What is FOCUS Climate Gap Year?

FOCUS is a hands-on, boots-on-the ground leadership program for young people interested in exploring the world, immersing themselves in climate impacts and solutions, and launching their own academic, personal and professional paths toward action.

When you join FOCUS, you are joining a global network of emerging and established leaders solving the climate crisis and rebuilding democracy.


The roots of FOCUS Climate Gap Year


Focus the Nation

On January 31, 2008, at the height of the presidential primaries, Focus the Nation (FTN) organized the largest teach-in in US history, connecting 1.5 million youth on college campuses with 250 members of Congress to discuss the urgency of climate action. But students wanted more than collegiate activism. They wanted support in committing their civic and professional lives to solving climate and taking action. So between 2010-2013, FTN prototyped a youth engagement model that diversified youth on campuses by building teams of young people interested in careers as STORYTELLERS, TECHNICIANS, POLITICOS and INNOVATORS—and physically hiked them up glaciers losing snowpack, through windfarms changing the grid and coal plants transitioning to biofuels. FTN then helped place these rising climate leaders in solar, energy and community organization jobs across the country. In 2013, FTN placed its mission on hold to re-think its approach to scale and impact. FOCUS Climate Gap Year is an extension of FTN’s mission to “empower a generation to power a nation.” The existing FOCUS Network consists of thousands of youth who participating in FTN’s climate leadership programs between 2007-2013.


Carpe Diem Education

Also in 2008, FOCUS co-founder Ethan Knight launched Carpe Diem Education, a gap year organization that has provided transformational gap year programming to more than 1500 students across 15 countries.  In 2014, Ethan branched out from Carpe Diem to launch the Gap Year Association to establish a new industry standard to certify the quality, safety and operations of the rapidly growing Gap Year movement.