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Returning to Chiloquin

Returning to Chiloquin

Caroline Hines
2019 Spiritual Life Coordinator in Chiloquin, OR

The natural beauty that surrounds Chiloquin creates a powerful experience. Because the town of Chiloquin itself is so small, the opportunities to see the areas around it allow for a distinguishable connection with nature. The spirit walk location overlooks great views of the land, lakes, and all the way to the mountains on the other side. Being so high up, there is so much to see and take in. The scenery was so vast that I was able to pick up on something new every week of the summer.

“This made for quick gratification for the volunteers, being able to go from seeing an empty space on the ground at the start of the day, to saying “I planted that tree” by the end of the work day.”

Chiloquin’s Adventure Wednesday spot at Collier State Park, by contrast, is nestled in the trees by the Williamson River. What’s especially cool about this location is that volunteers got to do their Wednesday service there, swim in the river, feast on a barbecue dinner, and worship through evening program.

The park rangers who led the Wednesday work were wonderful in educating the volunteers about fire prevention and upkeep of the natural space, but even more special was the opportunity they gave volunteers to plant trees! This made for quick gratification for the volunteers, being able to go from seeing an empty space on the ground at the start of the day, to saying “I planted that tree” by the end of the work day. It was especially neat knowing that before that, most of the volunteers wouldn’t have been able to say that they had planted a tree. Everyone was really excited about it, and got to stick around and continue to appreciate their work for the rest of the day.

I personally never got tired of smelling those ponderosa pines. It may be a trivial detail, but a very real joy. I suggested giving those trees a sniff to many a volunteer, and whether that was met with confusion, skepticism, or no question at all, no one was disappointed by the experience once they leaned in for a whiff.

Editor’s Note: Caroline Hines has served on summer staff for two summers and will be returning to Chiloquin as the Spiritual Life Coordinator in summer 2019. Caroline attended SSP as a youth volunteer with Half Moon Bay United Methodist Church. There is still space for volunteers to serve in Chiloquin this summer. Check out the current availability here. 

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First-come, first-served registration is open for SSP's summer of 2019! If you are your group's liaison, click the button to login to your MySSP account.

Wendy Bernard

Homeowner in Chiloquin, OR

My experience with Sierra Service Project is one of awe. Daily I wondered where I could turn for the help my husband and I were search of. We needed a ramp to make it easier for both of us to get in and out of our home, and I had run out of places to go. One day, I saw mention of SSP in the weekly newsletter for our small town of Chiloquin. After a couple years of waiting for those that were more in need than us to get work done, I filled out the application.

“They talked to us like we were old friends and listened to our stories.”

I was surprised when I got the call we had been chosen. I counted down the days, and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect. How would we be received by the workers? The day they arrived, I was so surprised at how warm and welcoming everyone was, all my concerns gone. It was as if family had come home to help me out. The volunteers were smiling, polite, and totally put me at ease.

They talked to us like we were old friends and listened to our stories. It had been a long time since I had seen that amount of dedication from young people. You could see the care and pride they had in their work. Their love and concern for us as individuals brought smiles to our faces. I would spend each day outside with them. I looked forward to their arrival every day, and when they left, it was as if my own children had returned to their homes.

“I wish they could have seen the day my husband came down the ramp, both arms in the air in victory in being able to leave the house without the pain of walking down steps.”

These young people went above and beyond. In return, I just had to do something for them, so I provided pitchers of lemonade, which they seemed to truly appreciate. They were a blessing and a bright light in the darkness that had become our battle for help.

They will forever be part of my heart and I wish they knew how much they mean to me. I wish they could have seen the day my husband came down the ramp, both arms in the air in victory in being able to leave the house without the pain of walking down steps, and the ease of me being able to do the same. We will never forget those who worked at our home and I hope in the future others will know the blessing of SSP’s work.

 

Editor’s Note: This article is featured in SSP’s 2018 Annual Newsletter; read all the stories written by youth volunteers, summer staff, and community members. Request a hard copy newsletter to be mailed to you.

