As with so many organizations, the pandemic was a challenge for Silver Lake Mennonite Camp in 2021. However, we were blessed last summer to have the ability to run camp programs such as the Camper in Leadership Training (CILT) program; overnight camps in August; and day camps in Toronto, Hanover, Hamilton, Kitchener, Leamington, Ottawa and Waterloo.
Alexei Derksen Hiebert, a camp staffer at Silver Lake, summarized the summer of 2021: “Going into the summer, none of us fully knew what to expect. Not being able to run in-person camps since 2019 left staff missing camp in a big way, so we jumped at the opportunity to return to Silver Lake.
“No year at camp is ever simple, and 2021 was no exception. With prioritizing health and safety, while also trying to deliver the best possible experience for campers, staff had their hands full. But everyone came together and showed so much attention and care for this place that we all love, and that made this summer one to remember.
“For me, the highlight was leading the CILT program. Seeing new leaders come together and form a close community makes me very hopeful for Silver Lake’s future.”
Thanks to the generous support of friends of Silver Lake, camp has a solid financial footing. The 60th-year funds that were raised are going towards building two new CILT cabins that will hopefully be operational for summer 2023. We are especially grateful to the Pauls’ family, who donated a cabin in honour of Henry Pauls.
Planning for summer 2022 is underway. With three stand-out assistant directors (Katarina Dyck Steinmann, Cadance Tan and Jonah Thiessen), and a full team of staff, Silver Lake is planning onsite overnight camps, out-trips, and day camps at camp and in Hanover, Leamington, Kitchener and Waterloo. We are excited to announce that, for the first time, a French out-trip is planned for Quebec in partnership with Camp Péniel, an Anabaptist camp in Quebec.
A friend of Silver Lake wrote: “Please know how very significant this work is to build up our beloved community. Happy, healthy leaders and kids make such a better possibility for all our tomorrows.”
That is the power of camp.
Fifth-year staff members Elora Neufeld, left, Saskia Snyder-Penner, Kathyana Carvajal, Katie Goerzen Sheard and Benjamin Schwartzentruber lead their closing campfire at Silver Lake in expectation for a bright 2022 camp experience. (Silver Lake Mennonite Camp photo)
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