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Happy Friends

Show the world your potential.

Take the lead on your journey beyond the classroom as a Student of Leadership and Humanity.

You know that school can only take you so far before you have to figure things out on your own. But that’s what excites you!


You’re brave enough to choose unexplored paths, learn a skill or two, check-in with your needs, and learn from your failures (they are the best teachers after all!) so you can take the lead on your exciting future.


But of course, that takes time, energy, commitment and courage (and that deserves to be recognized!).


The Student of Leadership and Humanity Award is an international, inclusive and non-competitive award that recognizes (and celebrates!) your dedication to yourself and your greater community during your gap year.


In short, our framework validates and certifies the life skills developed and projects implemented during your gap year and helps you stand out from your peers as you work towards stepping into your next chapter as a young adult.

How it works:


Sign-up to complete the 7 program pillars that make up the criteria of the award - you can do this through Gap Year GPS.


Get involved in activities that help you apply the knowledge learned from each pillar. Submit reflections to complete each pillar and receive your digital badges.


Earn the Student of Leadership & Humanity Award and celebrate with your peers at Gap Year Grad!


Showcase your Award on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Impress employers, scholarship panels, and post-secondary admissions department.

How to earn the 7 digital badges that make up the Award:

To become a Student of Leadership and Humanity Award recipient, you need to complete the 7 program pillars that support your personal and professional growth throughout your gap year.


Each pillar is self-paced and includes a reflective submission that encompasses how you’ve absorbed your new learnings and applied them to an activity in real life (that’s right - not just learning, but doing!). 


Your reflective submissions can be fun and creative, allowing you to merge your knowledge with your passions and interests (think photo essay to full-on comic book creation!).

The 7 program pillars and digital badges include:


Project Management

Develop a project that aligns with your goals and values (you’re the leader here - make it as big or small, personal, local or even global as you want!).


Career Planning

Design your future, set milestones, outline action steps, and learn how to navigate ongoing changes throughout your professional journey.


Personal Identity

Start your journey to self discovery by unlocking and embracing the true YOU outside of the classroom and in the real world.


Health & Wellness

Take the lead on your self-care so you can learn what you need to take care of yourself so you can accomplish all your goals.


Financial Literacy

Get started on understanding how money actually works and how to navigate your finances as you grow into your independence.



Learn how to find and connect with the right people that support your professional journey during your gap year and as you enter your career.

NEW Planning - Goal Setting.png

Goal Setting

Identify the key components of a purposeful gap year and build a solid plan that allows you to bring it to life and achieve your goals.

How to leverage your Award:

Person Painting Picture

Your 7 program pillars and digital badges, along with the Student of Leadership & Humanity Award, can be added to your resume and your LinkedIn profile, truly showcasing to the world that you aren’t just talking the talk, you’re walking the walk!


Each badge is embedded with meta-data that highlights what you did to earn the badge, showcasing to employers, recruiters and higher education admission staff just how incredible you really are! It also shares the details of how you used your gap year to discover yourself and the world, and support the achievement of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals when earning your Project Management badge.

So, is this Award for you?

Well, if you’re on this page and you’ve made it to this section, chances are you’re pretty excited about this opportunity (which means this is probably for you!).


But, let’s dive into who will have the most fun and really excel during their gap year with our award framework and requirements.


First, let’s take a look at the basics:


  • You’re ideally a young adult between the ages of 18 and 25

  • You’re excited about meeting like-minded people and connecting with diverse peers, coaches, and mentors throughout your gap year

  • You’re interested in (or totally passionate about!) making the world a better place

This award is DEFINITELY for you if:

  • You want to use your gap year to maximize your experience and level-UP

  • Are open to growth, learning and personal development

  • Want help creating your gap year plan 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!)

This award is probably not for you if:

  • You’re cool with just squeaking by in life and are whatever about leveling up

  • Putting effort into earning the award does not sound fun to you

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

  • You don't need to grow in any way (boo!)


It takes approximately 40 hours to complete all 7 program pillars and you have your whole gap year to complete them. 


Commit anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours a week to earn the award including attending monthly events and workshops between September and June to support your journey.

Happy Friends

What Gappers are saying about earning the Award

Get started with
Gap Year GPS.

Did you know you can pay for CanGap programs by converting your loyalty points (i.e. Aeroplan and American Express) into HigherEdPoints? Click here to learn how!


Got questions?
We got answers!

Q: What is a digital badge?

A: A digital badge is a micro-credential, similar to a certificate that you would earn after completing a workshop, training or course. It validates that you understand a specific competency (i.e. creating a reflective submission that shows you implementing what you learned during the Financial Literacy module to earn the Financial Literacy digital badge), and adds proof to your resume that you worked on building new and/or existing skill. Not only does it show how amazing you are (bragging rights!), digital badges are also very beneficial for building your resume and LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs, internships, scholarships and competitive opportunities.

Q: How long does the certification take to complete?

A: It takes approx. 40 hours to complete the requirements of the Student of Leadership and Humanity Award – but, like most things, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. Our goal is for you to want to spend lots of time on the real life activities that you design based on the tools and materials of this program so that you can maximize your growth, learning and gap year experience.

Q: How much freedom is there to do what I want within the framework of the program?

A: Tons! Earning the Student of Leadership and Humanity Award isn’t about telling you what to do – it’s about opening your eyes to what’s possible and providing the framework and support for YOU to decide which direction to go.

Q: Is the Award for Canadians only?

A: No! Though we are a Canadian non-profit, we welcome participants from around the globe. Depending on your location, your certification will be issued either through our organization (The Canadian Gap Year Association) or our partner organization the US-based Gap Year Association.

Q: Is this program for me if I don’t want to travel or need/plan to work on my gap year?

A: Absolutely. Whether you plan to travel, volunteer, work – or some combo of these, the Gameplan is ideal for you.

Q: Do I need to know what I’m going to do on my gap year before enrolling?

A:  No! In fact, the first step inside the portal is to help you understand your options and create your gap year plan (so it’s almost BETTER if you’re not sure what you want to do yet!).

Q: What do I have to do to receive my Student of Leadership and Humanity Award?

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

  1. Submit an intentional and thoughtful gap year plan

  2. Complete five required reflections related to the program pillars.

  3. Design and implement one independent project.

Q: Are there age restrictions?

A: No. We welcome participants at any stage of life but most of our students are between the ages of 17 and 25.

Q: Can I get one-on-one help if I need it?

A: Yes! GPS includes 12 months of 30-minute one-on-one sessions with a gap year coach. If you require additional support, we recommend you enroll in one of our gap year coaching programs.

Q: What if I don’t complete the requirements of the certification?

A: You won’t receive your Student of Leadership and Humanity Certificate, but will have benefited from any of the activities you choose to participate in.

Q: What measures are in place to keep participants on track?

A: There are lots of ways we keep participants motivated and moving forward including scheduled live (online) events, check-ins and encouragement through our online community and automatic reminders when you haven’t accessed the course in a while or hit a particular milestone.

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

A: We're just around the corner from launching our Digital Badge Program which gives experiential learning programs and organization the ability to align their programs to our digital badge criteria, support more young adults in earning the Student of Leadership and Humanity Award. To learn more and express interest, click here.

Q: My parent is going to sign me up. How do I provide you my information once they do?

A: It’s often parents who do the actual enrolling – which is just fine. They should input their own information and yours during the check-out process. Once that’s complete, you'll receive details to your email about how to access the Accelerator and next steps.

Q: How can I use my award and digital badges?

A: You will receive a digital certificate as well as badges that can be used on LinkedIn and your resume to help you get into post-secondary programs and find meaningful employment.

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