people around you to give you guidance, so you can go to when you need help.  For me that was lots of people, not just one person.  The entire gap year was really good at helping me build my confidence.

Hayley M.

2014 Gapper

Best. Decision. Ever

My gap year helped me feel more independent and confident in myself before facing a new adventure in university... I got the chance to identify my strengths and values and then see them in the real world, whether it was at work or traveling. It was such a great choice - I wish I could do it again.

Mary B.

Mother of Twin 2019 Gappers

There is no need to go at this alone.

We had that 30,000 foot idea of what a gap year would look like, but you were instrumental to have the tools to zeroing down to what that gap year would actually look like.

Hey parents (this section is for you)!

We know the thought of your child taking a pause can be scary, and that watching your kid go on a different path than many of their peers can make you nervous. But a gap year is actually one of the very best things they can do for themselves and their future prospects – if they do it right.


Through the Student of Leadership and Humanity Award we’re here to provide your child with tools they need to make their gap year a productive and meaningful experience. By joining the award program, they’ll end the year with something tangible (great for resumes, post-secondary applications, and their confidence) to show for all the growth, learning and self-discovery that is sure to happen along the way.

We understand a parent’s desire to be in the loop, that’s why we’ve created an onboarding experience just for you. It’s designed to give you a peek into the system, including an overview of the expectations of the program and resources to support your gapper.


In other words, we’ve got you.

Is this Award Right for Me?

This is a flexible, ‘choose your own adventure’-style membershiop that will provide the framework and support you need to make the most of your year regardless of why you’re taking it or how you plan to spend it.


We provide the tools, you live your best year ever.


  • Want to use your gap year to mazimize your gap year experience and level-up your impact on the world.

  • Are open to growth, learning and personal development

  • Want help creating your own gap year framework and/or staying on track throughout the year

  • Want to travel and/or volunteer and/or work (any/all of the above can be part of your plan!)


  • You like to just squeak by in life and don't want to level-up

  • You aren’t willing to put some effort into the award - this is a prestigious award, it is not given out to everyone

  • Completing tasks independently is a challenge for you (we will guide you, but you need to own it and want it)

  • You already have ‘all the answers’ and don't need to improve in any way 🤪

Start Today! Choose Your Plan Below.

We can't wait to support you and honor the amazing things you will do on your gap year!


Perfect for The Lone Wolf:

Get access to all the resources to DIY the award.



Access to:

  • Online Portal of Resources

  • Video Resources

  • DIY Activities

  • Award Submission Forms

Enhanced Support

Perfect for Community Cravers:

Get the resources + a community to support you.



Access to DIY Plus:

  • Access to a private Discord Server to chatting with others & experts

  • Monthly Professional Workshops (virtual)

  • Monthly Virtual Social Events

  • Priority Access to other Gap Year Events


Curious about The Student of Humanity & Leadership Award but are wondering a few things?

Click below to read through the questions we get most.

How long does it take to complete the Award?

How can I use my Award ?

Are there age/citizenship requirements ?

Do I have to go abroad to earn the award?

I am a gap year program or college/university and I want to be involved. How can I ?

Who is issuing this Award ?

Canadian Gap Year Association Inc.

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