559-642-3899 ⋅ info@summitadventure.com
PO Box 498 - Bass Lake, CA 93604
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  • Immersion Service & Adventure Semester
  • College Gap Year
  • Fall Semester Summit
  • Semester Summit Adventure
  • Spring ISAS
  • Summit College Semester
  • Ecuador Semester
  • ISAS Summit
  • College Gap Year Ecuador

Immersion Service & Adventure Semester (ISAS)

The Summit Adventure Immersion Service and Adventure Semester (ISAS) gives college students and gap year participants opportunities to immerse themselves in powerful outdoor adventure and cross-cultural service learning. The High Sierra of Central California and the Andes around Quito, Ecuador provide the settings for academic courses in leadership, communication, spiritual formation, cross-cultural ministry, and outdoor physical education. These courses offer up to 16 credits which can be transferred directly to any student’s college or university. Three months of Christ-centered adventure-based learning and community living in high mountains and foreign cultures will change you forever.

ISAS Program Components

  1. Leadership Education – 3 credit hours
  2. Small Group and Interpersonal Communication – 3 credit hours
  3. Cross-Cultural Ministry – 3 credit hours
  4. Spiritual Formation – 3 credit hours
  5. Outdoor Physical Education – 4 credit hours

Sierra Route   Ecuador Mountaineering   Ecuador Children

This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Serve in a developing nation, climb to 19,000’ in the Andes, backpack and ski in Yosemite National Park, all the while learning about each experience from a Christian academic perspective. When you’re not having classes in Ecuador, living with an Ecuadorian family, or exploring Yosemite, you’ll get to live in Summit Adventure’s Basecamp, a rustic cabin heated by a wood-burning stove. This semester is rigorous in its demands, academically, physically, and spiritually. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

6 weeks at Basecamp in Bass Lake, California

Orientation, Syllabi and Academic Explanation, Classes 4 days a week, Weekend Mini-Expeditions, Community Service with Boys & Girls Club Oakhurst and local churches, Living in Community at Base

6 weeks in and around Quito, Ecuador

Two, 1-week Homestays with Ecuadorian Families, Service at Remanso de Amor and the Happiness Foundation, Exploring Quito and Surrounding Cities, High Altitude Hiking, Backpacking and Mountaineering, Periodic Concentrated Class times, Spanish School, Leadership Internships

3 weeks Expedition-Style

1 week Expedition Planning, 14-18 days Sierra Expedition – backpacking, rock climbing, backcountry navigation, outdoor living skills

1 week of Transition and Semester Culmination before Re-entering “Home”

Immersion programs, service learning, and outdoor adventure are state of the art pedagogical tools that attract and develop today’s college student. In the hands of skilled experiential educators, these approaches to interpersonal and academic growth are unparalleled. Since the fall of 2007, Summit Adventure has woven service learning and outdoor adventure into an off-campus college program designed to develop relationship-building Christian young adults. We call this innovative Christ-centered program ISAS – Immersion Service and Adventure Semester. ISAS will be based in California’s High Sierra and the cities and mountains surrounding Quito, Ecuador.

Thousands of students over the years have come to Summit Adventure demonstrating a glaring lack of proficiency in leadership, interpersonal communication, cross-cultural awareness, spiritual growth and physical fitness. As a result, we are focusing ISAS on these five competencies through the courses listed below. We call these 3-credit courses “pillars” because they are foundational to a student’s ability to build relationships in ministry and life.

ISAS Program Academic Pillars:

1. Leadership Education

Three credit hours, 2-300 level, suitable for equivalent courses in the general education curriculum, electives, or as major courses.

This course will allow each student to develop a coherent personal philosophy of leadership and explore first-hand the challenges of implementing that philosophy in real situations. Critical exploration of a variety of leadership models will be integrated with practical application. Each student will be challenged to think through and develop a distinctly Christian model of leadership. A semester’s worth of expeditions, service, cross-cultural ministry and close knit communal living will help forge a personal philosophy of leadership that corresponds to a Christian worldview and effectively advances the Kingdom of God.

2. Small Group and Interpersonal Communication

Three credit hours, 1-300 level, suitable for equivalent courses in the general education curriculum, electives, or as major courses.

