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About Compass


What is Compass? 

Compass is a leadership development program for high school students. We partner with churches, pastors, teachers and parents from across the globe to identify youth for leadership. The summer program includes three incredible expeditions designed to challenge and encourage students towards leadership and deepen their walk with Christ:

Wilderness Expedition

Students embark on an outdoor adventure with the La Vida Adirondack Program in the mountains of New York. The wilderness expedition seeks to provide a supportive experiential environment that encourages participants to explore the meaning of their relationship with Jesus Christ and foster a deeper personal commitment to him.

Theological Expedition

Students dive into deep theological questions through conversation with world-renown professors at Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Through Christian community and the discussion of key theological concepts, this week provides the information and setting to equip students with a critical, informed, and Biblical worldview.

Ministry Expedition

Students journey overseas to work with in-country partners to serve and learn through personal relationships. Students are challenged to apply what they’ve learned and become missional Christ-followers, working to meet local ministry needs through personal relationships with our in-country partners. In years past, Compass students have gone to Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and Iceland.

Kassy testimonial
Ty testimonial

Compass Partners

The Compass program is made possible through individuals and organizations who share the vision to train the next generation of Christian leaders. The Compass program was created and generously sustained thanks to generous funding from the Lilly Foundation. Although today the program is independently funded, Compass continues to be an active member of the Lilly Youth Theology Network. 

Since its inception, the Compass program partnered with the La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership to provide students with an incredible wilderness experience. La Vida has been running backpacking trips in the Adirondacks for nearly 50 years. Since 1986, their office has coordinated Gordon’s flagship wilderness learning programs, which fulfill the College’s outdoor education requirement for students. In 2016, the Compass program became a part of the La Vida Center. You can learn more about other La Vida offerings for individuals and groups on our website

Because Compass wishes to keep the program financially attainable for students, each year we fundraise to help reduce the cost of the program for student participants. The program is made possible thanks to the generous support of numerous donors. If you would like to support the Compass program and its mission, please make a gift or email compass@gordon.edu. 

Ministry Partners

A key aspect of the Compass program is to empower and equip students to minister to others. One way we accomplish this in the program is by taking students on a mission trip (a.k.a. ministry expedition) to Portland, Maine or Iceland. Our vision for the ministry expedition is to provide a service that is specific to the expressed needs of churches and organizations in the areas where we are serving. 

Over the years, Compass has had numerous overseas partners. Past Compass cohorts have traveled to locations such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Currently, the program partners with the Salvation Army in Iceland to provide a summer program for low-income, immigrant and refugee families. 

Gordon College CORE Requirement 

Many Compass alumni choose to apply to Gordon College. All Gordon students are required to complete their Outdoor Education first-year experience before the start of their sophomore year. Compass meets all requirements for this section of the Core Curriculum. To receive this credit, Compass alumni need to contact the La Vida office immediately after arriving on campus their freshman year. 

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to contact us via phone at 978.867.4123 or via email at .