An Interview with Jenn Kronholm Clark

An Interview with Jenn Kronholm Clark

Jennifer Kronholm Clark
This month, Emily McKenna interviews Jennifer Kronholm Clark, Silver Lake Conference Center’s Program Director. Learn what's happening at camp this summer and how you can help support our outdoor ministries this season!
Emily Hi Jenn! This morning I saw the new day camp flyer and that's exciting info! Tell us a little bit about that.
Jenn Yes! As a parent myself, I have really struggled to find day camps for my kids. This year, fewer camps are running and those that are running are doing so at reduced capacity. I've been hearing from other parents and from camps in the area that they have crazy long wait lists. So we were looking at an opportunity to help out the community knowing that child care this summer is so desperately needed, and that camp is so important for kids. Day camp is a wonderful experience. It's new to Silver Lake, but I'm certainly familiar with day camp from sending my own kids there. We decided that was something that we could offer to our community and try to make some more connections locally. Our demographic typically comes from away because we're an overnight camp. So we often run into people in town who tell us, “I didn't even know you were there!” So we're hoping it's a good thing for everybody.
Emily That's awesome. So are you bringing Silver Lake materials to schools to advertise, or how are you letting the community know this is happening?
Jenn Well, you saw the Facebook campaign that just got launched. So there are a lot of local Facebook groups that I've shared that with. We are reaching out to the local elementary schools, asking them to share our flyer with their families. We're reaching out to local churches, starting with UCC and we plan to also reach out to other denominations. The day camp program is nondenominational so that we can welcome a more diverse population, whoever is around locally, so that we're not limited.
Emily That's sounding great. Let’s shift to chatting about the main summer program before the day camp will start, tell us about how that's forming and how many how many kids we're expecting to see at Silver Lake this year.
Jenn We switched our program to two weeks instead of one week and we reduced our capacity. We're at probably a little less than half capacity for a session, and then with the fewer sessions, it functionally works out to about a quarter of what we would normally see in the summertime. Each session has four conferences. Each conference has 20 campers for a maximum of 80 campers per session and 240 over the course of the summer. We still have a few spots available. I think we're hovering almost at two hundred registrations. So there are some spaces available and people should definitely still inquire!
And our summer staff are just about to come in! I'm excited about them. They are going to be a really great team. It’s the first time ever we've had paid counselors. The counselors are going to be assigned to a conference and that's going to be their cohort for the week and they'll move around site together. So when it's time to go to arts and crafts the counselors will move with them and teach arts and crafts, and when it's time to go to the waterfront, some of their counselors will be their lifeguards down at the waterfront. It's a nice opportunity for staff to get cross-trained in a number of things, the lifeguarding skills, the ropes course skills, they're transferable to other places and other jobs. So it's really valuable experience for them, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm excited about it and they're excited about it. We do still have room to take more staff, fully vaccinated staff. If there's someone interested in being on staff who can't be here the whole summer but could be here for two weeks, I would certainly talk to them.
Emily Staff is definitely an amazing opportunity. Please tell me how someone like myself, who loves camp, who doesn't have a camp aged person in my family who can attend this year, how can we support Silver Lake this summer?
Jenn Spread the word! Spread the word about our overnight program, spread the word about our brand new day camp program. Spread the word about staff. We have lots of creative and unique opportunities for staff. We are also doing an adopt a staff member program this year where if you can't be here, but you want to send fan mail to someone who is here to keep their spirits up, I will match you up with a staff member and give you their information and you can send them letters and care packages.
Emily That is my favorite. I definitely want to do that for one of the staff members personally. That's awesome.
Jenn I'll put your name on the list.
Emily Getting mail at camp is so lovely. The campers being there for two weeks instead of one, that's new, right? How do you how do you anticipate keeping it fresh for them so that they don't get bored by day eight?
Jenn Well, part of what we're really excited about is that we just get to do more. We have more flexibility in the schedule so that everyone can get a chance to do everything. In ceramics, for example, let's say you went the first week and you were disappointed in how your project turned out. Well, guess what? You can try again the next week and actually build on what you learned from your mistakes in the first week, which is exactly what we want to see happen at camp. Try something and learn from it and try again. So we're really excited to have those opportunities just to do more and to do it in a more educational way.
Emily That'll be special for them, too. So how are the all year round staff doing with all these changes, how are things going at the office? Tell me about that.
Jenn Well, as you can imagine, it's a little crazy right now. Everybody has a big to do list, and the days are ticking by faster than we'd like. What I'm keeping my eye on, I've got coordinators starting to gather downstairs today! And we have just been waiting for the kids to get here. It's a busy time, but we feel like we're in a really good spot. Then when the kids get here, it's going to be amazing.
Emily Thank you, Jenn. This is really good information that we can spread about Silver Lake, which I'm excited to do!



Emily McKenna

Emily is the Program Support Associate for the Discipleship and Justice & Witness Teams of the Southern New England Conference.   Emily grew up in the Naugatuck Congregational Church UCC and at Silver Lake Conference Center, where she has served as ...

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