Uncovering Strengths, Pursuing Purpose

by Sarah Beth McCloud

For Gabrielle and Franklin, Strengths Trek enabled them to put strengths into action and move further toward their passions and purpose.


Each year, second-year WinShape College Program students embark on Strengths Trek, a trip to Chicago designed to help them uncover their strengths in a unique and purposeful way.

For Gabrielle Marquez and Franklin Staples, the journey allowed them to understand their strengths and others’ in a way that further confirmed their unique identity in Christ.

Gabrielle explains the trip’s concept, which has each student unpacking their individual strengths which have already been identified through a strengths test.

“You get to live out [your strengths] in a team setting, see who plays what roles…you problem-solve a lot, and you find yourself trying to navigate a city you’ve never been to,” she says.

Franklin’s first instinct going into the trip was to act based off of what he had been told through his test results. But through Strengths Trek’s design, he was able to visualize his strengths with others, moving strategy from definition to action.

“[The process] just makes you grasp the whole concept of each strength and fully understand what it means.” – Franklin

Even more, utilizing the strength profiles allows students to understand the importance and benefit of all strengths, even the ones missing from a group.

“For our team, almost nobody had [the strength of being] deliberate,” Gabrielle says.

“There were so many instances where, if we had been more deliberative, it would have been so much smoother,” Franklin adds.

Strengths Trek gave their team the opportunity to grow through what was initially missing, overcoming the obstacle and coming together as a whole.

“The point of this trip is to better understand yourself and the way the Lord has gifted you, and to see that these gifts are not new things you suddenly have…” Gabrielle says. “These gifts are things that have been there since the beginning. They’re just being refined and developed by the Lord.”

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