When it comes to a gap year, you want one that doesn't leave you in the gap. As the name suggests the PNEUKLEUS program is drawn up to impact from the outermost part of you right to centre of what makes you, you. This is exactly what PNEUKLEUS is directed at: a clear constructive and significant year of growth and self-discovery. Since PNEUKLEUS' inception in 2010 there have been many young adults entering unsure and insecure and finishing with a clearer sense of where they were headed and who they are.
Overall, PNEUKLEUS is a year of service where we teach the student to represent the servant heart of Christ. As we also believe strongly in being a helping hand in community development, we use any opportunity to serve as volunteers in outreach programs either initiated by Pneumatix or the local community.
You may wonder what the name of the gap year is about: PNEUKLEUS
The word: Pneu comes from the Greek work Pneuma. And that means “breath or spirit of a person.” And in the Christian sense: the Spirit of God. Then we merged that with the word: Nucleus – to give you Pneukleus. The nucleus of something is the central and most important part. So this leaves us with the implication of Pneukleus: “the breath of God at the centre of us.” And then that leads us to the scripture: “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4: 23)
All of our lives begin from the centre of our being, where God is. And thus all that we do throughout the gap year stems from that solid foundation.
The course has seven focus areas:
If the gap year had to be summed up in one word that would be: growth. You will grow during the gap year! This growth is in various forms: Growing closer to God. Growing in a better understanding of who you are. Connecting with others in a better way. Awakening the wanderlust inside of you. And moving forward in your God given design. Are you ready for that?
Our purpose is to evoke the spirit of the courageous pioneer in each PNEUKLEUS student. We will accomplish this through a number of travel, adventure, individual and group challenges. Through these the student will develop a strong sense of identity, decision making skills and a high level of independence.
Examples of some of the more exciting adventure activities include: surfing lessons, firearm training, walking up the iconic Table Mountain and Lions Head. We also visit the trendy Zeitz MOCAA gallery at the Waterfront. Other experiences include: The Robben Island tour, Two Oceans Aquarium, The Chris Barnard Museum and exploring Kirstenbosch Gardens.
We want to awaken the wanderlust and adventure-spirit in each student so we do not confine our activities to just the Helderberg region but target areas across the Western Cape, from the west coast through to the forests of Tsitsikamma.
“Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.”
During this part of the program there will be a lot of opportunity for feedback on the other aspects of the program, for instance Growth sessions, Adventure and Enhance, that will challenge the mind-set and paradigm of each student, essentially broadening their personal frame of reference.
The concepts of “finding their voice”, developing the ability of independent and challenging thought and self-confidence is enhanced. This entails a lot of group work, sharing, individual research and presentations to the group.
This part of the program also consists of individual coaching sessions, self-awareness and self-discovery workshops as well as aptitude assessments with the specific outcomes aimed at furthering self-understanding and personal growth.
Life at Pneumatix will include individual coaching sessions too. A variety of tools and techniques are used with an aim towards helping students identify and achieve personal goals. Students are held accountable for their personal goals and commitments by a Student Coach who is dedicated to walking a mentorship path with the student through their 10-month PNEUKLEUS journey.
At Pneumatix one is not just a student number. But a person who’s name and story are known.
We live in a “Y generation!” We are aware that a lot of students are asking big questions such as “Y me?” and “Y God?” We are not afraid to explore these questions and discuss them. Behind the “Y generation” and all their questioning is a longing to know “Y are they here”? And perhaps some wonder: “Y would God care for me?”
So central to PNEUKLEUS is spiritual formation and development which translates into activities centred on forming an active relationship with God and developing a sound understanding thereof.
PNEUKLEUS aims to guide the candidate through many of life's spiritual questions and challenges, focusing on aspects such as who God is and the elements that comprise a healthy spiritual relationship with Him. Apart from being filled with spiritual truth the candidate is also given the chance to celebrate their spirituality by means of community projects that are supported by means of serving opportunities and national tours to schools and other institutions.
This aspect of the PNEUKLEUS year is essentially discipleship and mentorship training. These both impart fundamental Christian principles into the student, while equipping the student to disciple and mentor others. This takes place mostly in a lecture-room environment, which will also ready the student for further studies at a university or college. This aspect of the PNEUKLEUS year is also aimed at stimulating them intellectually.
PNEUKLEUS also joins in with the activities of PNEUMATIX such as chapel, impartation and other moments to connect with and yearn for God.
Enhance is that part of the program to where the PNEUKLEUS student is exposed to different career fields by means of career exposure, job shadowing and additional courses.
Career exposure: In today's world it is critical that one makes the correct career choice and for the right reasons. Because of this one of the key factors in the program is exposing students to the theory and practical side of as many career fields as possible within the 29 week course length. We realise that when a scholar finishes school they are faced with so many job possibilities and at that stage of their life, some may have not decided on which direction they would like and should to take.
The PNEUKLEUS (gap year) student will have the opportunity to learn the realities and opportunities pertaining to career fields from a number of different industry specialists and various institutions. Example of careers explored: Theology, Psychology, Events Management, Agriculture, Filming, Photography, Health and Nutrition, Hospitality and Hotel Industry, Geology and Earth Sciences, Law, Medicine, and Education.
Job shadowing: The student will be given the opportunity to shadow different industry specialists of their choice for a day or two during the last week of the 2nd term. It is hoped that through this, final career and study choices can be made.
Courses: Opportunities will be introduced in the later part of the year for students to attend certain courses. At the very least these courses will go towards improving their employability in temporary positions while they study at a college or university. Examples of these courses are: first aid, dance and drama.
All this is done with the aim of giving the student enough hands-on exposure to career fields so that they may be able to make an informed career choice, while equipping them for a life at a tertiary study institution.
By JUNE the student will have to start thinking about registering for the coming years’ studies at a tertiary institution. For this reason the course focuses heavily on career skills and career guidance, assessing the students with an aptitude assessment and coaching them in the process of formulating their top career choices and the application to the relevant training institution.
2017 introduced an overseas trip to Argentina to the gap year programme. The point of this trip is to explore more of the world and experience a new culture. The trip will also involve some ministry opportunities abroad.
This part of the program is all about becoming life-fit and resilient. Therefore it entails “life skills” and physical health.
Life skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike professional skills, which are about a person's professional skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity. Soft skills relate to a person's ability to interact effectively with co-workers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace.
In all the other aspects of the program we deal with the emotional, intellectual and spiritual state of the PNEUKLEUS student. Therefore some attention needs to be drawn to the physical health of the student to contribute to their well-rounded development.
What does the Pneukleus year look like?
In no particular order, here are the activities we are involved in throughout the year: