Last season saw a spike in camper registrations - a welcome change. In prior years, the conference center saw a trend of almost 50 fewer campers each season. But early in 2017, the entire Connecticut Conference staff made a commitment to reverse that trend by heralding the unique experiences of Silver Lake. These efforts resulted in an increase of 109 campers in 2017 over the previous year.
In all, 918 campers spent a week enjoying the environment and experiences of Silver Lake, along with more than 250 volunteers, including counselors, deans, and chaplains. The 2017 season also saw several new conference themes, like STEAM Team, a 4th and 5th grade conference that explored God's creation through science, and River of Dreams, a high school conference that explored justice issues and the power to create change.
This year, Executive Director Ryan Gackenheimer and staff are looking to continue the positive gains by adding another 50 campers to the roster for summer conferences.
Those interested in making a gift to scholarships can visit www.silverlakect.org and click "Donate," or mail a check with "Scholarship" noted in the memo line to 233 Low Rd. Sharon CT 06069.
Applications for camper scholarships are available through the camper online registration account.
The 2018 Summer Season will bring some more new opportunities for campers. A brand new high ropes course will be open for summer 2018. The course has been designed to encourage teamwork: In addition to allowing participants to challenge themselves, there are certain elements that cannot be completed by one individual working alone. This new design will complement the community building aspect of the summer program. Campers and volunteers may recognize the new Program Director. Jennifer Kronholm Clark, formerly Silver Lake's Administrator, will be responsible for planning the summer conferences and recruiting and training the volunteer summer deans. She will also hire, train, and supervise summer staff, recruit and train volunteer counselors, and handle many aspects of communication and marketing. This new position brings general oversight of the summer program all under one umbrella.
Kronholm Clark, a Silver Lake alumnus and long-time staff member, understands the importance of the Silver Lake experience in young people. "My experience as a child at Silver Lake has shaped my whole life. I am still friends with the people I met here 20 years ago. Summer camp allows young people to spread their wings, gain some independence, and to build lifelong friendships. At Silver Lake, conferees have a unique opportunity to live in community with their peers, to explore their faith in a safe environment, and to get outside and enjoy God's creation."
Online registration opens on Monday, January 15. The Summer Season Brochure, which provides details on dates and ages of each conference offered in the 2018 season, is available online. Those who register early will be offered a $50 discount when registering between January 15 and January 31. For more information, visit www.silverlakect.org.
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...