Southern New England's outdoor ministry glitterati were at their most sparkly on the evening of Nov 18 at Fancy Camp, a gala to benefit Silver Lake Conference Center.
More than 80 people were in attendance at Wallingford Country Club to honor Ruth Tyrol, the winner of the inaugural Silver Lake Award. The Silver Lake award recognizes someone who has been shaped by Silver Lake's core values and has used those values in the world beyond camp. In his remarks introducing the award, Connecticut Conference Minister The Rev. Kent Siladi noted that Ruth Tyrol, in her service to Silver Lake from 1964-1994, actually helped shape Silver Lake's core values.
Bob Smith, a Silver Laker since the camp opened in the spring of 1957 said, "I have known Ruth for over 55 years. It was a supreme honor for me to witness the first Silver Lake Award being presented to this woman of faith who was so much a part of the lives of literally thousands of young people."
Jenna Dufresne, a Silver Lake staff member & summer dean in the 1990s said she wouldn't have missed this opportunity to see Ruth honored. "It was beyond touching to see Ruth Tyrol get honored for her years of dedication at Silver Lake. Her legacy from an unpaid hard worker to an inspiration who guided many of us into ministry, relationships, and community outreach was heart warming. This humble woman is the reason so many continue with devotion to the legacy of our camp on Low Road. "
In her conversation with Silver Lake summer dean Val Tutson, Ruth told the story of her first time counseling at Silver Lake; responding to an urgent and immediate need for a female counselor. Ruth also told stories of campers wearing suits and dresses for dinner, and how blessed she has been by having Silver Lake's ministry and it's people, in her life over six decades.
During the evening's festivities, Silver Lake Executive Director The Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer debuted the plans for the new Silver Lake high ropes course. Gackenheimer stressed that this new ropes course would rely on conferees to work as a team to master the challenges, playing to Silver Lake's strengths in community building and cooperation. Construction and fundraising for the new ropes course is underway, and more opportunities to support this project will be announced soon.
December 1-3 is "Christmas at the Lake" weekend at Silver Lake, with programming for 5-8th graders! Visit ww.silverlakect.org for more information and to register.
Brian Lapis is a member of the First Congregational Church of South Hadley, Massachusetts, and a member of the Silver Lake Conference Center Board of Directors.