Leadership Academy

What is it?

A year-long leadership development program for 8 to 10 selected staff members aimed at improving their leadership skills and helping to discern their life-long calling to live out their Christian faith through service to others. The Academy is a collaboration between SSP and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

What does it entail?

Participant (“fellows”) will spend three weekends in discernment and study at Wesley in Washington. The weekends will take place in October/November, February and May (dates to be announced soon). Fellows will also be assigned a mentor who they will work with throughout the year.

Who will lead this?

The weekend retreats will be led by Wesley two dynamic faculty members. One leader will be Kim Bloom, whose area of expertise is “helping others discover insights about their life, work, and relationships.  Through conversations and activities, a person’s theology and world-view are explored and integrated into these insights about everyday life.”

The other leader will be Michael Koppel. Michael Koppel is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Congregational Care and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Wesley Theological Seminary. An ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he has served as pastor, campus minister, hospital clinical care supervisor, hospice chaplain, and youth minister in California, Ohio, and New York. He teaches and researches in the field of pastoral theology and care ministries. Michael is the author and editor of several books, numerous professional journal articles, and church publications. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. from the University of California, Davis, and received the M.Div. from Yale University Divinity School, and the Ph.D. from Claremont School of Theology. Michael enjoys swimming, bicycling, and hiking.

What else will happen while we are in DC?

Each weekend will include time for relaxation, some site seeing and some engagement with people and issues in the context of being in the nation’s capital.

How similar will this be to the Leadership Academy that happened two years ago?

There will definitely be similarities. It will be different, however, because the leadership team is different, the location is in Washington rather than Southern California, and it will consist of three weekends instead of two.

Who can apply?

Any current staff member may apply. We will start accepting applications at Debrief in August. The requirements are:

  • You commit to attending all three weekend sessions. The weekends will be: November 11-13, February 9-11, and April 6-8.
  • You are serious about grappling with how your faith and your commitment to serving others will be played out in your future.

Priority will be given to people who intend to work for SSP again, but everyone will be considered.

What does it cost?

All of this is free-of-cost to the Fellows. Transportation, lodging and meals are covered.

Questions? Ask Rick.

Ready to apply? Apply here!

Partnering in Service

Adam Harris

Eagle Scout Troop 447

Sierra Service Project Partner

 

Six and a half years ago, Eagle Scout Troop 447 was re-formed in Natomas, CA, out of the ashes of a former troop that had left behind a shed full of equipment. Natomas Baptist Church not only held onto the gear in the shed, they continue to allow us to store our equipment on their property. My scout troop has done extremely little to give back to the church and its congregation, but my Eagle Scout service project allowed myself and my scout units to give back in an extraordinary way.

I began the process of selecting a project by asking Pastor Tom at Natomas Baptist what the church was looking for. The church had been trying to put in a community garden for many years, so that was the first idea that came up in discussion. During the past month and a half, Sierra Service Project, Boy Scout Troop 447, and Venturing Crew 580 have put in nine 12′ by 12′ garden plots.

“My Eagle Scout service project allowed myself and my scout units to give back in an extraordinary way…working with Sierra Service Project to complete [this project] has been an amazing experience since the beginning.”

In order to complete the project, I had to make partnerships to make progress. Working with Sierra Service Project to complete my Eagle Scout service project has been an amazing experience since the beginning. The people involved with this organization have been extremely helpful, not to mention vital to the success of the project.

Bob Elam, SSP’s Project Consultant, helped me get tools on loan to work on my project, and personally delivered three wheelbarrows, multiple drills, and so much more to the site before work began on February 11th. Megan Walsh, SSP’s Director of Programs, sent a team of weekend volunteers out on February 18th and 19th, all of whom had fantastic work ethic and got a lot of work done on site. Mrs. Walsh also assisted me in recovering a missing tool that had accidentally been misplaced.

The partnership I have formed with SSP has been one of the most important to complete this project. I am impressed at the willingness of Californians to serve others through programs such as SSP, and I want to spread the word about SSP to my classmates, fellow scouts and my family.

 

Editor’s Note: Adam partnered with SSP youth and adult volunteers during our Sacramento Weekend of Service in February. We are always thrilled to work with young leaders such as Adam to effect positive change in local communities. To be part of the transformative work SSP does, volunteer through our summer program at one of five locations throughout the Western United States, either as a group or individual youth!

12xSSP Spotlight: Andrew Freedman

Andrew Freedman
Former Youth with Point Pleasant UMC, Elk Grove UMC, and Individual Volunteer
Summer Staff Alumnus
12xSSP Donor

What have you gained from your SSP experiences?

Andrew: “My SSP experiences have taught me to always keep an open mind about others. I have also learned about creating loving and welcoming communities. I have gained meaningful leadership experience from being on SSP summer staff, and of course I have learned a ton about construction!”

My SSP experiences have taught me to always keep an open mind about others.”

What are you doing now?

Andrew: “I am a full-time second year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am working as a Resident Assistant in a freshman hall on campus. I am also in the rehearsal process for Legally Blonde: The Musical, and in March I will be performing the role of Warner.”

I am greatly thankful for the opportunities I have had to work with such an empowering organization.”

Why have you chosen to give to SSP?

Andrew: “SSP has changed my life for the better. I believe strongly in the mission of SSP and want more people to be able to participate. I have been fortunate to participate with SSP as a volunteer, a youth board member, and on summer staff. Each of these roles have helped me to learn and grow as a person, and I am greatly thankful for the opportunities I have had to work with such an empowering organization.”

 

Editor’s Note: Andrew is one of several recent 12xSSP donors we want to highlight this month. You also can donate monthly to SSP like Andrew, and guess what: there’s no minimum amount required! Your gift will help sustain stories like hers for other youth and young adults who participate in the program, paving the way for a transformed and more loving future. Become a 12xSSP donor today.

12xSSP Spotlight: Hilary Smith

Hilary Smith
Former Youth from Lafayette UMC
Summer Staff Alumnus
12xSSP Donor

What have you gained from your SSP experiences?

Hilary: “Besides the wonderful memories with the unique folks I met each summer, the most important things I’ve learned from SSP are empathy and project management. I cannot tell you how valuable co-running a kitchen was for my professional and personal development! Gaining the confidence and understanding of how a team works, while managing a bunch of goofy high schoolers running around with cleaning products and spatulas, is definitely something that will always be part of my internal fabric. Youth are amazing! When you hear so many different stories from SSPers from just spending time together, it really gets you to step outside of yourself and experience those feelings with them. SSP really allows you to ‘take a walk in someone else’s shoes.’

“I cannot tell you how valuable co-running a kitchen was for my professional and personal development!”

What are you doing now?

Hilary: “Nowadays I live in Manhattan, New York, and work in promotional marketing as an importer/exporter. I’m the one who manages getting the goods from the manufacturer to your hands! I also have a food blog in my spare time, which I’m sure stems from my summer on staff at SSP as a cook.”

“People from all walks of life touch this organization and will impact you.”

Why have you chosen to give to SSP?

Hilary: “SSP is part of my soul. Each and every day I give thanks to the empowerment and humility I felt while working and attending. One can only feel so blessed to get to experience the connections you make, especially as diverse as those who are involved with SSP. From the homeowners, to the youth, to the adult counselors, to the staff, to the greater community, people from all walks of life touch this organization and will impact you.

 

Editor’s Note: Hilary is one of several recent 12xSSP donors we want to highlight this month. You also can donate monthly to SSP like Hilary, and guess what: there’s no minimum amount required! Your gift will help sustain stories like hers for other youth and young adults who participate in the program, paving the way for a transformed and more loving future. Become a 12xSSP donor today.

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