Sierra Service Project (SSP) is now accepting applications for their 2016 summer program in positions of construction, cooking, and spiritual programming. SSP staff live and work together for nine and a half intense weeks, running all aspects of six weeks of summer service for over three hundred youth.
2015 Smith River staff together enjoying a sunset.
2014 Food Service Coordinators get tips from professional chef, A Woman Called Sam.
2015 Construction staff worked together during training to build mini projects.
Although each position has unique responsibilities, all staff members share in the responsibility for safeguarding the health and safety of all youth. In addition, all staff participate in and contribute to all aspects of each week’s spiritual program, and are expected to model the Christian spirit of love and service at all times.
Being a member of the SSP staff is a rewarding and challenging experience. These are some key benefits of serving with SSP as a member of the summer staff:
High school graduates with at least one year of work or college experience should learn more and apply by the deadline of February 8, 2016. Email Megan Walsh, SSP’s Director of Programs, with any questions.
Editor’s Note: This was originally published in the January, 2015 edition of “Inside the Margins.” Applications for summer staff are due February 8.
It’s true what they say: non-profit work is tremendously gratifying. The two summers I worked for Sierra Service Project were some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
Daisy, left, leads a station during a Thursday night Spirit Walk in Susanville, CA, in 2012.
Equally as beneficial as those experiences, are the invaluable skills that I can now apply to my career today. I work for an international non-profit working in global health based in Boston, Massachusetts, and I would not be at such an organization now without my time as a staff member.
Equally as beneficial as those experiences, are the invaluable skills that I can now apply to my career today.
During my time on staff, I often took on the tasks of the other jobs on our team. This flexibility and affability are great tools I use to deal with the daily variation of my current job.
Daisy, third from right, with the 2013 Stockton/Coarsegold staff leading energizers in Coarsegold, CA.
Daisy with a homeowner and ramp she led in Stockton, CA, in 2013.
Daisy, top row center, with the 2013 Stockton/Coarsegold staff during Splatterfest in Coarsegold, CA.
While incredibly fun and rewarding, my summers on staff were also very challenging. I was often presented with problems that I had never tackled before, but I quickly developed the tact and creativity to solve them. My competency and efficiency to overcome complications and obstacles is essential to my work today.
My competency and efficiency to overcome complications and obstacles is essential to my work today.
I have no doubt that my time on staff has been an integral part of where I am now. It has led me to pursue a career and life dedicated to service and improving the lives of others. But not only has it inspired me to serve others, it has given me the skills and the knowledge to do so with flexibility, creativity, and professionalism.
The borderlands across the Southern United States seem to be the hot topic these days. We hear a lot in the news and in the political campaign about immigration and securing our borders against people coming into the US illegally. We hear about building up walls to keep these dangerous people out of our country.
Words that cause us to forget that there is a person behind each of these identities.
We hear words like ILLEGAL ALIEN and UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT and REFUGEE and DEPORTEE. Words meant to instill fear. Words that cause us to forget that there is a person behind each of these identities. People like Hector and Yolanda, separated from their families by complex immigration laws and a wall, only allowed to see each other through a wire mesh, only able to touch the tips of their pinky fingers.
The Pinky Kiss or “Besito de Menique” has become a symbol for the love that is shared through the wall at Friendship Park since the mesh covering the wall limits touch to only the tip of a finger. Photo Cred: Brooke Collins
This is my first year working with Sierra Service Project and I am excited to be creating a safe and impactful border experience for volunteers along and across the San Diego/Tijuana border. When I first moved to San Diego in 2007, I was scared to cross the border. But the reality is that Tijuana is not that different from any other metropolis. There are people commuting to work, kids going to school, people going about their daily lives.
But the reality is that Tijuana is not that different from any other metropolis.
Since 2013 I have been serving as a mission volunteer through the United Methodist Church and while most of my time has been spent living in Costa Rica, I have traveled to Nicaragua, Mexico and Zimbabwe as well. What I have found is that people are just people everywhere you go. They may live in houses that look a little different, they may eat foods that taste a little different, their skin may be any shade of the rainbow, but they are still people. People trying to care for their families, love God and love thy neighbor.
Brooke Collins (center in blue floral shirt), UMC Mission Volunteer, explains about Friendship Park, Border Church, and Border Issues in general to a group visiting from a local San Diego Church. Photo Cred: Maria Teresa Fernandez
Rev. John Fanestil of the United Methodist Church (in straw hat) explains about Friendship Park, Border Church, and Border Issues in general to a group visiting from a local San Diego Church. Photo Cred: Brooke Collins
Rev. John Fanestil & Brooke Collins serve Communion on a Sunday afternoon at El Faro Border Church at Friendship Park. Photo Cred: Joshua Clough
At a park near the Pacific Ocean at the Northwest corner of Tijuana adjacent to the US/MX border wall, there is a lighthouse, El Faro. And on the other side of the wall, a California State Park. And it is here where both sides meet at a spot known as Friendship Park, El Parque de la Amistad. It is here where we bring families together on both sides of the wall, if only for a pinky kiss. It is here where we stand in solidarity together and share in communion at the Holy table, a table that is open to all of God’s people and unites us together as one through the body and blood of Christ.
People on the US side of the border gather each week to see loved ones through the fence at Friendship Park in the shadow of the Tijuana Lighthouse which is known as “El Faro” which is also the name of the Border Church. Photo Cred: Maria Teresa Fernandez
The view of the wall from the Mexico side. The wall is covered in Murals as an attempt to “erase” the wall. Photo Cred: Brooke Collins
We invite you to join us in Tijuana and San Diego to meet the people who are living in the reality of migration. Hear their stories, feel their hope, experience their faith.
I have heard it said that fear is the absence of faith. Let’s take the fear out of the unknown and replace it with faith in God’s call on our lives to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about the San Diego program. This summer, volunteers in San Diego will have the option of crossing the border into Tijuana where they will meet community members and get a safe view into life on the other side of the border. There will also be a great program for those who wish to stay in the U.S.. Those who want to participate in the experience over the border in Mexico should talk with their group leader, and begin the process of getting their passport now.