Spotlight on Staff-In-Training Griffin Maguire

Spotlight on Staff-In-Training Griffin Maguire

Griffin Maguire
Senior at First Congregational Church Eugene
Eugene, OR

 

Tell us why you would like to work as an SIT this summer.

This will be my first summer after I graduate high school and the last summer before I start college. Functionally that might not mean much but it feels like a huge step in other ways. A transition to a new part of my life. I want this new period in my life to revolve first and foremost around serving others.

“I want this new period in my life to revolve first and foremost around serving others.”

Being an SIT would not only be a step forward in my life, it would be exactly the sort of undertaking that I want to characterize my time on this earth.

I know the number of summers in which I will be able to do this sort of thing are now limited, eventually I’ll have to work, i’ll hopefully leave academia, and I may not have the time or energy for this sort of experience.

This is an opportunity to seize the chance to give my labor to something that could open up new paths for me to humbly serve something greater than myself.

Why are you interested in being on SSP staff in the future? 

SSP has continually been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s made me immeasurably more humble and introspective and I owe huge amounts of my personal growth to the project.

I think beyond how rewarding working at SSP may be, giving back to an organization that has done so much to shape me would be an incredible opportunity in itself. Anyone who has the chance to work in such an organization is lucky to have the tools and circumstances to do so much for culturally, economically and geographically marginalized communities.

“The work that SSP staff put into creating the experience and guiding the service of these communities is inspiring and I believe it calls all of us to do more for what we believe in.”

The work that SSP staff put into creating the experience and guiding the service of these communities is inspiring and I believe it calls all of us to do more for what we believe in.

Working at SSP is just one way, perhaps the best way, of living up to that. It’s a beautiful model for cooperation and just distribution of both resources and labor which some of us have in excess while too many others find in short supply.

What are your plans for next year?

I plan to attend my local community college to take classes and explore opportunities. I don’t have a concrete vision for my distant future, but I want to move forward without accruing large amounts of student debt.

The obvious choice to me seemed to be community college instead of immediately enrolling in a four year university. What is certain is that I feel the need to ensure that whatever it is I do with my life needs to revolve around or clearly center the advancement of social justice and the dismantling of unjustified hierarchy.

“What is certain is that I feel the need to ensure that whatever it is I do with my life needs to revolve around or clearly center the advancement of social justice and the dismantling of unjustified hierarchy.”

Inequity anywhere is worthy of our attention and I believe above all else that those of us with labor to spare, particularly those of us who benefit from inequity, have the responsibility to rectify said inequity.

That principle will guide me to a satisfying and acceptable path, regardless of whether it be writing, speaking, physical labor, organizing or another road to service.

Please tell us anything else about yourself that you think we should know!

I’m a firm believer in a sense of justice, particularly when it comes to marginalization and unfair distribution of resources.

I personally believe that SSP is an inspiring model for redistributing both resources and more importantly labor to people who need it. Spiritually this is key to how I view my faith, which personally is expressed through advocacy and ally-ship with underprivileged communities and individuals.

“Spiritually this is key to how I view my faith, which personally is expressed through advocacy and ally-ship with underprivileged communities and individuals.”

I believe that serving our fellow human beings is more important than personal wealth, career advancement, academic achievement, and many other traditional standards of success.

Building community and friendship and sharing compassion is simply the best way to sustain that service. Humbling ourselves before any calling is more productive when the experience is shared with people you trust, respect and care for.

That’s what SSP means to me, its why I’ll always remember it, and its why I’ll never stop being inspired by it.

Spotlight on Staff-In-Training Brigitte Steel

Spotlight on Staff-In-Training Brigitte Steel

Brigitte Steel
Senior at St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Santa Maria, CA

Why did you decide to be an SIT this summer?

This summer will mark my 5th time attending SSP as a youth. Since my first time attending, I have fallen in love with it.

SSP has taught me so much about leadership, fellowship, and life skills and lessons that have enriched my relationships within my family, friends, community, God, and those seen as “unloveable” through the eyes of the world.

“SSP has taught me so much about leadership, fellowship, and life skills and lessons that have enriched my relationships within my family, friends, community, God, and those seen as ‘unloveable’ through the eyes of the world.”

Through this insightful program, I have been exposed to different communities, cultures, hardships, perspectives, religions, and people that I would have never known about, nor met, if it weren’t for my summers well spent at various sites.

It has fostered this love for God in me, and I am so thankful for the countless opportunities SSP has given me to show that unconditional love to others, especially marginalized groups.

So I hope to continue my journey with SSP, and be on staff one day.

“SSP has been so impactful in my life, and essential to my development as a young adult […]”

SSP has been so impactful in my life, and essential to my development as a young adult, so I would love nothing more than to give back as an SIT, and put into use all the skills I have gained to continue being a part of this organization and growing that love.

Transitioning from learning as a camper, to learning and teaching in a leadership position, I believe being an SIT will be the perfect introduction.

Why are you interested in being on SSP staff in the future?

Since my first SSP at 14 years old I thought, “I want to be on staff.” I think it is something that God has called me to. I love the sense of community within the staff that I have observed.

I love the thought of being a part of a team, and getting to know and work alongside each other, whilst ministering to and impacting many young individuals. Changing and helping a city in a way that is selfless and endless in love and abundant in hope.

“Changing and helping a city in a way that is selfless and endless in love and abundant in hope.”

It’s this desire that has been burning in my heart, and an experience I hope to fulfill. It seems like a one of a kind opportunity, and it’s something I feel I would thrive in and I would give my all for.

