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Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith

Youth Board Member, Point Pleasant United Methodist Church, Elk Grove, CA

SSP is a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, it’s a week to get away from home and be free, and for others, it’s a week of working hard and making friends. There is no one right answer to what SSP is because everyone has their own story, and I love telling mine.

For me, the concept of unplugging has always been difficult. Growing up in a technology-filled world really does influence your day to day life, whether you like it or not. My first time at SSP, I was not having it. The idea of having to go ‘off the grid’ for a week was absolutely absurd in my eyes. I questioned why everyone was so willing to go, and my overall attitude towards the trip was poor at best.

Upon arrival at my first SSP in Spokane, I dragged myself through the first two days, still believing with my whole being what I was doing was silly and unimportant. Soon, my whole attitude changed.

“Being with my team for the day with no phone, no electronics, and a group full of people I didn’t know was the best thing that happened to me that trip.”

I started out dreading it. Our first full workday? In the sun? I kept saying it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until we ended up heading into the city of Spokane on Tuesday that my attitude did a complete 180°.

Being with my team for the day with no phone, no electronics, and a group full of people I didn’t know was the best thing that happened to me that trip. We laughed, shared stories, learned about each other on a personal level, and goofed around. That day in Spokane with my work team showed me what SSP was all about: community, hard work, and just opening your heart to the people around you.

“That day…showed me what SSP was all about: community, hard work, and just opening your heart to the people around you.”

Ever since then, SSP has been something I look forward to every year, and I just haven’t been able to get enough of it. I constantly rave about it to my friends, peers, and random people who ask me about the stickers on my water bottle or the cool design on the back of my shirt. SSP provided me with a new outlook on the world, and I am so excited to keep spreading that love and acceptance to everyone as my journey continues. 

Editor’s Note: Amanda is a youth Board member for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. She is part of the youth group at Point Pleasant United Methodist Church, a long-time participating SSP congregation, where SSP staff are also hosted for debrief at the end of each summer. Join Amanda in the life-changing experience of volunteering at SSP this summer!