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!

From Volunteer to Staff

From Volunteer to Staff

By Rylie Malm

2018 Supply Coordinator in Chiloquin, OR

Former Volunteer, Wesley Foundation at Washington State University

 

Over our college’s spring break, I had the opportunity to go on an Alternative Break trip in San Diego through Sierra Service Project and my local Wesley Foundation. It was a wonderful experience serving in Imperial Beach and Tijuana. I learned a lot, both about myself and the people who live in that community. My perspective has been completely changed from what I thought I knew about the area.

I got to work on many projects while I was there that helped the community in many different ways. Some of the things I helped with was cleaning up the sports park building so it can be reopened in the fall, and continue to be a place for high school students to go after school. I also helped remove an invasive species from the Tijuana Estuary, plant milkweed and other plants to restore the area, and create a habitat for birds and other wildlife. I also took a day trip to Mexico and worked with Four Walls International. Overall, the experience was really impactful.

“My perspective has been completely changed from what I thought I knew.”

The most surprising thing I learned about the community was how invested they were in their city, and how much they cared to make it a better place. This attitude was especially held by the mayor, who came and shared a meal with us. His story of how he became the mayor, and his platform and willingness to change and reform the city was amazing. I could tell he really loved Imperial Beach and all its inhabitants. This love and determination was also present in all the other people I worked with over the week. Although each person had different reasons for their work and the projects my group did with them, they all had a common goal of making the community a cleaner and safer place to live.

“They all had a common goal of making the community a cleaner and safer place to live.”

This experience also gave me a chance to prepare for my summer staff position, and gave me a chance to meet some people I’ll be working with. For the most part, an Alternative Break is lot different from what the summer will be like. However, I am extremely excited to be a part of the Sierra Service Project staff, and to work in the Chiloquin community. I am looking forward to being a role model for youth volunteers, and getting to see this summer’s projects progress and eventually get completed. I’m very thankful for the opportunities SSP has provided me, both through the Alternative Breaks and the new experiences and adventures I will have on staff this summer.

 

Editor’s Note: Rylie has served at SSP twice as a young adult volunteer through the Wesley Foundation at Washington State University, and we are looking forward to having her on summer staff in 2018. Check out photos of their San Diego trip on SSP’s Facebook. There is still plenty of space available for both middle school and high school volunteers to serve in Chiloquin this summer – join Rylie in service by signing up to volunteer!

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