Smiling Wide

Smiling Wide

By Laura Sieling, 2015 Walker River Site Director, from Community United Methodist Church of Pacific Palisades

Hey, SSParticipants!! I’m Laura Sieling and I am the Site Director in Walker River! Do you all realize how quickly summer is approaching? My recent trip to Sacramento for hiring weekend got me even more excited (if that’s even possible) to meet new community members, campers, staffers, and counselors. I also reconnected with some SSPals, and got to interview the AMAZING candidates who applied for our summer staff. I’m still blown away by how much planning and teamwork is involved, but I’m absolutely thrilled to give everyone a positive progress report from behind the scenes.

As the Site Directors and office prepares, I want to encourage all of you to begin thinking about ways you can get into the SSP mindset even before you arrive at a summer site: will you re-energize someone who’s stressed? Restore relationships on your school campus or at work? Whatever you find you can do up to SSP, come prepared for a summer of rejuvenation and rejoicing!

I’m already smiling wide, impatient to wrap up classes and oversee a smooth summer!

Editor’s Note: There are still spots available in Walker River and most other sites. If your youth group is going to Youth 2015 or doing something else this summer, you can still go to SSP! Learn about our Individual Youth Program. Group and individual scholarships are still available. Also, we are in the middle of hiring our summer staff.

Stop and Look Around, You Might Miss Something

By David Wilson, Youth from Glendale First United Methodist Church

Sierra Service Project, no matter what the venue or amount of time, always leaves you with something uniquely memorable. Being brought up in Los Angeles, I had formed in my mind a picture of what to expect from “Downtown LA”. However, as is always the case with SSP, my eyes were opened to a different side of the community.

My team started Saturday by working on a garden outside a Police Station for a nonprofit organization called A Place Called Home (APCH), a safe haven for children and youth from around Los Angeles. Children come to take art classes, dance classes and a number of other enriching activities after school. After our work we visited the main headquarters of the organization and heard some incredible stories about the impact they have on the surrounding area.

Just as A Place Called Home was a hidden jewel in Los Angeles, Solano Canyon Community Garden, run by Al Renner, was an unexpected oasis. From Saturday afternoon till our departure on Sunday we did a number of tasks around the five acre garden. Being able to simply walk through such a beautiful place reminded me of just how much of God’s work is around us that we just simply drive by, literally in this case, with the freeway running right around the garden.

Through this Weekend of Service I have seen the other side of Los Angeles that does not get talked about, but what is behind the scenes impacting lives within the community. I would like to thank SSP and encourage all who have the opportunity to attend a Weekend of Service or, better yet, a week-long SSP trip.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Weekends of Service. View the current availability of week-long experiences at our summer sites and register a group.

2015 Summer Theme

2015 Summer Theme

Restore [Rejuvenate/Renew/Rejoice/Reflect]

The 2015 summer theme has been chosen! We challenge your youth group to explore this theme by creating a 1 minute video and uploading it to YouTube using the tag #SSPvideochallenge. The group with the winning video will receive SSP swag sunglasses for all youth and adults attending SSP this summer!

Upload your videos by April 15 with the above hashtag and email the link to Megan Walsh. We will create a playlist on YouTube and will judge who wins by the number of likes for each video.

Have fun and get creative!

Seeking Volunteers

Seeking Volunteers

Phoenix Trailerpalooza

We are looking for 3-5 volunteers this weekend in the Phoenix area to help empty, clean, and organize our Arizona trailer. We will have two full days of work on March 6-7. Visit the event page or email Pascal Domicone if you have interest in helping out one or both of those days. Lunch will be provided!

Chiloquin Fence Build

We are finishing a fence in Chiloquin on May 2 and 3. Join the Chiloquin Site Director, Evan Griffiths, for free, fun work days. Meals and housing provided. Email Megan Walsh for details.


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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.
#Respect #HealthyBodiesHealthySouls #SSPeople #SierraServiceProject
  • SSP is so fortunate to be supported by volunteers of all ages, denominations, and life experiences. Yesterday, six #SSPeople from all over Northern California joined us for our first ever Volunteer Panel at #SSPstafftraining. Thank you all for sharing your stories, expectations, and wisdom with #SSPstaff. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

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