by Olivia Sheaffer, 2022 Food Service Coordinator and 2023 Program Coordinator on SSP staff
Ever since my first summer volunteering with SSP, I knew I wanted to staff in the future. Having the opportunity to be on the Youth Advisory Council (and a youth representative on the board) only solidified my love for SSP and my interest in staffing.
I was so nervous going into the summer, and I feared I wouldn’t be able to live up to the staff members I knew when I was a youth volunteer. But once I was on site, I realized I had support from my staff team, and each week brought so many good memories.
“[…] once I was on site, I realized I had support from my staff team, and each week brought so many good memories..”
Of course, the staffing experience is also met with challenges on site. In my case, that meant being a Food Service Coordinator (FSC) on a split site (our lodging was about a 15-minute drive from our kitchen and dining location). Bringing food and supplies back and forth between two locations daily wasn’t exactly what I imagined when I dreamed about staffing. But it did allow me to bond more with my co-FSC, Randy, as we persevered together.
I also feared I wouldn’t make good connections with volunteers like FSCs have been able to do in the past, due to the split site. Thankfully, this was only a struggle that existed in my mind. I felt incredibly lucky for the opportunity to be a role model and friend to the volunteers, just as the staff had been for me years before.
I may never be able to fully put into words what SSP means to me, but I know after summer 2022 I felt more fulfilled and loved than ever before, and I can’t wait to do it all again!
Editor’s Note: We are so excited for Olivia to return to staff in summer 2023 – this time as a Program Coordinator in the Navajo Nation! She has also spent time this year acting as a near-peer advisor to the current Youth Advisory Council, as well as developing the 2023 summer theme and T-shirt design (to be announced soon).
We are still hiring for a few summer staff positions! Join Olivia and many incredible fellow young adults like her this summer in making a difference: apply now.