Most volunteers who participate in SSP are part of a youth group, but we want the SSP experience to be accessible to all youth and adult volunteers!
This program works especially well for volunteers who are:
- Unconnected with a church or youth group
- Those whose churches do not have youth groups
- Those who are unable to attend with their group due to scheduling conflicts
- Want to attend more SSP than once during the summer
Each summer 1,500 youth and adults from over 125 groups participate in our Summer Programs. For the summer of 2019, we have five site locations throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona. We offer week-long sessions beginning June 23, 2019. Last summer, teenagers completed over 80 projects on homes and community centers. 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 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 2019 Summer Information Packet.
Learn More About SSP's Individual Volunteer Summer Program
- Week 1: June 23-29
- Week 2: June 30 – July 6
- Week 3: July 7-13
- Week 4: July 14-20
- Week 5: July 21-27
- Week 6: July 28 – August 3
- Week 7: August 4-10
Most sessions begin on Sunday afternoon and end on Saturday morning.
View the current availability.
Register an Individual
Registration for individual volunteers will open in November. If you have any questions about registering for a week with Sierra Service Project, please contact Veronica Russell at (916) 488-6441.
As an interdenominational Christian service program, SSP encourages middle and high school youth groups, adult groups, families, and individuals to participate. SSP fosters affirming spaces and welcomes volunteers of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities. The only requirements to attend SSP are a willingness to serve and openness to new experiences.
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 volunteers should attend voluntarily, not pressured from a parent or exclusively to earn community service hours.
- Individual volunteers 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 2019, 2019 high school graduates, and adult volunteers 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 60 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 four 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 Volunteers is $455, 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: $60 per participant
Due at registration to reserve space
Second Payment: $240 per participant
Due March 1st
Final Payment: $155 per participant
Due June 1st
In 2018, SSP awarded over $47,000 in scholarships to 336 participants in need. We hope to do the same in 2019. 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.
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)
- 7:30 AM Spiritual awakening (optional) to get centered for the day
- 8:00 AM Breakfast
- 8:30 AM Community service opportunities, lunch crew packs sandwiches, teams head to work site.
- 9:30 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!
- 5:00 PM Staff/counselor meeting – adults meet with staff to discuss joys, concerns, and plans for the next 24 hours.
- 6:00 PM Dinner
- 6:30 PM Community service opportunities (cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, etc.)
- 7:00 PM Song time and evening program – team building activities, mail, sharing work site reports, and spiritual programs related to our summer theme. At least one evening is always devoted to learning about the local community.
- 9:00 PM Free time. Volunteers prepare for bed.
- 9:45 PM Evening devotional led by a work team
- 10:00 PM Lights out. We have separate sleeping areas by 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, receive bookmark with website to take online evaluation survey, breakfast, closing circle, depart.