It’d be an experience that would benefit me for the rest of my life, as being a youth volunteer has, and I would carry all I had learned from it with me always.

What are your plans for next year?

To start off, I am going to be attending community college. Studying general education, personal development, art, and religious studies. I also hope to take part in young adult leadership at local youth groups. Helping lead lessons, bible studies, worship…etc.

My close friends and I are hoping to establish an LGBT+ friendly bible study group. Showing our friends, and welcoming strangers (A.K.A friends-to-be) that God’s love is not for select groups, but for everyone. In hope of breaking the stereotype that all churches and God are against people who identify with any of those labels, and lead them towards God’s love in a laid back and accepting environment.

“Showing our friends, and welcoming strangers (A.K.A friends-to-be) that God’s love is not for select groups, but for everyone.”

I hope to do some traveling. Of course for the fun of it, but also for the experience of developing my knowledge of other places, and cultural backgrounds.

As for jobs, I plan to be working at my local REC center. Doing work with after school programs, and organizing community events. In this I hope to be closer to my community, gain more experience working with children and young adults, and to learn more leadership and teaching skills.

Then for the summer, to be on staff for SSP, of course!

“Then for the summer, to be on staff for SSP, of course!”

Oat Ball Recipe

Oat Balls – gluten free (check oats), omit chocolate to be vegan.

 

Ingredients: 12 Servings

20-25 balls

24 Servings

40-50 balls

72 Servings

120-100 balls

Rolled oats

(not quick cooking)

1 cup 2 cup 6 cup
Coconut, unsweetened shredded ⅔ cup 1-⅓ cup 4 cup
Peanut butter

(or almond/sunflower seed butters)

½ cup 1 cup 3 cup
Flaxseed, ground ½ cup 1 cup 3 cup
Vanilla extract 1 tsp. 2 tsp. 2 tbsp.
Maple syrup ⅓ cup ⅔ cup 2 cup
Chocolate chips,

semi-sweet (optional)

½ cup 1 cup 3 cup
Chia seeds (optional) 1 tbsp. 2 tbsp. ¼ cup + 2 tbsp.

 

Estimated prep time 1 hour 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes

 

Equipment:

 

 

  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing spoon
  • Airtight container for storage

 

 

Step 1 Toast coconut flakes in oven at 350°F for 5 minutes, shaking every few minutes and checking for doneness. Watch carefully as they will burn easily.
Step 2 Stir all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed.
Step 3 Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Step 4 Once chilled, roll with your hands into balls about 1″ in diameter. This is a great job for KP.

Store in an airtight container.

 

Tips:

  • Flaxseed and chia seeds can be found at health food stores.
  • Substitutions are welcome! Keep in mind ratios to maintain stickiness that holds them together. Ideas include chopped dried apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries, chopped raw unsalted almonds and walnuts, sunflower seeds, rice cereal, etc.
  • Make during prep week and freeze oat balls.
  • Have KP roll oat balls.

 

Serving Instructions:

  • A serving is two 1” balls served in a coffee filter.

 

Growing Community in Tsaile

Growing Community in Tsaile

by Emma Brewer-Wallin

2018 Site Director, Tsaile, AZ

 

Greetings from Tsaile!

I just spent a week in Tsaile, AZ with Adam Diehm (2018 Tsaile Spiritual Life Coordinator) and Kelsie Currie (2018 Smith River Spiritual Life Coordinator), leading an Alternative Break for a group of students from the University of California, San Diego. They had just taken a class on Navajo history and culture, and concluded their term with a week of service and cross-cultural conversation.

After having spent two summers on staff for SSP in Tsaile, I was excited to get to show them around the place I have gotten to know and love – but the week was full of new experiences for me too! A particular highlight was Tuesday, which we spent in learning and service with the Tsaile-Wheatfields Water Users’ Association. This is a non-profit organization that works on agriculture revitalization in the community.

Although a core of Navajo culture is farming, the Navajo Nation is considered a “food desert,” meaning the majority of people do not have adequate access to fresh food. Part of the mission of the Water Users’ Association is to restore farming – particularly the growing of fresh vegetables – as part of the way of life in Tsaile. Their work is just picking up speed, thanks to a grant from the Navajo Nation. I look forward to seeing where their vision leads!

This past week, we helped the Water Users’ Association prepare their fields for the upcoming season of planting. One of our groups covered a lot of farmland, picking up and collecting logs that would get in the way when it’s time to prepare the soil. Our other teams worked on preparing the fencing that will separate different plots and keep animals from eating the growing veggies!

My hope is we can continue a partnership with this exciting organization over the summer! Not only will it be great for us to support their work, it will also be a chance for our volunteers and staff to experience another aspect of Navajo culture and learn from the community members.

 

Editor’s Note: 2018 will be Emma’s third summer returning to staff for SSP in Tsaile, AZ. In 2016 and 2017, she served as the Spiritual Life Coordinator, and helped to foster the growth of strong connections between SSP and local organizations. See photos from the Alternative Break in Tsaile on SSP’s Facebook. Sign up as a group or individual for the summer of 2018 to be a part of this impactful partnership in Tsaile!

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  • The last three evenings, #SSPstaff have been led by our five Spiritual Life Coordinators as they practice the ways they will invite volunteers to “Love Courageously” this summer. We are so proud of the work and thought you have all put in to your programs, and can’t wait to see them in action!
  • Meet your 2018 Food Service Coordinators! They will lovingly prepare 27,000 plates of food this summer, fuelling the work of our volunteers.
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