Published: Fall 2016 in College News

Trailhead Helps High Schoolers Find a Calling

A two-week summer program and ongoing mentorship encourage students to discover how faith can guide their future. 

Westmont has received a $590,400 grant to establish Trailhead: Seeking God’s Call, part of the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes program. Trailhead encourages
young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lead lives of service.

“Westmont wholeheartedly shares Lilly Endowment’s desire to nurture the intellectual aptitudes and interests of religiously serious young people,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “We’re committed to sustaining an exploratory, reflective spirit in our students.”

In a two-week summer residency and yearlong mentorship, high school students join a community of scholars, pastors, and other professionals in exploring God’s call to a meaningful
life. At Westmont and in the Santa Barbara area, they engage in learning, reflection, and service in the summer. Two ongoing mentoring relationships—one with Trailhead faculty and one
with an adult in their home congregation— help them build a community of support. The program, open to rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students, starts in summer 2017. To apply or learn more, see

“Life can seem like a treadmill, but we see it as a trail,” says Chris Hoeckley, director of the Gaede Institute, which developed the program. “We chart the territory ahead with curiosity, creativity, and openness to God’s surprising and delightful call. We provide the tools,
experiences, and relationships needed to persevere in pursuit of God’s call.”

Faculty from Westmont and Fuller Theological Seminary will teach in the program. Students will consider how the Christian message relates to their academic interests and concerns for
the world.

Westmont and Fuller, along with 40 other institutions nationwide, join the Lilly Endowment in cultivating a new generation of Christian servant leaders by connecting with churches
to support and extend their work with youth.


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