Valerie Tutson Recognized with 4th Annual Silver Lake Award

June 23, 2020
By Brian Lapis

The Silver Lake community has spoken! Valerie Tutson is the 2020 Silver Lake Award honoree.

The Silver Lake Award recognizes someone whose life has been visibly shaped by the core values of Silver Lake Conference Center and who, in turn, lives their life and faith in a way that reflects the formative experiences they have had at Silver Lake. This person truly takes Silver Lake home with them beyond Low Road. 

“I am beyond honored to receive this award. Silver Lake has been a part of my life since I was 11 years old,” Val said. “Without a doubt, Silver Lake has helped to shape the person I am in the world. It has always been a place where my life, my creative work, and my faith get explored and braided together. I tell people all over the world that all the good stuff I learned about life and caring for God’s people I learned and keep learning at camp!”

Valerie was first a Silver Lake camper in 1977, on Camp Family in 1982, and has been a summer dean at Silver Lake since 1985. 

Val was lifted up by Silver Lakers in an open nomination process earlier this year. The nominators praised her decades of work as the dean of the iconic Sing Praise conference, where campers adapt a Bible story to a musical worship. 

“She has helped to bring God closer to hundreds of conferees through the amazing work she and her colleagues do through the Sing Praise family of conferences. Val has created a great legacy of deans, with her former counselors and conferees becoming counselors and deans.”

“I still remember how Sing Praise coming to my church to perform inspired me to take a chance on Silver Lake. Val finds the special gift in every person and encourages them to share it in whatever way they can. Her kindness, deep love of God and Mother Earth (Pachamama), and her personal strength show conferees exactly what Silver Lake is about: an extravagant welcome, the sharing of our unique gifts, and taking a risk to be your true self.”

“Val has helped widen the reach of Silver Lake, welcoming people from Rhode Island and beyond, actively inviting talented people, particularly people of color, to become part of our Silver Lake family.”


“I am so delighted to celebrate Val Tutson as the SLCC Award Recipient,” said SLCC Executive Director the Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer. “It is difficult to be in the presence of Val and not know that God is alive and loves you to the deepest core of who you truly are.”

The 2020 SLCC Award Celebration will be held in April 2021. Details will be announced closer to the date.

Silver Lake Conference Center

Silver Lake Conference Center is a ministry of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.
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223 Low Road | Sharon, CT 06069 | 860.364.5526 | Fax: 860.364.1000 | slcc@silverlakect.org