Thank you, Silver Lake.
I know it is a bit of a cliche to say that you are Silver Lake, and yet it is completely true. Silver Lake is the community: former campers and staffers; folks who have come on retreat at Silver Lake; the people in our churches; those who love Silver Lake because of what it has done for someone in their life; and so many others who have been shaped by and helped to shape Silver Lake.
It is because of the love and support of this vast and varried community that the ministry at Silver Lake continues to be vibrant, to be able to reinvent itself, and to grow and thrive. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate just a tiny portion of the incredible work you, the Silver Lake community, are doing in this time. This newsletter is filled with stories of care, support, love, and sharing God’s grace with those who need support and thanking those who are making a difference. We know Silver Lake changes lives. We also know that transformation finds its way into the wider world through Silver Lakers who change lives.
I also want to make sure you know how incredible your year-round staff team is. I want to lift up a couple of celebrations. Summer 2021 is going to look like nothing before at Silver Lake, and this is the second new summer program your team has developed in two years. The staff has been in the midst of significant transition with a new Administrator, Site Manager, and Retreat & Finance Manager all within the last 17 months.
Amidst all this change, Silver Lake has faithfully journeyed through the health pandemic, working diligently to increase communication with our families, alumni, and wider community. We have tried to let you know that we are walking alongside you, committed to justice and showing God’s love to all we meet.
Finally, I want to acknowledge that this has been a difficult year for most all of us. And I am really excited for what is to come. Our young people need Silver Lake more than ever. They need a place to safely be in community, to be outside and unplugged, to play and laugh, and to know they are loved by God just the way they are. And to finally get out of their house and step away to camp to be refreshed, renewed, and grounded.
What I am most excited about is that our two-week sessions will give campers more of everything: more ropes, worship, fun, arts and crafts, swimming and boating, friendships, love, and faith. For our retreat groups, we know that the need to safely gather and reestablish community is vital to their programs. Silver Lake can be that place of revitalization and growth. We also can be that place of connection for our families on retreat, another example of how we have adapted our ministry during Covid. Thank you for all your support of this life-changing ministry We look forward to welcoming you back!
Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer