Many of our Calleva alumni started their adult life with a Calleva-style “gap” experience. Whether they were with Calleva after college or at some point during their college experience (or all of the above!), these bright individuals will tell you that Calleva was a hugely influential in their earlly adult life. Our alumni have gone on to build careers in outdoor education, the health care professions, sales, finance, or engineering, and many say their Calleva experience helped prepare them for success.
Dave “Brokeback” Harding … Calleva Director
I started my journey with Calleva back in 2007 and have spent my time here in an unending evolution, building new skills and facing fun new challenges every year. My initial Calleva Gap Year turned into a career of its own, giving me the opportunity to grow and develop into the person I am today. From basic construction to outdoor guiding to staff management and wilderness first aid, I’ve gained lots of skills that have been useful in my life as a dad, artist, homeowner, teacher, and true jack-of-all-trades.
Lane Kurkjian … Engineer
My first experience at Calleva was the summer between high school and college and, looking back, it was a definitive pivot point for me. It’s a different type of success to figure something out rather than being told how to do it. It’s also way more fun! At Calleva, I learned that I really love figuring things out and that I value being around people with curiosity and a certain intensity. As both an outdoor professional and civil engineer, those two things still hold true—that intersection of interesting people and creative problem solving has enriched me as a person and as a professional.
Chris “Big Tic” Poticny … Construction Sales & Project Management
Calleva taught me the value of being able to seamlessly adapt between plan a, b, c, d and e and not get stuck on one way to do things. I learned to think outside of the box and come up with my own solutions to common problems. Good communication has been a constant in my professional life and it was also essential to nearly every job I worked at Calleva. I developed the ability to communicate effectively, lead my teams, and run safe and effective programs in the outdoors. I didn’t realize how much of the soft skills I learned and fostered at Calleva would be used in my daily professional life and I’m grateful for that.
Olivia Murphy … Gap Program Lead
Growing up, my parents reinforced the “do it yourself” model of living – from cooking from scratch and sewing, to blacksmithing, home repair, and more. When I started working with Calleva as a teenager, I really felt at home because this same lifestyle model was in play. To be amongst a community of doers, who will not be held back by any challenge, but instead look for the solution to any problem, is a truly amazing experience. I continually learn new skills every day and I am so excited to share this experience with young adults looking to grow in the world around them!
This fall, Calleva’s first official Gap Year students will learn how to structure and execute projects in culinary arts, woodworking, automotive mechanics, agriculture, and – of course – outdoor adventure! Our Gap grads will come away with a greater sense of self & self-sufficiency, a strong set of life skills, and a solid group of new friendships – all of which will enrich their lives for years to come!