WHO WE ARE
The Canadian Gap Year Association (CanGap) is a registered non-profit organization filling a gap: support for young people looking for an alternative step in educational and/or career pathways. This involves taking an intentional period of time away from normal routines to discover who you are, who you want to be and what steps it will take to get there: a GAP YEAR. This time can include working, volunteering, travel, exploring, personal development and self-care, career or educational pathway exploration or any other iteration of activities and experiences that will contribute to feeling successful at the end of your gap time.
Our vision is that everyone who chooses the gap year pathway feels confident in their decision, supported by the educational system, societal structures and that the learning that occurs during this time is acknowledged and seen as valuable to their ability to contribute back to society.
Our mission is to remove barriers for Canadian gappers and to bring about societal and educational reform to solidify the value that experiential learning through gap years brings to individuals and society. We are leading the Gap Year Movement for Canadians.
In order to best advance the Gap Year Movement, we support a wide breadth of individuals and organizations. We primarily support gappers, their families, educators, employers, post-secondary institutions, other industry professionals and gap year programs. If you want to be part of this movement, we encourage you to reach out and become a member.
As an organization, we strive to support the Gap Year Movement through 3 pillars:
Connecting funding, researchers, and gappers and conducting research projects specific to the Canadian
gap year experience.
Education and Advocacy
Providing accurate information through in-person and virtual presentations, hard copy and digital print resources and media relations.
Acting as a hub for information and tools for all things gap year-related.
In the early 2000’s Julie Newton and Tara Rinomato, two mothers from Toronto experienced the transformational growth that gap years and travel had on their respective children. They identified that there was no dedicated resources for young people choosing this journey and quickly became the local experts on guiding young people through their gap year. By 2008, they had incorporated mygapyear and launched a formal program that included life coaching and personalized gap year planning. The program evolved to also include Emotional Intelligence assessments and coaching soon after.
Over the years, the team grew and more associated joined the movement and, in 2015, Michelle Dittmer and Madelyn Steed, two long-standing team members took over the leadership when Julie and Tara retired.
mygapyear established itself as the leader in Canadian gap year services and has been featured in numerous publications including the Globe and Mail and McLean’s, and has provided training and information to thousands of Canadian educators, parents and gappers. We have supported hundreds of gappers and their families on their journeys – from the decision to take a gap year, to the planning process, the execution and capturing all of the learning and growth that occurs on a gap year. We have helped these young adults with their successful transitions to next steps.
As gap years gain traction in Canada and the population of gappers grows in size and in breadth, mygapyar realized that we needed to also evolve to support this growing need. Almost a decade later, in 2017, mygapyear made the leap in founding a non-profit, the Canadian Gap Year Association – an organization dedicated to Canada-specific gap year research, education and advocacy and creating and curating gap year resources for Canadian Gappers.
Building on our industry and gapper experience knowledge, the practice of working with thousands of educators, families, gappers and travel/program providers, and the longevity of watching the gap year industry evolve, the Canadian Gap Year Association is well positioned to be the hub for all information and resources related to gap years.