When I graduated high school I really didn't want to go to college. I didn't want to step into a career at 18 years old, and I REALLY didn't want to mooch off my parents for the rest of my life...So I moved to YWAM Mazatlan, Mexico. Now before you think I'm too crazy, just hear me out! I'm going to give you a few ways to make a gap year matter.
Don't start a gap year without a plan.
When I decided that I was going to do a YWAM DTS, it wasn't a last minute decision. It was a calculated choice. It requires time and effort to raise money and become well prepared for a trip. You also want to know that it is actually what you're supposed to do. As Paul says in Philipians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in all things through prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God."
Focus on learning something from it!
When taking a gap year it's tempting to focus on doing a vacation instead of furthering yourself. When doing a YWAM DTS there's a possibility for you to learn many things as well as travel the world. You have the opportunity to learn a new language, learn a new culture, maybe you'll start writing? Maybe you'll start taking pictures and find that you really like it? The opportunities are endless.
Understand that you have the power to make a difference.
We always think of making a difference as going to Japan to do tsunami relief or cleaning up after the typhoon that hit the Philippines; and don't get me wrong, that is making a difference, but sometimes we can make a difference simply by having a conversation over a cup of coffee. Or flashing a smile in someones direction. Some get recognition, some don't but change is no respector of whether or not we were noticed.
So I hope that you're considering a YWAM DTS for your gap year! I know God certainly moved in my life during my time on DTS.