SSP’s annual newsletter is published digitally and in hard copy every fall.

Sign up to receive a copy in your inbox or mailbox. In the meantime, enjoy last year’s edition full of stories from our constituents.

Following in Size 13 Footsteps

Megan presenting Rick a thank you for 17 years of service!

“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.”

Megan Walsh
Executive Director



Newsletter Stories:

Emma Healy

Youth from First United Methodist Church, Napa, CA

Emma (third from the left) on the beach in Smith River!

“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.”

Read the rest of Emma’s story.




Andrea Maniti

Youth from Vista United Methodist Church, Vista, CA

Andrea and homeowner Mary in Tsaile.

“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.”

Read the rest of Andrea’s story.


Will Wood

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

Will (far left) and his work team with homeowner Catherine’s floor in Tsaile.

“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.”

Read the rest of Will’s story.




Wendy Bernard

Homeowner from Chiloquin, OR.

Wendy Bernard with Supply Coordinator Randy Larson in Chiloquin.

“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.”

Read the rest of Wendy’s story.





Megaweek by Kelsie Currie

2019 Site Director in Smith River, CA

Kelsie (middle) saying farewell to volunteers and Chioloquin Staff Member Angelina (right) after Megaweek.

“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.”

Read the rest of Kelsie’s story.




Sally Kadifa

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

Sally’s daughter, Charlotte (second from right), working on Linda’s Shed in 2017.

“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!”

Read the rest of Sally’s story.





Pastor Chris Fracchiolla

Pastor from Magnolia Park United Methodist Church, Burbank, CA

Chris’s (second from the right) work team serving in San Diego.

“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.”

Read the rest of Chris’s story.


Pastor Pamela Coy

Pastor from Smith River United Methodist Church, Smith River, CA

Pastor Pam greeting the group at community dinner.

“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…”

Read the rest of Pam’s story.


Brigitte Steel

Staff-in-Training from St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Santa Maria, CA

Brigitte (fourth from the left) with the 2018 Spokane Staff.

“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.”

Read the rest of Brigitte’s story.





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