This past summer between my eleventh and twelfth grade year, I had the most amazing and educational time of my life. I was able to attend a program with a youth group from Redondo Beach, California, that I have become close to throughout the years. Sierra Service Project (SSP) was this program that changed my life. We took a road trip down to Tsaile, Arizona, where SSP had assigned our youth group, and we prepared ourselves to help rebuild the Navajo Nation. Our goal throughout the week at SSP was to repair, or improve houses on the reservation, which would in turn provide gratitude for the Navajo people.
During the week, I got to meet many wonderful people from other churches that have been through a lot in their life but still had the heart to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate. I also had the opportunity of meeting under privileged Indians that are looking for kind hearted people to give them a break. SSP taught me that there are other people in the world that need help and it was a wonderful feeling knowing that I was the one that was able to help these people. It made me remember how fortunate I was to be able to have a semi large house that wasn’t falling apart but if it was we would be able to fix it. However, the Navajo’s are not that fortunate. These people have gone through so much horror in their life, and it continues to this day. By learning information about these Indians throughout the week, I continued to feel more and more sorry for them.
That week changed me forever because I got to witness another way of life. With living in the suburbs my whole life, I did grow to have a some what sheltered life but SSP helped to expand my original ways of thinking. It showed me that I need to give back to a world that has less than I do. Since I am so fortunate and now appreciative of the things that I have in my life, I need to give back to the under privileged people of the world by giving them the things that I do not need in my life.
Every night at Sierra Service Project after a successful work day, we would discuss the day and what worked and what did not. This would help the staff to know what needs to be improved and what things should be taken out of the daily routines. Another thing that I felt the SSP program did successfully was the eating arrangements. The campers would stand in a line to get their food that was served by the staff, and then would sit at tables with people that they weren’t familiar with which would allow them to make new friends. However, I did not like the site reports that were held after work every day because I for one don’t like standing up in front of other people.
Overall, I found that this past summer opened up many new ways of thinking for me, and changed my views of how I lived my life. I will never forget the people that I met throughout my journey and the lives that I changed.
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