The Act Five Gap Year Program

The 8 month program has been designed to stretch you through new experiences, new places, and new relationships within a Christian community. Out of this year, you will grow beyond what you can imagine in knowing God, learning about yourself, and discerning where you are heading next.

While living together in a large community home, students and Resident Leaders will practice regular rhythms of meals, chores, recreation, adventure, study, mentorship, prayer and worship. The following gives you an overview of Act Five’s 8 month program.

Check out the Act Five Student Handbook for 2024-2025 here.

See a sketch of a year with Act Five below:

Art completed by Julia Lantz, Act Five alumna ’21

To future Act Five students — Be prepared for adventure, challenge, silence & solitude, gourmet food, real conversations, meaningful reflection, fall sunrises, winter sunsets, sun, rain, and yes snow. You will be stretched, you will grow, and you will thrive!

Matthew GrayDirector of Coldwater Canada

To see an up-to-date schedule of events, see the 2024-2025 Schedule.

First Term

The main goals for the first term are to become part of the Act Five community together, to get to know Hamilton and our neighbourhood, and to look at who God has made us to be and what He is inviting us into. We learn to pay attention to God’s voice, to each other, and to the world around us, and we will be challenged by new ideas and experiences.


  • Coldwater Canada Wilderness Canoe Trip
    14 days in Northern Ontario in September, including a nine-day wilderness canoe trip through the beautiful Temagami region.
  • Community Life at Blake St
    Settling into life in community, learning & growing together, exploring Hamilton and around Ontario.
  • Learning from Local organizations & Indigenous Communities
    Opportunities throughout the fall term to engage and volunteer with Hamilton organizations as well as among indigenous partners in Hamilton and on the Six Nations Reserve nearby.
  • Manitoulin Island Learning Trip
    Hosted by DayStar Ministries, take a 5-6 day trip to Manitoulin Island, learning from Indigenous communities including the Wikwemikong First Nation.
  • Academic Courses
    Students will complete Part One of The Six Acts and Stories of Faithfulness, while also completing Place, Home & Land.
    See course descriptions here

Our classrooms go from canoes to the escarpment, from our kitchen table to local waterfalls, listening to literal legends tell us their wisdom — and I'm hoping that I can implement that wisdom into my life somehow.

Arissa VanderburgtAct Five Student — Class of '20

Second Term

The goals for the second term are to live out what we’ve been learning in more active ways – in Hamilton and beyond. We hope students will experience God’s mission locally and globally in ways that will give them a clearer sense of what, how, why and where for life after Act Five.


  • 2-3 week Cross-Cultural Service Trip
    With options to serve in the southern USA with World Renew’s Disaster Response Services, or in Central America with Resonate Global Mission.
    * The exact dates of these trips are yet to be confirmed and will be fundraised by students in addition to program costs.
  • Field Placements
    Students complete a Field Placement over 8 weeks with various local businesses, non-profit organizations, and tradespersons in and around Hamilton. Effort is taken to place students in the first term with a placement site that best fits their interests and future pathways.
  • Coldwater Canada Winter Wilderness Trip
    A 4-5 day camping trip in early March, serving as a mid-term retreat and second wilderness adventure.
  • Coldwater Backpacking trip
    A final backpacking trip with Coldwater Canada hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Academic Courses
    Students will complete Part Two of The Six Acts and Stories of Faithfulness, while also completing Vocation & Praxis.
    View Courses

Other Program Details


Students will be living together on Blake Street in downtown Hamilton, along with two Resident Leaders and 5-6 other young adults (see Act Five’s Residency Program page).

Going Home

While Act Five is an immersive community experience, students will be given specific dates each term where they are invited to return home, as well as a three-week break over Christmas.

Field Placements

Students will work with Act Five staff and outside experts in determining where second-term field placements will be located. Some of these will be within community non-profits. Others will be in placements unique to each student’s interests such as music, business, architecture, healthcare, education, various trades, and more. In most situations, Field Placements will be unpaid.

Alumni Engagement

After students head home, Act Five will continue to support graduates beyond their time at Blake St, through their first summer and year in new places and continuing through upcoming transitions. This will include reunions and continued learning opportunities.

Have more questions? Read the FAQs

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