Board Member, Point Pleasant United Methodist Church, Elk Grove, CA
My oldest son, Connor, went on his first SSP trip in 2010 with our church, Point Pleasant United Methodist Church in Elk Grove, CA. I had no idea what it was about, but I volunteered to put together the slide show of pictures to show during service at our church after the youth group returned. After seeing all the photos, I knew I wanted to go the next year. Fortunately, a spot opened up for me (we have more adult volunteers who want to attend than we have room for) and I was able to go the next year to Fort Hall, ID.
“Never have I been around such amazing young people that give me real hope for the future.”
The energy of the youth and the positivity of the staff absolutely hooked me, and I have gone ever since: Susanville, CA, Chiloquin, OR, Tsaile, AZ, San Diego, CA, Smith River, CA, Spokane, WA, then back to Tsaile, and this past summer back to Chiloquin. I have built numerous wheelchair ramps, stairs, an awning, two roof projects, and a 100-foot long chain link dog run for the animal shelter in Smith River.
Never have I been around such amazing young people that give me real hope for the future. Plus, the ability to truly help people who are so deserving and see the appreciation first-hand makes it that much better. SSP is definitely my favorite week of the year. One of my favorite things is seeing youth from my work team go on to become youth Board members, staff, and even Site Directors. I like to think I have played some small part in building their love for SSP and serving others.
“SSP is definitely my favorite week of the year.“
A few years ago, my wife Patty and I took over as SSP liaisons for our church from Linda Harrell, who had been doing it for many years. She did such an amazing job and was so involved and loving. We were really not sure if the two of us would be able to fill her shoes, but we’ve done the best we can, and SSP is still a very big part of how our church reaches out to serve others. Our entire church supports our SSP trip and efforts through fundraising and prayers, and we really couldn’t do it without them.
Editor’s Note: Russ is one of our new Board members in 2019, and has been an SSP adult counselor with the Point Pleasant United Methodist Church youth group for nine years, alongside his wife and group liaison Patty. Both of his sons were also SSP youth volunteers. Russ is a licensed Mechanical Engineer specializing in residential HVAC design and energy code compliance.