A Day in Rancho Cordova

A Day in Rancho Cordova

By Chris Low

Youth Leader from Castro Valley United Methodist Church

 

Why did five youth and one youth leader leave Castro Valley United Methodist Church at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday and travel 115 miles to Rancho Cordova to help build a stranger’s fence for six hours? Simple… the answer is in I John 4:19: “We love, because he first loved us”, and God commanded us to love one another. Why else?

Chris and the youth volunteers working hard during a TV segment about the project. 

Sierra Service Project put out the call to help the community of Rancho Cordova and Caroline Foley, Jack Low, Craig Lowe, Seanna Prentice, and Andy Yang answered. They had participated in SSP’s 2015 summer program in Smith River, CA and wanted to continue to be in service to others. The youth proclaimed their faith, became the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and helped Darlene Robbins fix her fence. The youth responded to SSP’s call by spreading God’s love and thus, brought honor and glory to Him. The youth also got to meet a bunch of SSP’s office staff and work side by side with them, which they really enjoyed.

The youth proclaimed their faith, became the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and helped Darlene Robbins fix her fence.

At the end of the day, each youth was physically tired, but spiritually invigorated. As tired as the boys were of working, they still had enough energy to engage in a made up game of “pinecone football”. The Rancho Cordova Neighborhood Beautification Program is a great opportunity for youth and parents who have not been to SSP’s summer program to experience it for a day.

 

Editor’s Note: The Rancho Cordova Neighborhood Beautification Program is completely free and all participants receive a t-shirt and lunch. Email Evan Griffiths to volunteer!

2016 Summer Priority Registration Open!

2016 Summer Priority Registration Open!

Sierra Service Project has been helping youth explore faith, serve others, and experience new cultures for 40 years. They offer home repair services to the elderly and poor across the Western United States in rural and urban locations, as well as on Native American reservations. They are actively seeking volunteers to serve in one-week sessions from late-June to early August, during their 41st summer of service in 2016.

SSP is committed to providing safe, accessible, and affordable programs for youth to deepen their relationships with God and others through service. SSP trips cover housing, meals, construction training, spiritual development, fellowship and more. They also offer scholarships to groups and individuals who may not otherwise be able to attend.

During the 2015 summer, SSP hosted 1,757 volunteers. They worked together to complete 94 projects which included replacing 9 failing roofs, constructing 10 brand new wheelchair ramps, and painting 17 homes. The Episcopal church was well represented with 210 of those volunteers coming from Episcopal churches or Dioceses.

Kim Furnari is the youth leader at Faith Episcopal Church in Cameron Park, CA. She has organized and led her church’s youth group for the past seven years to one of Sierra Service Project’s summer sites and is currently serving on SSP’s Board of Directors. She says that she and her youth love to keep going back to SSP because “you don’t need to bring any tools, materials, or even construction knowledge. SSP takes the stress of planning the projects right off of your shoulders.” Furnari is also impressed with the caliber of projects they complete saying that “the work we do is important and needed, and the youth love it.”

“You don’t need to bring any tools, materials, or even construction knowledge. SSP takes the stress of planning the projects right off of your shoulders.”

Sierra Service Project is an independent, interdenominational Christian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides equal opportunity for everyone to experience God’s grace through service. SSP believes in offering the invitation to service and relationship freely, without expectation. SSP is open and affirming, and welcomes anyone who is interested in participating in its programs.

Priority registration for Summer 2016 is now open. Groups of all sizes can enroll, and no group is too small. Youth can also attend as individual participants. Call (916) 488-6441 or email SSP’s Volunteer Coordinator, Veronica Russell, for more information!

Official Rules to the “I Love SSP Instagram Contest”

Official Rules to the “I Love SSP Instagram Contest”

SSP is holding an “I Love SSP” Instagram contest, and EVERYONE who submits to it will win a 40th Anniversary Sticker. The winner of the contest will receive $75 in credit on SSP’s online store!

How to enter the contest:

  • Follow SSP on Instagram (@sierraserviceproject)
  • Submit a video of yourself finishing the sentence “I love SSP because…” or a picture of yourself holding a readable sign that finishes the same sentence
  • Tag @sierraserviceproject
  • Use the hashtag #ILoveSSP2k16
  • Tag a friend and challenge them to create their own entry

This contest will end on November 15, 2015. See below for full details and rules.

 

OFFICIAL RULES

What Will You Win?

The winner of the “I Love SSP Instagram Contest” will win a $75 credit to SSP’s online store! The items selected by the winner will be safely packaged and mailed within one week of the winner’s selection of items. Everyone who submits an entry will receive a 40th Anniversary Sticker!

The Contest

  • This contest is organized by the “SSP Instagram Contest Committee” of the Sierra Service Project Board of Directors. This committee is made up of two adult and two youth members of the Sierra Service Project Board of Directors.
  • The contest will take place between 12:01 AM PDT on October 15, 2015 and 11:59 PM PST on November 15, 2015.
  • The owner of the Instagram account that submits an entry that follows the following criteria and receives the most “likes” on Instagram within the allotted time frame will be the winner. You are encouraged to share your video on other social media platforms to encourage people to go to your Instagram to “like” your entry. However, any “likes” on platforms outside of Instagram will not count toward your total.

How To Claim Prizes

  • All who participate will win a Sierra Service Project 40th Anniversary Sticker! Follow the rules below and email SSPcontest@sierraserviceproject.org with your name, Instagram handle, and mailing address. Stickers will be mailed at the end of November.
  • The winner will be determined by the SSP Instagram Contest Committee. This winner will be contacted with instructions on how to claim their prize.

