SSP will host a project in Tijuana, Mexico this summer and spots for church youth groups recently opened up for weeks 4, 5 and 6 (July 19-25, July 26-August 1 and August 2-8.)
SSP completed its first successful pilot in Tijuana last summer. The program has a strong focus on the issues of immigration and California-Mexico border region, with an emphasis on youth and young people.
A week at SSP Mexico will look a little like this:
Meet 15 minutes north of the border in Chula Vista, California early Sunday afternoon and travel with staff to Tijuana. You’ll be staying at Templo Bethel of the Iglesia Metodista de Mexico… a small Methodist church just outside of downtown Tijuana at the top of a small hill. It has a small kitchen where you will eat, outdoor showers and bathrooms and a fellowship hall waiting for your sleeping bags!
Campers and counselors will do repair work off-and-on during the week, with breaks for fun activities and cultural learning. Construction will include roofing, construction of awnings, ramps, and stairs, pouring concrete floors, drywall, and more. Don’t worry, just like every SSP site, you will have lots of supervision and a construction coordinator to guide you along.
The learning objectives of the week in Tijuana are as follows:
1. Equip volunteers with a basic overall understanding of the facts of immigration: number of people crossing the border, causes for immigration, enforcement activities, and the processes of detention and deportation.
2. Provide participants with a basic understanding of the city of Tijuana: its size and demographics, its low-wage manufacturing economy, the role of tourism, and its history as a playground for North Americans and a jumping-off point for Mexicans going north.
3. Expose volunteers at a person-to-person level to the human face of migration by spending time with agencies serving migrants and spending time with those being served.
4. Learn about the many ways that people have devoted their lives to serving the poor of Tijuana.
SSP Mexico has a larger focus on immigration than any other site because of its close proximity to the Mexico-California border. The work is largely the same… but there are perks:
- Your staff (which includes yours truly!) speaks Spanish… a huge benefit for communicating with the homeowner whose house you’ll be repairing and other people in the community.
- The cultural experience is different. Residents of the reservations where SSP works are often older and less mobile… in Tijuana much of the population is younger and looking to come to the U.S. You’ll get to learn a lot about migration and immigration — a hugely controversial issue in the U.S.
- There’s no traditional SSP food… while PB&J is delicious, you’ll be diving into Tijuana and eating only freshly-prepared Mexican food this week!
Special note: All campers enrolling in SSP Mexico must have a passport. Apply early!
Groups cannot be larger than 40 people because of limited space at the church.
Also, counselors do not have to drive in Mexico or purchase Mexican insurance. SSP pays professional drivers to use buses and vans to take campers from Chula Vista to Tijuana and around the city during the week, to and from the work site, etc. Emergency transportation is always on hand given an emergency.
If you’re interested in bringing your youth group… check the current availability and contact Meghan at the SSP office at (916) 488-6441