Every church needs to send a few young leaders to Trailhead. Your students and your church will forever be changed.
Chap Clark, Fuller Theological Seminary

Like nothing I’ve seen before, Trailhead moves young people beyond a fragile, simplistic faith and equips them for a resilient, sustainable life of discipleship.
Mark DeVries, Ministry Architects


Embark on a life of significance

At Trailhead, you’ll explore how faith can guide your future as you attend college, pursue a career, and seek to make a difference in the world. In an on-campus summer residency and yearlong mentorship, discover some of the ways that faith, education, and work can be united in a life of significance.

Choose one residency session:

June 16-23, 2018 (one-week session)

June 25-July 6, 2018* (two-week session)

Year of Mentorship: June 2018-May 2019

Eligibility: Rising high school sophomores through seniors

*Two units of optional college credit are available for the two-week session (eligibility limited to rising juniors and seniors).

Our Vision

Life can seem like a treadmill. We see it as a trail.

College preparation often feels like a process of hoop-jumping that leaves us exhausted and unfulfilled. But the future can be a journey of exploration. At Trailhead, we chart the territory ahead with curiosity, creativity, and openness to God’s surprising and delightful call on our lives.

We sometimes feel alone. But we can journey together.

Our culture encourages us to think about life as solitary and competitive. But God’s call is to the church, and not just to individuals. At Trailhead, we can be ourselves in community as we discover, worship and serve together.

We often feel lost and unprepared. But we have guides and equipment for living.

The future’s a place we’ve never been—it can be intimidating. But as we seek God’s call, we grow in knowledge and gain mentors who are further along the trail. At Trailhead, we acquire the tools, experiences, and relationships we’ll need to persevere in pursuit of God’s call.

The Program

In an on-campus summer residency and yearlong mentorship, join a community of scholars, pastors, and other professionals in exploring God's call to a meaningful life.


Experience an intensive time of learning, reflection, and service at Westmont College and in the Santa Barbara area.

  • Discover new ways of thinking about faith, school, and career as you consider how the Christian message might be relevant to your academic interests and concerns for the world.
  • Engage world-class faculty from Westmont College and Fuller Seminary.
  • Visit sites in the Santa Barbara area that reveal pressing needs in our social and natural world.
  • Be inspired by entrepreneurs, non-profit professionals, pastors and other community partners—faithful disciples living out their callings to combat poverty, end environmental degradation, promote social justice, and more.
  • Be empowered to discern and follow God's call, gaining practical tools for understanding yourself and your vocation.
  • Join us for one residency session next summer:
    • June 16-23, 2018 (one-week session) OR
    • June 25-July 6, 2018 (two-week session)


Through two mentoring relationships—one with Trailhead faculty and one with an adult in your church or school—begin building a community of support as you embark on your journey.

  • In online small-group gatherings, enjoy a year of ongoing interaction with Trailhead faculty, who will help you think through how the program can inform your next steps. Reconnect with your friends as you resume conversations, check in, and continue to tune in to God’s call.
  • In regular meetings with an adult mentor from your church or school, consider how the lessons of the Trailhead experience are playing out in your church and community.

For Churches and Schools

Westmont College, Fuller Seminary, and the Lilly Endowment are committed to cultivating a new generation of Christian servant leaders by partnering with churches and schools to support and extend your work with youth. Find out more about how your organization can be involved by downloading our Trailhead Partnership Packet.

Trailhead Partnership Packet

How to Apply

How to Apply

  • All applications must be accompanied by a nomination from a pastor or high school teacher. Pastors and teachers, please submit your nomination online . We’d also invite you to download our Trailhead Partnership Packet to learn more about how our program can be an asset to your ongoing ministry.
  • Students, please apply via this form. You’ll be asked to provide the name and contact information of a pastor or teacher who can supply a nomination; we ask that you be personally in touch with that nominator prior to submitting the application.
  • Through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, we’re able to significantly subsidize the cost of the Trailhead experience. The fee per participant is $750 for the one-week session, or $1,200 for the two-week session. We recommend that, when possible, congregations and schools share this cost with families—through support-raising, direct scholarships, or other means—as a mutual investment in the vocational development of their young people.
  • Trailhead offers a limited number of scholarships to families and congregations with exceptional need. Please inquire at trailhead@westmont.edu.

Trailhead Partnership Packet

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dates?

We offer the choice of two residency sessions in 2018.

Our one-week session begins the afternoon of Saturday, June 16 and concludes Saturday morning, June 23.

Our two-week session begins the afternoon of Monday, June 25 and concludes before lunch on Friday, July 6.

Who can apply?

Students graduating from high school in 2019, 2020, and 2021 (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are eligible to apply.

Can I earn college credit by participating in Trailhead?

Yes. For an additional fee, rising high school juniors and seniors participating in the two-week residency have the option of enrolling in "Christian Calling in Contemporary Society," a Westmont course that extends the Trailhead experience and earns two units of college credit. Contact us at trailhead@westmont.edu for additional details.

How much does Trailhead cost?

The cost for 2018 is $750 for the one-week residency (June 16-23) or $1,200 for the two-week residency (June 25-July 6). This cost covers all activities and meals on campus; students are responsible for travel to and from Trailhead. Limited financial aid is available for students with exceptional need. Please contact us for more information.

How and when can I apply?

We are now accepting student applications and pastor/teacher nominations. Both an application and nomination are required, and we offer admission on a rolling basis until the program is full.

Where will students live?

Program participants will live in a Westmont residence hall; a professional resident director will oversee undergraduate resident assistants who live on campus with students.