By Sara Platnick
Spiritual Life Coordinator in Chiloquin, OR
I always enjoyed my experiences with SSP as a youth. I loved travelling with my church over a long car ride to some remote place where I would get to learn more about the community I was in, gain some construction skills, and meet new people.
Being a Staff-in-Training (SIT) at SSP helped me see a side to SSP that I never got to see as a youth. Though I am the daughter of a board member and went as a camper six times, I never truly understood what SSP is and what it stands for until I spent a week as a staff-in-training.
I never truly understood what SSP is and what it stands for until I spent a week as a staff member.
SSP brings a sweep of change to the cities it helps. In Smith River, youth were clearing acres of non-native plants, building fences, stairs, and ramps, and painting buildings. On the more personal level, I began to see what SSP brings to youths’ lives. SSP is a safe space, a place for people to explore and figure out who they are and what they believe. This was a place that I helped shape and contributed to.
Beyond that, being an SIT helped me to understand what it means to be a staffer. Staffing requires more time, energy, and responsibility than anyone would bargain for. I admit that before my SIT experience I never gave the staff credit for how much work it is. You are up late building a community with the rest of the staff and up early cooking breakfast or preparing construction tools. You are constantly moving and doing something, whether that means preparing snack or the evening program, organizing the tool shed, or spending time with youth.
You are up late building a community with the rest of the staff and up early cooking breakfast or preparing construction tools.
But even after seeing this exhausting side to SSP, it has made me even more excited to be on staff this summer in Chiloquin. Now, I know exactly what I get to look forward to. I know that this summer I get to build a great and supportive community with my staff, I get to meet youth and counselors, I get to watch construction projects get completed, and I get to grow in my faith in God.
I know I am going to learn a tremendous amount over my 10 weeks on staff because if I could gain so much joy and growth from one week, I can only imagine what I will get over a whole summer.
So if you have ever wondered what the other side of SSP looks like, or if you’ve ever thought that being on staff looks like I lot of fun, I encourage you to apply to be an SIT. Even if you are unsure about being on staff, I would still say apply because you never know if your mind will change plus you gain great friends, experiences, and growth in the process.