I really don't like the phrase "virtual camp." Camp is not an experience you can have online. Learning to live with 7 new friends in a small space; running and jumping and swinging and swimming; climbing the ropes course or playing disc golf or Nuke 'Em; lifting our voices together in worship; swaying with arms around shoulders by the campfire. Camp is a physical experience that you just can't get through a computer screen.
And while Silver Lake's summer program is definitely camp, it is also more than camp. Silver Lake is an Outdoor Ministry.
When we come together in the summer for fun and friendship, we do all of the camp things as a way to practice our faith, to learn and grow through our experiences with each other in the great outdoors. We spend our week together guided by the Silver Lake Loves: Love God, Love Your Neighbor, Love Yourself, and Love Creation.
And while we can't bring a ropes course to your house, we can bring you the Silver Lake Loves.
During this summer of Covid-19, bring Silver Lake home with you by practicing the Silver Lake Loves with your family. I am excited to share with you the Silver Lake At Home program we have created to help you practice your faith and learn more about God, your neighbor, yourself, and creation.
I am so grateful to all of you who responded to our survey asking what you most valued about Silver Lake and what you would like to see from us this summer. We heard that what brings you back to Silver Lake are the "God encounters" you have at camp and the meaningful connections you make with the people here. I hope that you will find opportunities for both this summer.
The program we've created will run over four weeks in July, with each week offering a chance to explore one of the Silver Lake Loves. There are a number of ways to be involved -- we also heard you when you said that each family's needs are unique! -- so that you can customize your experience and find what works best for you.
As we were creating these offerings, we began to dream of what it would look like to include not just our campers, but their whole families -- or even your church families! While most things are geared toward campers, all the activities will become even more meaningful if the entire family gets in on the fun. We'll include suggestions of how to do that!
We are also trying to keep everything as affordable as possible. We know these are tough times! When we have asked for a fee for an item or program, please know that the price just barely covers Silver Lake's cost in providing that activity. And many activities are being offered for free! Please, if you are able to, consider making a donation when you enjoy one of our free offerings.
Excited to see what's in store? Head over to the Silver Lake At Home page to browse all the offerings. There are both in-person (or, in-Zoom) events and activities you can do on your own. If you want the full experience, purchase a "Silver Lake in a Box" kit to guide you through our four weeks. Sign up for a Cabin Group to meet new friends. We even have special conferences for our high schoolers: Check out the Virtual Mission Trip or Virtual Reel to Real. Or just attend the weekly campfires for a worship service based on that week's theme.
Registration for programs begins on June 2. That's when the box will be available for purchase, too. Materials will be added to the site as we get closer to our first day of At Home program on July 6.