The Program

The 7+ month program has been designed to stretch you through new experiences, new places, and new relationships within an intensive 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 7+ month program.

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

In light of Covid-19, the following program elements may be shifted as needed. Note that Act Five is confident in carrying out its mission for 2020-2021.  To see an up-to-date schedule of events, see

First Term

The goal for the first term is to become a community together. We will learn to pay attention to God, to each other, and to the world around us, and to experience and be challenged by new things, new people and new places.


  • Coldwater Canada wilderness trip
    14 days in Northern Ontario in September, including a nine-day wilderness canoe trip through the beautiful Temagami region.
  • Learning among First Nations communities
    Opportunities throughout the fall term to visit and engage with various First Nations communities.
  • Two options for a four-week cultural exchange and service trip in November:
    • Travel to Zambia with EduDeo Ministries, integrating elements of school construction, classroom interactions with local students, time in local villages and communities, and a Safari visit. The amount needed to be raised or paid will be approximately $3600-$4000.
    • Travel to southern Texas to serve with World Renew’s Disaster Response Services, working on relief projects in communities struck by recent natural disasters, while engaging in the local culture, learning about border relations, and exploring the beauty of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. The amount needed to be raised or paid for this will be approximately $1500-$1800.

These trips are subject to change and shift to the second term in light of current Covid-19 restrictions.

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

Second Term

The goal for the second term is to put learning into practice within the city and church of Hamilton. We hope students can taste the joys of participating in God’s mission in local and daily ways, while developing a clearer sense of what, how, and why they are going to do whatever it is that lies ahead of them after Act Five.


  • Opening Coldwater winter retreat
    A weeklong January trip with Coldwater Canada, integrating elements of retreat as well as “hot tent” camping.
  • Road Trip & Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh
    A weeklong trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania, spending time learning, resting & adventuring, culminating with the Jubilee Conference.
  • Field Placements
    1-2 Field Placements over the course of 8 weeks with various local business, non-profit organizations, and tradespersons in and around Hamilton.
  • Coldwater Backpacking trip
    A final backpacking trip with Coldwater Canada hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail.
  • Home Tour
    A commitment to support students once they head home at the conclusion of Act Five by visiting their homes, and sharing stories at school chapels or local churches.
  • Academic Courses
    Students will complete two courses: Vocation & Praxis and Stories of Faithfulness.
    View Courses

Other Program Details


Students will be living together on Blake Street in downtown Hamilton, along with three Resident Leaders.

Going Home

While Act Five is an immersive community experience, students will be given an extended reading break each term 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.

Have more questions? Read the FAQs