The Logan County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Bellefontaine Grace Church and several local businesses to come up with a new concept, LoCo Gap Year.
LoCo Gap Year is a 12-month faith, character, and career development program for recent high school graduates. The program is designed for 17 to 20-year-olds who aren’t quite sure if they are ready to make the commitment to a 4-year college, and have graduated from high school. The program runs for one complete year.
Participants will live together in the LoCo Gap Year house, gain valuable career experience by working a full-time job in the community, and be invested in spiritually by church and local faith leaders.
Taking a holistic approach, program director Ben Vollrath says the object is to live, learn, and work in our cultivating community. Vollrath plans for the participants to discover what they love to do and have the funds after the program to seek it out. In the final months of the program, the team will work closely with participants to figure out their next steps – continued employment at their local workplace, choosing a new career locally, heading home for employment, or preparing to go to college or the military.
By working full-time at program partner businesses, participants will receive on-the-job training in a career field of their choosing. They will also earn money to use for their next step in life and ministry. Depending on their personal spending habits, this program allows the average individual to leave the program with $15,000-$18,000 in their pocket for their next endeavor.
Every month during the program participants will actively be developing leadership skills by helping plan and run service projects to shape community direction and share faith. These will include things such as a downtown Christmas event, an annual “Night Market” missions fundraiser, and a vacation bible school. Additionally, there will be regular access to the leaders of Logan County to see, hear, and engage with them on the issues the community is facing. Monthly meals in the homes of community and faith leaders will further offer a unique opportunity to directly learn from the experience of those who have been around the block.
Participants will be immersed in a local biblical community at Bellefontaine Grace Church (BGC) for the purpose of helping shape them by God’s Word. Individual faith leaders at BGC will intentionally pour into participants through one-on-one discipleship and small group study and will be challenged to not only grow in their knowledge of God’s Word, but also how to live this out in their workplace, relationships, and the community as a whole.
Living with other recent graduates in the same stage of life will provide a college-like community that allows participants to build meaningful and lasting relationships. Sharing the joys and struggles of full-time employment, having roommates, cooking their own food, and living away from home is all part of the program.
The LoCo Gap Year house is located ½ mile south of vibrant downtown Bellefontaine and is just a short walk or bike ride from downtown that gives access to local coffee shops, delicious bakeries, ice cream, barbeque, Mexican, burgers, smoothies, pizza, Chinese food and more! On the entertainment side of things, participants will enjoy axe throwing, laser tag, indoor mini-golf, and nationally acclaimed musical performances at the Historic Holland Theatre.
For more information or to sign up for LoCo Gap Year, please visit: https://www.logancountyohio.com/locogapyear.html