Why I Love SSP

Why I Love SSP

By Eleanor Weiss

Youth from Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay

Winner of the “I Love SSP” Instagram Contest

Every summer when I get home from SSP I’m always asked the same question,

“What is Sierra Service Project and why do I love it so much?”

Well this is my answer. Sierra Service Project is my all time favorite church service trip that allows me to meet new friends, explore my faith, be myself, bond with the amazing Staff, and most importantly help others. Sierra Service Project is not just about doing the work; it’s about getting to know the people and community you’re doing the work for.

Sierra Service Project is not just about doing the work; it’s about getting to know the people and community you’re doing the work for.

We all get to know each other throughout the week and develop a bond that can’t be broken, we have to learn to trust one another and that we will have each other’s backs.

An important part of Sierra Service Project is the amazing Staff, really, they have changed my life. 2013 through 2015 proved to be a really hard time in my life due to a handful of reasons and I felt lost in the world because I was losing myself and who I wanted to be. I remember summer of 2014 I attended Sierra Service Project in Chiloquin Oregon not feeling one hundred percent myself, one night I remember breaking down and in only a few seconds a camper and Staff member ran over and tried to help me calm down, it was when the Staff member asked me “would you like to pray about it?”, did I realize not only do I have these amazing people surrounding me but I have positive loving people that push me in my faith and to be the best that I can be.

So I say this again, Sierra Service Project is not just about doing the work, it’s about creating something beautiful with people that will love and care about one another through it all. Sierra Service Project is my second home and always will be thanks to everyone I have met there. Thanks!

Editor’s Note: Eleanor won our “I Love SSP” Instagram Contest in November. She was awarded a $75 credit in SSP swag from the online store and a feature in our December edition of Inside the Margins. Follow SSP on Instagram for more opportunities like this!

12 Times the SSP Love

12 Times the SSP Love

Sarah Reynolds, a youth from Church of the Good Shepherd, shares her top 12 reasons why she loves SSP:

  1. New friends
  2. Bonding time with my youth group
  3. Learning new skills like painting and roofing
  4. Learning about new people and places
  5. Yam bread
  6. It’s the best week of my entire summer
  7. Candle
  8. Meaningful conversations during spiritual sandwich
  9. Love feast
  10. Songs!
  11. The environment of love and acceptance
  12. Feeling the power of the Spirit through our work, knowing we’re making a difference

Editor’s Note: What are the top 12 things you love about SSP? Share your list on social media and challenge 3 SSP friends. #12xSSP

Help Tell the SSP Story

Help Tell the SSP Story

Forty days before the summer, we will showcase each year of SSP’s history on social media. Starting on May 20 (highlighting 1975) until June 28 when the first summer volunteers of 2015 will arrive at site! To do this, we need your help telling the SSP story.

We are also collecting ALL short stories and artwork about your SSP experiences to publish in the second edition of “Service Is Our Middle Name” in honor of our 40th year of service. All authors/artists will receive a free copy of the 2nd edition!

Email stories and photographs for both of these projects to Megan Walsh.

A Part of Stockton’s Story

A Part of Stockton’s Story

By Steven Mion, Summer Staff 2014, from First United Methodist Church of Loomis

Serving as a staff member in Stockton last summer was a richly rewarding experience full of surprises. Stockton made it easy to show the youth volunteers how God was present both in their work and in the greater community. Serving alongside local church members, community organizers and nonprofit leaders taught me that this is a resilient community dedicated to its own improvement.

Throughout the summer, our staff came into contact with hardworking community members from groups like Visionary Homebuilders, First 50 Stockton, Boggs Tract Community Farm, and the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless. When I saw the work these nonprofits were doing, I realized that the story of this city goes far deeper than the images on TV. Connecting to God in a place like Stockton has helped me to learn the stories of people and places through my own experience.

I am excited to return to Stockton as the Site Director this summer; to have the chance to broaden my contact with the community and the amazing people who call it home, and continue learning its inspiring story. I can’t wait to see the ways God will work through the community and the youth serving there. Stockton is a rich community proud of its heritage and looking forward to its future, and I am honored to help make SSP part of its story for many years to come.

Editor’s Note: We have just lowered our fee for all Stockton sessions to $295. We are looking for small and large groups of up to 65 people, to sign up for Stockton this summer. Staff applications are due February 9.


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  • #SSPsitevisit is underway in #SSPsmithriver. Volunteers will experience the profound power of the redwoods and North Coast. Check out updates on the site IG account: @sspsmithriver17
  • Just two weeks to go until the @bigdayofgiving! #GiveTogether to help us raise $10,000 to empower teens and repair homes. Mark your calendar to give on May 4th, or schedule your donation today! (Link in bio.)
  • WE LOVE @dayspringtempe! Not only have they participated in our programs for 15 years, their foundation just made a two-year financial commitment to SSP. This church body has contributed hundreds of youth volunteers, dozens of summer staffers, and $3,000 both this year and next (the cost of two wheelchair ramps)! If your church has a foundation dedicated to funding programs like ours, visit the link in our bio for more information.

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