If you are not part of a youth group or church, you can still be a part of Sierra Service Project! Most youth who participate at SSP are part of a youth group, but we want the SSP experience to be accessible to all youth. We want all youth to have the same incredible experience of learning, making new friends, worship and service that SSP participants have. Individuals can attend any High School or Combined session.
This program works especially well for:
- Youth unconnected with a church or youth group
- Youth whose churches do not have youth groups
- Youth who are unable to attend the week that their group is scheduled
- Youth who want to attend SSP more than once
Each summer 1,800 youth and adults from over 180 groups participate in our Summer Programs. For the summer of 2017, we have five site locations throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona. We offer week-long sessions beginning July 2, 2017. Last summer, teenagers completed 86 projects for homeowners and partnered with 19 community organizations. Outside of work projects, youth share in worship and explore the culture of the communities where they are serving. Two of the sites are located in Native American communities, two in rural communities, and one is in an urban community.
Our mission is to enable youth to:
Build faith and strengthen communities through service to others.
Common to all SSP programs is service to the elderly, poor and marginalized. Our service is offered without strings attached and is done with an attitude of respect and humility.
Download and review the 2017 Summer Information Packet.
Learn More About SSP's Individual Youth Summer Program
- Week 1: July 2 – 8
- Week 2: July 9 – July 15
- Week 3: July 16 – July 22
- Week 4: July 23 – July 29
- Week 5: July 30 – August 5
- Week 6: August 6 – August 12
Sessions begin on Sunday afternoon and end on Saturday morning.
View the current availability.
Teenagers primarily from youth groups from all over the US travel to one of the summer sites for an unforgettable week of serving, learning, worship and fellowship. We are an interdenominational program that has an affiliation with the United Methodist Church. SSP is open to all youth and churches.
Requirements for the Individual Program
- All participants should be willing to engage in and embrace the Christian faith component of SSP; this experience involves prayer, worship, and faith exploration. We do not want any participant to feel they are in a place that is uncomfortable for them, but do also want them to experience the joys of living in an intentional Christian community for the week.
- All youth should attend voluntarily, not pressured from a parent or exclusively to earn community service hours.
- Individual youth and their families must coordinate their own travel to and from the site location. Youth will not be permitted to drive any personal vehicle during their time at SSP.
Age of Participants for Individual Program
Youth entering the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades in Fall 2017 and 2017 high school graduates are all welcome to participate in our Individual Program.
Dedication to a Small Group Size
SSP is dedicated to creating a small group environment at our service projects, with an average of 55 participants each week. A smaller group creates a more intimate setting where youth are safe to grow in their faith, create many new friendships and experience love and acceptance. We intentionally mix the youth that come into different work teams which helps build community.
For the most part, we work on the homes in the communities we serve. The type of work includes roofing, building wheelchair ramps and porches, painting and other general home repairs. No construction experience is needed, and you’ll be amazed at all of the work that you complete!
Occasionally, our teams work on churches, community buildings, and schools in the communities that host us. In addition, we will sometimes participate in other types of community service activities like community gardens when there is a need and the work is appropriate for youth work teams.
Most projects take longer to complete than your week at SSP so you may see the beginning, middle or end of a project.
We upload photos regularly on our facebook page, follow us to stay connected!
Site locations are staffed by a team of mature young adults and are made of a Site Director, Spiritual Life Coordinator, three Construction Team members and two Food Service Coordinators. Three sites this summer will have an extra staff member. They are trained and present at the site for the entire summer, working with the community to provide quality service opportunities.
The Staff participates in a ten-day training which consists of hands-on job specific training, sessions on leadership, conflict resolution, youth ministry, and cultural sensitivity among others. This training equips these young adults to be prepared for difficult situations that they may encounter over the summer.
Safety and Supervision
Safety of every type – physical, spiritual, and emotional – is our top priority. We want each youth to have the best possible experience so we create an environment dedicated to safety, adequate rest, nutritious meals and snacks, and lots of emotional and spiritual support.
Each week begins with hands-on tool training before anyone begins service work.
In addition to our staff, youth groups bring adult counselors in a ratio of one adult for every five youth. Counselors are a key element for a successful week at SSP. Counselors must be at least 23 years old and be chosen for maturity and role modeling capabilities; those younger than 23 must be cleared and approved by the SSP office in advance. All counselors are expected to take online training and undergo a national criminal background check before participating.
Individual youth attend without accompanying adults and are under the supervision of the staff and adult counselors at site.
It is the family’s responsibility to arrange transportation to and from the site location. Once at site, transportation will be provided by adults from youth groups.
- The total fee for Individual Youth is $415 for six nights, payable in three installments.
- All payments are nonrefundable and nontransferable.
- All payments must be received by the listed due date, or a 10% late fee will be added to the balance due. Call Veronica at the office at (916) 488-6441 if you need to make special payment arrangements.
Deposit: $50 per participant
Due at registration to reserve space
Second Payment: $230 per participant
Due March 1st
Final Payment: $135 per participant
Due June 1st
SSP hopes to offer $30,000 in scholarships to assist volunteers with financial needs in 2017. Our commitment is that no youth should be excluded from participating due to lack of financial means. This fund will be used to lower the second and final payment by the needed amount. Complete the Individual Scholarship Application Form to explain your needs before January 15th to receive priority.
Download the Individual Scholarship Application Form.
Typical Daily Schedule
Most days at SSP consist of a full day of service work, team building activities, singing, sharing homemade meals together, reflecting on the experience, and a spiritual program centered around the summer theme.
- 7:00 AM Wake up and get ready (the day may start earlier depending on the site and heat index)
- 7:15 AM Spiritual awakening (optional) to get centered for the day
- 7:45 AM Morning Program
- 8:00 AM Breakfast
- 8:30 AM Community service opportunities (cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, etc.)
- 9:00 AM Arrive at work site, begin service work
- Noon Lunch and Spiritual Sandwiches (group discussion) at work site
- 1:00 PM Resume service work
- 4:00 PM Return to site, clean and store tools, shower, free time. Free time is spent at the location where we are housed and includes sports, crafts, cards, snacks and hanging out with new friends!
- 5:45 PM Dinner
- 6:30 PM Community service opportunities (cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, etc.)
- 7:00 PM Song time and evening program which consists of team building activities, work site reports, spiritual programing related to our summer theme and handing out mail.
- 9:00 PM Youth prepare for bed. Adult counselors have a nightly meeting with members of the staff to share joys, concerns, and information about the plans for the next day.
- 9:45 PM Evening worship led by a work team
- 10:00 PM Lights out. We have separate sleeping areas for each gender. The work we do is hard labor and everyone needs to get a good night of sleep.
Sample Weekly Schedule
Arrive 2:00 to 4:00 PM, orientation, staff / adult counselor meeting, assign work teams
Hands-on tool training, half day service at work site, evening program
Service at work site all day, cross-cultural evening program
Adventure Wednesday: community service activity as a full group or activities to learn about the site location, recreation in the afternoon and BBQ dinner, evening program
Service at work site all day, off-site evening program
Service at work site all day, closing celebrations
Pack up, clean site, fill out evaluations, breakfast, closing circle, depart