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Will Wood

Will Wood

Youth Board Member from Pt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, Elk Grove, CA

I have participated in SSP four times, in San Diego, Smith River, Spokane, and Tsaile, all at high school sessions. Through my trips with SSP, I have acquired a plethora of memories and experiences, each of them special in their own way. A few of these include learning about the rich history of Chicano-Americans in San Diego, racing to save the beautiful Tolowa Dunes outside Smith River from invasive European beachgrass, and strategically demolishing an awning on a twelve-foot-tall deck in Spokane.

If I had to choose just one significant memory, it would be from Tsaile this year. Dr. Silver Nez Perry, a Diné community leader, talked to our whole group about motivation and how to be successful in life. To hear such inspiring words come from a place one would not necessarily seek it out was especially intriguing. Silver’s words have stuck with me since then, and will be with me for a long time to come. These (and many more memories) have made SSP a formative and important experience for me.

“To be able to significantly impact the life of someone else, while simultaneously deepening your own faith and connecting with fellow Christians, is a special thing I am proud to be a part of.”

Sierra Service Project has somehow struck the perfect balance between church retreats and service projects. To be able to significantly impact the life of someone else, while simultaneously deepening your own faith and connecting with fellow Christians, is a special thing I am proud to be a part of. The duality of helping others while also helping yourself, although in different ways, is what truly has made SSP an important experience in my life that has yet to reach its final chapter.

SSP has given me so many great memories. Through each of my four trips with SSP, I have become enthralled with philanthropy and the deepening of faith. When I am older, I would love to be involved in the non-profit world, to help others find that same passion. This is why I have chosen to serve on SSP’s Board of Directors, to help others find their passion through service. Serving on the Board of Directors will allow me to give back to a worthy organization, and help other teenagers take advantage of opportunities to serve with SSP.

 

Editor’s Note: Will Wood is a senior that attends SSP with Pt. Pleasant United Methodist Church. He has been elected this year to serve as a youth representative on SSP’s Board of Directors. This article is featured in SSP’s 2018 Annual Newsletter; read all the stories written by youth volunteers, summer staff, and community members. Request a hard copy newsletter to be mailed to you.

SSP's Group Registration Portal
First-come, first-served registration is open for SSP's summer of 2019! If you are your group's liaison, click the button to login to your MySSP account.
Sally Kadifa

Sally Kadifa

Parent of SSP Youth from First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, CA

We donate to SSP because of the opportunities for service it has provided for our daughter, Charlotte. She is a senior in high school and has participated in both middle and high school SSP trips with her youth group at our church, First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. These service trips are truly a highlight of Charlotte’s summer vacation.

“We are impressed Sierra Service Project makes the effort to develop constructive and long-term partnerships with the communities the programs serve.”

She has had fun “doing good” for others while bonding with teens from our church as well as teens from churches around the West Coast. She’s learned how to paint, use power tools, and construct a wheelchair ramp. She’s enjoyed meeting some of the individuals who so graciously permit SSP participants and staff to work on their homes, community facilities, and parks.

“Teens see the injustice and inequality in our society, and SSP empowers them to do something about it.”

We are impressed Sierra Service Project makes the effort to develop constructive and long-term partnerships with the communities the programs serve, and works with them to identify and complete projects that truly benefit the community. Charlotte’s experiences with SSP have informed her belief system and values. Teens see the injustice and inequality in our society, and SSP empowers them to do something about it. Thank you, SSP!

 

Editor’s Note: Join the Kadifa family and over 600 annual donors in supporting SSP financially. This article is featured in SSP’s 2018 Annual Newsletter; read all the stories written by youth volunteers, summer staff, and community members. Request a hard copy newsletter to be mailed to you.

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  • #YouthGroupHighlight! Thank you @sparkaumc for sending teams to serve in Chiloquin, Oregon for three previous summers, and again this year. Who has been to Chiloquin more than three times?
  • We love to see the end result of volunteers' hard work - finished projects! Last summer, 203 youth and 60 adults completed 15 projects for homeowners and community organizations in Chiloquin, OR. These included 2 ramps, 2 sets of stairs, and 2 fences. Join us in 2019 for our seventh consecutive summer serving in Chiloquin!
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  • "The spirit walk location overlooks amazing views of the land, the lakes, all the way to the mountains on the other side. Being so high up, there is so much to take in. The scenery was so vast that every week of the summer I was able to discover something new." Read more from Chiloquin Spiritual Life Coordinator Caroline Hines - link in bio!

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