Individuals at SSP

Most volunteers who participate in SSP are part of a group, but we want the SSP experience to be accessible to everyone! Volunteers who are not part of a group can also participate in SSP, by signing up as an individual. This program works especially well for:

  • Youth who do not have an adult who can participate with them
  • Volunteers unconnected with a church or youth group
  • Volunteers who are unable to attend with their group due to scheduling conflicts
  • Volunteers who want to attend more SSP than once during the summer
  • Young adults who want to participate as a volunteer
  • Adult volunteers who want to take part in the service-learning experience

Depending on an individual’s age, they can participate in various types of SSP programs:

Download the Summer Information Packet for program details.


Learn More About SSP's Individual Volunteer Program

2020 Dates

  • Week 1: June 21 – 27
  • Week 2: June 28 – July 4
  • Week 3: July 5 – 11
  • Week 4: July 12 – 18
  • Week 5: July 19 – 25
  • Week 6: July 26 – August 1
  • Week 7: August 2 – 8

Most sessions begin on Sunday afternoon and end on Saturday morning, unless otherwise indicated.

Program Schedule

Please note the program schedule may be subject to change by volunteer interest.

Please call us if you have any questions about our program schedule!

View the current availability.

Register an Individual

  • Registration for individuals is completed on MySSP, our registration portal. Sign-ups open in early November and are first-come, first-served as space is available.
  • To sign up, compete the Individual Registration Form.
  • A deposit of $60 per participant must be received by credit card online at the time of registration. All subsequent payments can be made by mailing a check (preferred), or making a card payment over the phone.
  • For registration and payment assistance, please call the SSP Office at (916) 488-6441.

Who Participates

Youth Groups

As an ecumenical 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. Anyone under 23 will not be permitted to drive any personal vehicle during their time at SSP.

Age of Participants for Individual Program

Depending on an individual’s age, they can participate in various types of SSP programs:

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.

Service Work

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!

SSP Staff

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.

Staff participate 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.

Learn more about SSP’s young adult staff.

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.

Adult Counselors

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.

Learn more about adult counselors.


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 2019, SSP awarded over $80,000 in scholarships to almost 500 participants in need. We hope to do the same in 2020. Our commitment is that no youth should be excluded from participating due to lack of financial means. Scholarship awards will be used to lower the second and final payment by the needed amount. Scholarship applications can be found on the downloads page.

2020 Individual Downloads

Visit our downloads page for more resources.

Smith River

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.

While this a general template you can expect, the schedule may vary depending on site logistics.

  • 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

While this a general template you can expect, the schedule may vary depending on site logistics.


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.

Sierra Service Project works to build strong connections and resilience among communities. Join us in home repair work so residents throughout the Western United States can safely age in place.

Subscribe to SSP News

Contact Sierra Service Project

© 2019 Sierra Service Project - All Rights Reserved