Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, Mo. teamed up with John Brown University to start a gap year program called Link Year.
This program allows high school graduates ages 18 to 20 to earn 15 credit hours transferable to the University while they attend Link Year at Kanakuk.
Link Year seeks to help high school graduates figure out if college is right for them while also helping them become more driven, well-rounded and giving them a better idea of what they want out of life, explained Matt Reddin, University director of non-traditional programs.
The program is the “brain child” of Adam Donyes according to Reddin. Donyes received his master’s degree from John Brown, so there was already a connection to the University when the idea of Link Year came about.
Reddin explained that the program is great for students who want to take college classes but do not want to commit to a university just yet.
Students do not have to take the 15 credit hour option, however. They can choose to only take the classes Kanakuk offers. These classes are designed to focus on discipleship, growth in maturity both physically and spiritually and on development of relationships.
This year there are 35 students enrolled in Link Year, 13 of whom are taking the 15 credit hours option.
The success of this program is measured differently by each institution involved.
John Brown University determines the success through the number of students who choose to come to the University the following year.
“Is this going to help bring any additional students to campus that otherwise would not have come to JBU?” asked Reddin.
He hopes Link Year will do just that and become one of the “innovat[ive] new ways to recruit students.”
Joe White, Kanakuk Kamp’s CEO, said he sees success through “the transformation of kid’s hearts.”
Success is “seeing their faith come alive,” he continued.
Two students in particular stand out in their success according to Link Year’s creator Donyes.
“The Link Year family sure is proud of Link Year Alumni Connor Baxter, who is not only walking out his faith on the Oklahoma State campus, but also recently set an Oklahoma State wrestling record for the fastest fall in history,” said Donyes.
Another student who is succeeding after the program is a football player at Greenville College.
“Jacob Stull continues to be a leader both on and off the field even as a freshman,” Donyes said.
Reddin said the University will continue to be a part of Link Year for the foreseeable future. They are committed to helping students receive the opportunity to transfer to the University.