Following in Size 13 Footsteps
“I first met Rick Eaton as an 18-year-old applying for a Supply Coordinator position in 2005. He was my first boss, entrusting me in challenging situations, helping me grow in responsibility each day. I know this experience is not unique to me — this is the spirit of Sierra Service Project — equipping young people to make a difference, believing tomorrow will be better than today. With tears and laughter recalling memories from over the years, we said good-bye to Rick at the CelebrEATON party we threw for him. We know many impacted by his leadership were unable to join us, but the entire SSP family was with us in spirit and 142 were there in person! I am honored to follow after Rick, encouraging and supporting the next generation, although I know I won’t quite fill his size 13 shoes.”
- Emma Healy: Youth Board Member
- Andrea Maniti: Youth Board Member
- Will Wood: Youth Board Member
- Sally & Abdo Kadifa: Donor and Parent of Youth Volunteer
- Wendy Bernard: Homeowner from Chiloquin, OR
- Pastor Chris Fracchiolla: Adult Volunteer
- Kelsie Currie: 2019 Smith River Site Director
- Pastor Pamela Coy: Community Member
- Brigitte Steel: Staff In Training
Youth from First United Methodist Church, Napa, CA
“SSP has been one of the most rewarding, incredible, and impactful experiences of my life. Every year I look forward to meeting and getting to know new people, building a community, and being in such an inclusive and supportive environment. I had no idea there would be a community out there full of compassionate, empathetic, loving, caring, and welcoming people until my first year at SSP.”
Youth from Vista United Methodist Church, Vista, CA
“I will never forget my first year at SSP in Tsaile, Arizona, where our work team had just finished the top of a wheelchair ramp. The homeowner, Mary, no more than five feet tall. Every day we worked on her ramp, she would sit under a tree in a chair, with assistance from her nephew. On our last day, Mary took her first stride out of her house by herself. This was Mary’s first time stepping outside without assistance in a long time. Even though Mary didn’t speak a single word, her tears and strong hugs were enough to bring our work team to joyous tears.”
Youth from Pt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, Elk Grove, CA
“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.”
Homeowner from Chiloquin, OR.
“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.”
Megaweek by Kelsie Currie
2019 Site Director in Smith River, CA
“We wanted to help anyway we can and when we got the call early into our week 5 that the 60 volunteers from Chiloquin would be making the trek down to Smith River to continue their week with us we couldn’t wait. We were nervous to host the biggest week of SSP that had ever been. We didn’t know what to expect, if there would be enough room, enough food and enough work. Despite all of the challenges we saw, we knew that our staffs were capable of overcoming them and that God was on our side. Above all we were excited to embrace this new experience with open arms and open hearts.”
Parent of SSP Youth from First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, CA
“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!”
Pastor Chris Fracchiolla
Pastor from Magnolia Park United Methodist Church, Burbank, CA
“Later we learned about complexities on a national scale, when we took a day trip to the US-Mexico border. There is a park where people who migrate to the US can see loved ones who were unable to make the same trip. Our youth got a taste of bitter separation when they “touched pinkies” with SSP friends on the other side. Those feelings were complicated by a visit with border patrol agents who described the rigors associated with their job of maintaining border security.”
Pastor Pamela Coy
Pastor from Smith River United Methodist Church, Smith River, CA
“All year, people in and around Smith River who have worked with Sierra Service Project talk about the gift they received from SSP. The staff is truly dedicated – ready to greet the teams, house and feed them, and make sure they have what they need to get the jobs done. I am amazed at their stamina.
I believe the Smith River UMC congregation remains vital all year round because of the love and excitement that fills the church all summer. Jesus calls us to love one another, and build a sturdy foundation. I believe the love does linger…the energy clings to the walls even when the church becomes silent and much older in the fall. SSP is so welcome here every year. Hugs all around…”
Staff-in-Training from St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Santa Maria, CA
“I learned last summer the love we experience at SSP, although it feels otherworldly and magical, can be found anywhere and in anyone. It’s something I have found to be thriving in my church. SSP has opened me up to feel love for so many people. It has opened my mind and heart to help in any way I can; to find new ways to help others. It’s given me something to look forward to in times when I thought I had no place to look forward.”
- Summer: Join us for a week at one of our five summer locations! Youth groups, individuals, or intergenerational groups can serve.
- Year-Round: Weekends of Service are available for youth groups in Portland, Sacramento, and San Diego. We can create a customized Alternative Break for your group – youth, college, and intergenerational groups welcome.
- Rancho Cordova: Free Days of Service in the Sacramento region!
Grow in Leadership
- Staff-in-Training: A week-long chance to assist and shadow summer staff.
- Summer Staff: Ten weeks over the summer of hard work, service, and fun that will change your life.