A Gap Year Anchored by Christ-Centered Community

Growing in Community

vanguard katherine smiling

Katherine Lehn '17

"I grew up a lot during Vanguard, I grew into a faith and a way of being in relationships with people that has entirely changed who I am."

vanguard duncan holds his kayaking gear

Duncan Frost '18

"I didn't expect everyone to get so close so quickly, which was really cool. I learned how to live in a close-knit community, solve problems, and build close relationships."

Vanguard Chan smiles

Chan Woo '18

"God definitely met me through the people I met here. It was huge. They were so caring...a positive influence."

Community Life

It is a life-changing experience to journey through a year with a small group of committed people. You will be known and cared for in ways you've never expected. You'll see your strengths and weaknesses in a new light. You will learn that love is a choice, not only a feeling. 

You'll walk away from the year with a new understanding of community - how to cultivate it, how to work through it, and how when done well, it builds God's kingdom here on earth. Continue reading to hear from Vanguards and their take on the Vanguard community.

Who Lives at HoneyRock?

student teaching student orienteering


Fellows are a team of recent college graduates who live with, work alongside, and disciple Vanguards. They live on the same floor, share all of their meals, and participate in many of the activities and events. 

leader mentoring vanguard

Graduate Students

Our graduate students are established and emerging ministry professionals who live and work at HoneyRock while pursuing a Masters in Outdoor and Adventure Leadership (OAL MA) from the Wheaton College Graduate School.

professional staff leading morning devotionals

Professional Staff

Our team of 20+ professional staff, work at HoneyRock year-round, lead Graduate Students and Fellows. They represent a diverse background - 10+ states, 15+ areas of undergraduate/graduate study, and varied personal interests. 

Where Do Vanguards Live?

During their time at HoneyRock, Vanguard Gap Year students live in one of two dorm-style buildings nestled in the beauty of the Northwoods.

charlie goeke at vanguard

You're invited!

We want to get you connected with our community.

Email Charlie, Vanguard Program Director

Choosing to Love

vanguard joseph

Joseph Sawyer '16

I learned that the more you get to know someone, the more you get the love them. It proves that loving someone is a choice. You can choose to love the people you're around as long as you're committed. It takes a lot of work, but it solved this deeper-rooted issue for me, that longing to be loved. That was a lot of it - knowing that I can love others well and knowing that I can love myself the way that I am.

Vanguard Alaina sits and talks by the fire

Alaina Armstrong '19

"A big takeaway was just like, being able to love people who are different from me. Not a disingenuous love, but really deep love and care...Vanguard provided a really good community helped me to love those who are different from me."

vanguard brian smiles

Brian Keller '19

"Vanguard taught me how to care. For myself and for others. I was at a point where I didn’t really care about myself anymore. But the way it’s designed…you learn to love people you might not like. For most of my life, I had avoided that. It was like, if I didn’t like someone I wasn’t going to spend time with them. Therefore, I never learned how to love people who weren’t similar to me."

"I think a huge outcome for me was a greater understanding of relationships - a lot of growth in relational maturity. It helped a lot with an awareness of self, an awareness of others, and how I can resolve conflict." — Morgan McDonnell, Vanguard '17