Rules For Entry and Eligibility

In order to be eligible to win the contest you must follow these rules:

  • Be at least 13 years of age. If you are under 18 years of age, you must get permission from your parent or legal guardian to participate. Both you and they must be fully aware of the contest rules and be in agreement with them.
  • Create a video that finishes this sentence: “I love Sierra Service Project because…” and post it to your Instagram account.
  • If you would rather, you may submit a photo in which you are visible and holding a legible sign that finishes the sentence “I Love Sierra Service Project because…” and post it to your Instagram account. Entries with no sign and the sentence “I love Sierra Service Project because…” finished in the description are appreciated, but are not eligible to win.
  • Use the hashtag #ILoveSSP2k16 and tag @sierraserviceproject in the description.
  • Also, tag at least one friend in the description and challenge them to enter their own submission. You are encouraged to tag more! The more people you tag, the more people will see your submission and like it.
  • Follow Sierra Service Project on Instagram: @sierraserviceproject. The official Sierra Service Project Instagram account will follow you back! If your profile is private and you do not want Sierra Service Project to follow you, simply delete the request. However, if the Sierra Service Project Instagram account cannot see your submission, it is not eligible for the contest.
  • You may enter as many submissions as you’d like. The SSP Instagram Contest Committee will use your submission with the highest number of “likes” as your only submission for the contest. The SSP Instagram Contest Committee will not add your total likes together on multiple submissions.

Additional Information

  • The winner of the contest will have their choice of SSP swag up to the value of $75.00. Items must be available on the SSP store in order to be selected. Sierra Service Project will cover the shipping costs and they will not come out of the $75.00 prize.
  • Everyone is encouraged to participate in this contest. Current employees and Board Members, and their immediate family members, are not eligible to win, but are strongly encouraged to still participate. Former SSP employees are eligible to win.
  • If you want to submit an entry with multiple people in it, that’s great! However, only the owner of the Instagram account that initially posts the entry will be eligible for the contest for that entry.
  • By participating, you are giving your permission to Sierra Service Project to use the submitted content for Sierra Service Project publicity purposes. Once submitted, all content in the entry becomes the property of Sierra Service Project to use for any publicity purposes.
  • If at any point you no longer want to be considered for the contest, either remove your entry from Instagram, or email SSPcontest@sierraserviceproject.org with your name and Instagram handle saying that you do not want to be considered.
  • In order to remain eligible for the contest, your entry must remain on Instagram until a winner is announced on Sierra Service Project’s official Instagram page (@sierraserviceproject).
  • In the event of a tie, the SSP Instagram Contest Committee will have all power to determine who is the winner. The SSP Instagram Contest Committee will also have the final word and decision making power in the case of any disputes, misunderstandings or confusion about the rules.
  • The SSP Instagram Contest Committee shall have the power to determine if an entry is inappropriate. If an entry is determined inappropriate by the SSP Instagram Contest Committee, it is not eligible to win this contest. If an entry has been deemed inappropriate, Sierra Service Project will comment on it citing the reason why with a request to remove the entry from all social media platforms. Ways a submission can be deemed inappropriate can include, but are definitely not limited to, showing nudity, using foul language, exhibiting violence, or casting Sierra Service Project or any of its employees or affiliates in a manner that is not consistent with the SSP mission.
An Invitation

An Invitation

By Duane Buys

Director of Christian Education at University Park United Methodist Church

 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sierra Service Project (SSP) for several years now. It is a Christian youth service ministry that has been our resource for mission trips for five years now. I’m the Director of Christian Education at University Park United Methodist Church in Denver and I’ve served on the SSP Board of Directors for two years. It’s been my pleasure to organize and participate in a number of summer mission trips of our youth. Sierra Service Project totally coordinates our projects from the moment we arrive at the site, and I can tell you that it’s the best organization we’ve ever had the good fortune to be a part of. Trust me, I know what it’s like to have to plan and coordinate a mission trip on your own.

Sierra Service Project totally coordinates our projects from the moment we arrive at the site, and I can tell you that it’s the best organization we’ve ever had the good fortune to be a part of.

The mission of SSP is to “build faith and strengthen communities through service to others”. They provide challenging, safe and faith enriched Christian serving/learning experiences for youth. It is a fantastically well-organized entity for local church leaders to lean on. SSP runs week-long summer service programs that take place at various locations in the western United States, the newest of which is just outside of Spokane, WA, making it very accessible for a lot of groups in the Rocky Mountain Conference!

SSP must charge students a fee to cover the expense associated with their involvement, but has a significant scholarship fund to help low income youth who would like to participate. SSP has made the commitment to ensure that no one is excluded due to financial issues.

SSP’s theology is broad and progressive, and is very compatible with the values of our church. Its approach is invitational, participatory, and affirming.

The youth at my church are passionate about being a part of SSP every summer. It’s the most talked about event throughout the year. They see it as fun, social, educational and an incredibly impactful experience! In fact, this past summer we chose to attend a large youth convention rather than a mission trip. Upon reflection, the youth said they would rather have done a mission trip. We love the time together as we travel to and from the site and the friendships that develop while working to serve others as a common goal.

The youth at my church are passionate about being a part of SSP every summer.

It’s my hope that you will take a serious look at Sierra Service Project’s programs and see how it could impact your youth. I am also more than happy to make a presentation to your group or your leaders to talk more about the possibilities.

 

Editor’s Note: See how to get involved in one of SSP’s summer or year-round programs. Contact Pascal Domicone, SSP’s Communications Coordinator, if you are in the Denver area and would like to speak with Duane about his experience.

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