Our counselors are volunteers who serve for a week at a time. They must be at least 16 years old and at least two years older than the oldest conferee (camper) in the conference they are working with. Counselors are responsible for a cabin of up to 8 conferees and sleep in the cabin with them.
Our counselors range in age from 16 to 65 and come from many different backgrounds. They are young people who have grown up going to Silver Lake. They are graduates of the CIT program. They are college-age people who have been invited to camp for the first time by a friend. They are from Connecticut. They are from across the country. They are adults who work with youth in their professional lives. They are dedicated church volunteers. They have never been to church.
All counselors complete in-person and online training that covers community building, positive discipline
practices, setting appropriate boundaries, sexual abuse prevention, and Silver Lake emergency procedures. Counselors must submit references when they apply. All counselors age 18 and older must complete a yearly background check.
Counselors-in-Training (CITs) must be at least 15 years old and must have attended the Silver Lake Counselor-in-Training program. They work with older counselors to get experience and learn how to be excellent at their jobs. Most CITs have attended Silver Lake as conferees. CITs do not count toward the conferee:counselor ratio and cannot supervise a cabin on their own.
Our volunteer Deans are the backbone of our summer program. They create the program for their conference theme, recruit and vet their counselors, and ensure that all of our conferees are loved and safe.
Deans are pastors, teachers, social workers, and former Summer Staff. They must be at least 21 years old, provide references, and pass an annual background check. They attend a training weekend and complete online Safe Camp training.
Our paid Summer Staff live and work at camp for the full summer program. They serve in a variety of support roles: Waterfront Staff, Ropes Course Staff, Kitchen Staff, Resource (Program Support) Staff, ETF (Maintenance) Staff, and Camp Family (first-year housekeeping staff).
Summer Staff must be at least 16 years old; many positions and certification require staff to be 18 or older. Summer Staff must apply annually, submit references, and pass a background check (18 and older).
Many Summer Staff came to Silver Lake as conferees and have served as volunteer counselors. We also hire Summer Staff through overseas camp hiring programs like Camp America, who thoroughly vet all applications. Others come to us through recommendations from friends or through their seminary schools.