Witnessing Fruits of My Labors

Witnessing Fruits of My Labors

By Kathy Platnick

SSP Board Member from Rolling Hills United Methodist Church

 

In Galatians, Paul tells us that the fruit of the spirit is, among others, love, joy, peace and kindness. While we can see the fruit of the spirit around us, the fruit of our labors – our legacy – is often not evident during our own lifetime. Through my work with Sierra Service Project, I have been blessed to witness the fruit of my labors in multiple ways.

The first was in my work as a counselor. SSP changed my own life when I first went as a counselor in 1996. Then, 14 years later I was fortunate to accompany a group of 16 junior high youth on their own first journey to SSP and watch them mature over the next 6 years of SSP trips. During that time, I witnessed the antics and attitude of tweens converting to respect and maturity. Now many of these young people are friends. They hail me when they see me – even across a large parking lot. They all talk about the impact SSP had on their life and a couple of them even shared with me that I made a lasting impression on them. Being a counselor truly blessed my life and showed me how I could have a positive effect on young people.

Kathy Training 2013

Kathy Platnick at staff training in 2013.

Another way I saw my labors manifest was through the SSP summer staff. Did you know that the college age youth who staff our summer sites attend 10 days of training before heading to site? I’ve had the joy of attending a part of staff training for each of the last five years. Each time, I challenged myself to learn each person’s name; to demonstrate how much SSP appreciates their service. And each time, I departed with buoyed spirits and gratefulness for the chance to watch their maturity in action.

Lastly, I have enjoyed my six years on the SSP Board. I’ve reached the limit of two consecutive terms and thus must rotate off. My time on the Board – and especially my three years as Board President and one year as President-Elect – were times of great change for the Board. We transformed into a strong working board with a focus on fund-raising and strategic thinking. Watching the Board move to the next level of sophistication has been enormously satisfying.

SSP has truly impacted my life. I’m grateful I had multiple opportunities to give back.

 

Editor’s Note: We truly thank Kathy for her service on the Board. Her contributions are too many to name. Applications for 2017 Youth Board Members are available now until August 28. Encourage a high school sophomore, junior, or senior to apply today!

Growing from Youth Board Experience

Growing from Youth Board Experience

by Leevegar Kim

SSP Youth Board Member

from Choun Korean United Methodist Church

 

Leevegar, right front, with the 2016 Board of Directors.

Leevegar, right front, with the 2016 Board of Directors.

Sierra Service Project has had a huge impact in my life. I didn’t think that a week’s worth of service and a year of being a part of the Board would allow me to grow this spiritually and emotionally as a believer. Being a part of Sierra Service Project’s Board was truly an amazing experience.

I never thought I would have received such great insight from so many inspiring and passionate leaders like those on the Board. I also didn’t realize how much went into planning for Sierra Service Project. There are so many little things that I never realized when I was a youth volunteer and just going along with the schedules that SSP had made ahead of time. Behind what the youth and young adults were doing through Sierra Service Project, the Board itself works meticulously to create special projects and get connected in so many ways.

Everyone on the board has such a big heart for Sierra Service Project and for the communities that we serve, and it really encouraged me in so many ways. I loved being a part of the board because it reminded me of God’s love. We are all given the opportunities to serve and to be vessels of God’s goodness, and I truly believe that SSP is doing exactly that. I love that there are so many people in different communities willing to reach out and help in any way that they possibly can. I love that it allows you to connect with others spiritually. I love that we get to serve so freely and make a difference in someone’s life.

 

Editor’s Note: Applications for 2017 Youth Board Members are available now until August 28. Encourage a high school sophomore, junior, or senior to apply today!

Second Chances in Spokane

Second Chances in Spokane

by Rupert Cooper

Adult Counselor from Central United Methodist Church in Stockton, California

 

Life presents many opportunities, and some people say you only get one chance. Being blessed with my trip to Spokane has given me a second. Once again my experience has renewed my confidence in the youth of our congregation at Central UMC. They now have been infused with the idea that by giving you get much more than receiving.Rupert Cooper Spokane Post

They now have been infused with the idea that by giving you get much more than receiving.

The exposure to new and challenging activities has increased their confidence and concept of teamwork. Nobody is a success without being part of a community, and that sense of community has been infused in them. There is something about eating peanut and jelly sandwiches that really causes you to stick together and levels the playing field. The spiritual sandwiches that we had each day at lunch caused them to focus on the spiritual side of life and not simply feeding their stomachs. They now understand that being an adult requires that you think not only of yourself but how you fit into society and hopefully make a difference.

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!

 

Editor’s Note: Check out photos from Rupert’s time in Spokane. If you would like to support SSP’s programs, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

My First SSP Experience – Spokane

My First SSP Experience – Spokane

By Clare McCaa

Youth from Central United Methodist Church in Stockton, California

 

This was my first year attending Sierra Service Project and I traveled to Spokane, Washington. I can remember when my older brother came home 4 years ago after serving in South Los Angeles. He was totally excited and I now know what that excitement was all about!

This year I was lucky enough to share this experience with my dad. I was his co-pilot the whole way up and back for the long car rides. Being in the car for so long really brought us all together and there was never a dull moment. The whole trip was an adventure.

(…) I now know what that excitement was all about!

In Spokane, my work team built a double level deck. The thing I learned the most with this project was patience and that it will take a while to actually be able to see the work you have put in.

Personally, throughout the week I was spiritually challenged in a great way. My work team discussed our faith as much as we could that week. Hearing about others that had the same beliefs as me was such an eye opening time. This experience was like none other I have ever had before. I can’t wait until next year!

 

Editor’s Note: Check out photos from Clare’s time in Spokane. If you would like to support SSP’s programs, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

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