In this course, you will study small group behavior and interpersonal communication within the contexts of current theory, praxis, and Christian community. Course content includes the study of group dynamics, small group leadership, conflict resolution, non-violent communication, and the application of interpersonal interaction theories. Learning occurs in small group travel in mountains, rural settings, and international venues via class discussion, practical experiences, and communal living.

3. Cross-Cultural Ministry

Three credit hours, 2-300 level, suitable for equivalent courses in the general education curriculum, electives, or as major courses.

During this course, students will interact with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. These interactions will help broaden their perspectives on people and cultures different from their own. Students will become more effective witnesses for the Gospel because they have successfully transferred learning about others in different cultures back to home and school. They will see firsthand that the Kingdom of God is not only American and ministry must be undertaken with this global perspective. Language acquisition and home stay weeks in Ecuador are included to broaden the cultural immersion experience.

4. Spiritual Formation

Three credit hours, 1-200 level, suitable for equivalent courses in the general education curriculum, electives, or as major courses.

This course provides a hands-on framework for spiritual growth during ISAS. It will draw heavily on the spiritual disciplines to complement the cross-cultural, service, and adventure learning the students will experience during the semester. Students will have many opportunities to deepen their faith in a variety of individual and corporate settings. This course is intended to be highly practical because walking closely with Jesus Christ involves much more than engaging the intellect- we must involve our hearts and “hands” as well.

5. Outdoor Physical Education

Four credit hours, 1-200 level, suitable for equivalent courses in the general education curriculum, electives, or as major courses.

This course will focus on physical education skills including rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, back country navigation, and wilderness camping. Students will be challenged both physically and mentally as they learn the various skill sets enabling them to become comfortable in the outdoors. The course will take place in the beautiful and rugged high country of the Sierra Nevada, California and the high altitude peaks of the Andes in Ecuador.

How do I receive college credit for the ISAS program?

You’ll be registered as a student at an accrediting school as a “transient” or “special” student. You will receive 16-18 credits (in the following classes: Philosophy of Leadership, Small Group Dynamics & Interpersonal Communication, Spiritual Formation & Faith Development, Cross Cultural Ministry and Outdoor Living Skills) that can then transfer back to your home school. You will want to speak to your Advisor and Registrar to insure the credits will transfer.

What schools currently accept ISAS credits?

Montreat College (North Carolina) and Simpson University (California) both accept credit for ISAS courses, and we are in conversation with several other schools at this time.

Who do I pay for ISAS?

You make payments directly to your accrediting school. Once enrolled as a student at your accrediting school, you will be billed just like every other student. This will allow for a payment plan and/or loans to be submitted.

What does ISAS tuition cover?

Your tuition covers room, board, equipment, and transportation fees. Once you arrive for the semester you will not be expected to pay for those things!

Can I use the financial aid I currently have?

If you have private scholarships and/or loans, yes, these can be transferred to your accrediting school. If you have Federal or State Financial Aid, no, the accrediting school is not allowed to accept that type of aid for “non degree-seeking students. Most school specific Financial Aid (assistance provided by your specific school) will not transfer. If you have school Financial Aid, we highly recommend inquiring if your school can sign a “Consortium Agreement” with Montreat or Simpson. Please call us for more details.

Does Summit offer financial aid?

Summit offers limited scholarships for students needing financial assistance on a case-by-case basis. A copy of your current Financial Aid package will be required for inquiring about Summit scholarships. Call us for more details.

What expenses will I have while in ISAS?

Only your personal expenses (for example, a movie ticket in town or a coffee) and transportation to/from Bass Lake, CA. Depending upon which school you use for credit, you may have to provide your own airfare to/from Ecuador. Via Montreat College this fee is already included.

Where will I live during the semester?

Your main lodging will be at Summit Adventure’s base in Bass Lake, California. You will have a bedroom with a twin bed, dresser, table and lamp. Within base there is a main living area equipped with a wood-burning stove, men’s and women’s bathrooms with showers, a fully-stocked kitchen, and a library. For 6 weeks of the semester, we will live in and around the city of Quito, Ecuador with Ecuadorian families, in mountain huts, and guesthouses. The remaining 3 weeks will be spent in the backcountry of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

What will be provided for me and what do I need to bring?

Bed linens and towels will be provided, and you are welcome to bring a sleeping bag if you have one (rated between 15 and 0 degrees F). Technical backpacking, rock climbing, and mountaineering gear will be provided and you are welcome to bring your personal gear, too. Please see the related “Gear List” for other items.