Our Mission

For more than a decade, Perkins School of Theology has invested in the lives of youth through summer theology programs. These programs are designed to foster an interest in young people for theological inquiry, and nurture youth in their vocational discernment and leadership development.


Held in the gorgeous San Juan Mountains near Durango, Colorado, Trek Youth Academy guides high school youth through the Biblical, theological, and social implications of eight “mountains of God” found in Scripture all while experiencing outdoor adventure activities (rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, and hiking) with the support of a diverse community.


The primary goal of Trek Youth Academy is to offer high school youth an intensive program of critical theological inquiry. Within a space that lays a foundation for safe, affirming, and liberating exchange to nurture the voices of emerging young leaders, the program aims to:

  • Invite youth to develop and sharpen skills for theological interpretation and critical discourse.
  • Encourage youth to draw upon their Christian theological traditions to acknowledge the blessings and challenges of their faith communities.
  • Provide tools to youth for navigating the metanarrative of Scripture with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.
  • Cultivate a safe, diverse, affirming community where youth can explore and develop practices for nurturing their own spirituality and faith formation.
  • Challenge youth to engage in social practice as agents of hope, reconciliation and justice-seekers.
  • Affirm and support the voices and vision of young people.
  • Offer youth a combination of intensive theological study and guided experiences of process learning about themselves and the world around them.


  • Trek Youth Academy is a proud part of the Lilly Youth Theology Network, a consultation network made possible with generous support from the Lilly Endowment Inc..
  • 35% of the schedule is spent in classroom experiences, 35% of the schedule is spent in outdoor adventure activities (rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, and hiking), and 30% of the schedule is spent practicing spiritual disciplines (worship, Covenant small groups, prayer, and devotional study).
  • Youth will begin their Trek journey on the campus of SMU Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas and travel by charter bus to Durango, Colorado for the week.
  • The registration cost ($335 per student) covers all expenses for the entire experience (transportation, all meals, snacks, lodging, activities, books, and t-shirt).
  • Perkins provides over 80% of the trip’s cost through generous donations. The student registration fee is only $335 and covers 100% of costs for Trek.
  • Trek partners with Compass Wildernessto provide expertise in all of the outdoor adventure activities.
  • Students will be housed at Cascade Village condominiums, 26 miles north of Durango, Colorado.