Youth Board Positions Open

Youth Board Positions Open

Youth Board for Web

2016 Youth Board Members Leevegar Kim, Emily Pall, and Ranger Woodland.

UPDATE: The application period for 2017 youth Board Member applications is now closed. Applications for 2018 will be available in August 2017.


SSP is currently inviting high school students to apply for a position on the Board of Directors.

Every year, three young people serve alongside 15 adults as official Board Members. They help to make the decisions and set the strategies that will determine SSP’s future. Serving on SSP’s board is a wonderful way to contribute to the organization and gain valuable leadership experience. If you are interested, here is what you need to know:

  • Youth Board Members must have a passion for SSP and for helping SSP serve more people and serve them better.
  • We encourage high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to apply. However, we usually select juniors.
  • Board Members must be able to participate in all four of SSP’s board meetings.
  • Youth members serve for one year starting at our October 14 – 16 board meeting.
  • The job of a board member also involves some teleconferences and other work in addition to attending the meetings.
  • You will have all of the same voting rights and obligations of an adult board member.
  • All members are expected to make an annual financial contribution to SSP at a level that is personally meaningful to them.

The application period will end on August 28 – apply now!

SSP is Hiring: Rancho Cordova Program Manager

SSP is Hiring: Rancho Cordova Program Manager

Sierra Service Project (SSP) is looking to hire a part-time Program Manager in Rancho Cordova, CA. The funding comes from a grant from the City of Rancho Cordova, which has contracted with SSP to run a volunteer community improvement program for homeowners in the city.

Start date: Around September 1
End date: June 30
Hours per week: About 30, depending upon the level of activity
Pay: $16 per hour
Classification: This is a non-exempt, temporary part-time position (as defined by SSP’s personnel policies)
Benefits: Paid sick leave and other legally-required benefits

A driver’s license and good driving record is required. Extensive weekend work, particularly Saturdays, will be required.

For more information, view the full job description. If you are interested in this position, please submit a cover letter and résumé to Rick Eaton at Please call (916) 488-6441 with questions.


Photos from the 2016 Rancho Cordova program:


Life Changing Moment Over the Border

By Ashley Minks

Youth from First United Methodist Church of Gilbert


A day that shook America: September 11, 2001. Before that major incident, many people could easily travel between countries and into America. Once we were attacked though, many things changed, including border security. A wall already covered the length of the border with Mexico, but to the leaders of the United States, it was not enough protection. A second and more secure wall was built between America and Mexico. This long fence stretches into the ocean, separating two different cultures. When I entered into Tijuana, I learned that my group and I would travel to Friendship Park, which is one of the only places where families and friends that are separated by the fence can meet. My friends that stayed behind in America, would meet at the other side of the fence and we would soon link pinkies, to have a firsthand experience that the many loved ones that are apart experience.

Ashley, fourth from the right in hoodie and shorts, on the Mexico side of the border.

Ashley, fourth from the right in hoodie and shorts, on the Mexico side of the border.

When I arrived at the park, the border wall in Tijuana was vibrantly colored with many murals and names of people that were physically separated by the wall. But looking through the small boxes left open by fencing material, I could see the American side was very different. There was no color, people, shops, or roads. I will just put it this way: there was dirt and a lot of bushes that covered miles of uninhabited land. I felt sad to see that my friends could not enter the land between two separate fences until border patrol checked the land multiple times. Even when the other visitors walked between the fences to meet those that were in Tijuana, they were only allowed to stand in one small circle, not passing designated posts. After meeting with my friends pinky to pinky, we prayed, and loaded back into the vans to travel to a men’s Salvation Army shelter.


There was no color, people, shops, or roads.

This place was a two story building where many people searching for a way to America would stay. Currently, the shelter was housing many people from Haiti, after they left Brazil, who allowed many Haitians to enter the country following the devastating hurricane and earthquake. Although Brazil had good intentions about allowing the people of Haiti into the country, many of the people have started leaving the country from persecution they are receiving from the Brazilian people. As I met many of the men and heard their stories, I realized how lucky of a life I was given by God. I grew up in a small Arizonan town that was very sheltered. I never truly experienced a life changing moment until today, when a young Haitian man told my group about traveling through many South American countries to reach Tijuana, in hopes of an easy passage into America. This man grew up with many brothers and sisters and left his home to try to make money to send home. After a morning of multiple testimonies, I went downstairs where I played dominoes with men that only spoke Creole, Portuguese, or Spanish. Let me tell you, taking Spanish One in high school does not prepare you for a day of attempting to translate stories in a foreign country.

I never truly experienced a life changing moment until today

After many hours in Mexico, my group got to head to the border. This was really eye-opening as well, to experience waiting in line for hours to go to the land of the free. I am so thankful for being born in America, and for having the life many wish to live. One wish I hold for the future is that the mindset that keeping human beings separated for being born on one side of a fence or another, will end.


Editor’s Note: Registration for the 2017 summer opens October and will be first-come first-served. Read more about the San Diego experience.

A Selfish Passion

A Selfish Passion

By Marissa Martinez

Spiritual Life Coordinator in Smith River, CA


Becoming a staff member of Sierra Service Project has been quite the experience. I initially came into training a little pessimistic because I believed that I would be judged due to the way I practice my faith, but boy was I wrong! I do not believe that I have ever met such an honest, loving, accepting, and beautiful group of people. The entire staff: office, site directors, and fellow staff members, all took the time to make me feel included and comfortable, and for someone who has never been involved with this organization, it means a lot.

This summer, I am working as the Spiritual Life Coordinator (SLC) in beautiful Smith River, California. I have put a lot of work into this year’s program in Smith River and I feel that the youth will really respond to the material. I really believe in being openminded and loving towards others, so I hope that the youth pick up on that. The youth go through a lot and it is amazing to

Digging post holes in Smith River!

Digging post holes in Smith River.

see how they grow from their experiences, even at a young age. I do not believe that we give them as much credit as they deserve. The youth are the ones who truly inspire me the most.

Being an SLC is a very difficult job; yet, the most rewarding job on staff. You have to get into the youth’s minds and figure out how to communicate with everyone on the same level. With the many different ways that people learn, trying to accommodate all minds is challenging. These challenges are easily worth it as I watch the youth’s transformation throughout the week. I know it must sound silly, but I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of these young peoples’ lives. I work hard to make sure that what I have prepared can inspire them in some way, but it always turns out that I am the one inspired. I cannot wait to be even more inspired this summer! I am super pumped!

I work hard to make sure that what I have prepared can inspire them in some way, but it always turns out that I am the one inspired.


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  • Staff are jumping for joy today after wrapping up all projects, saying bittersweet farewells to the communities they’ve served in all summer, and hitting the road to staff debrief. Hold them in your thoughts and prayers as they make the trek back to Sacramento today and tomorrow after a full summer of service to others. Thank you to everyone who dedicated time, energy, and love to make this summer a success!
  • Three roofing projects have been completed in Tsaile so far! 21 youth and adult volunteers worked diligently over three weeks to complete this roof for Margaret. Have you worked on a roofing project at SSP?
  • "Plant your rows straight and long
Temper them with prayer and song
Mother Earth will make you strong
If you give her love and care"

Volunteers love planting trees in Collier State Park! Thank you Tara for sharing the importance of preservation and wildfire prevention. Have you planted a tree in Chiloquin? Come back as a counselor in 2048 and see how you both have grown.

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