Camp can make such a difference in the life of a camper, even over Zoom. That was the great discovery of the summer of 2020. We were very happy to see so many faces in this online experience!
The theme of the summer was “Seek, love, walk,” based on Micah 6:8. Seeking justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God is a call and guide to how to live life, and Silver Lake Mennonite Camp embarked on that journey in unique ways last year.
Assistant directors Robert MacGregor and Sarah Plant wrote about their experiences: “This past summer was like nothing we had ever seen at Silver Lake. Due to COVID-19, we unfortunately had to close for the summer, but camp continued. We quickly found that our community could still be fostered over Zoom. We offered seven weeks of Camp@Home and five weeks of the Camper in Leadership Training (CILT) program. We welcomed more than 200 campers, and many friends joined weekly campfires!
“Spring outdoor education staff put together a fantastic opening Zoom campfire for the Silver Lake community. More than 90 friends of Silver Lake signed on that night, and many continued to do so week after week. Classic camp songs were sung live or played through past camp recordings, and skits were performed with the clever use of Zoom virtual backgrounds and fun costumes.
"Usually at camp, during our last song of the night, all campers and staff hold hands. This became a tradition of Zoom campfires! Campfire goers crossed their arms during the last song to emulate holding hands together at camp, creating a link of arms across Zoom screens."
“Zoom allowed us to get creative with programming. We introduced the first-ever Silver Lake book club, where campers and staff read Kenneth Oppel’s Inkling together, the highlight being a guest appearance from the author himself!”
Sadly, there is also grief reflected in the past year. With heavy hearts, the Silver Lake community grieved the passing of Fred Neufeld, Henry Pauls, Annie Bergen, Dennis Dick and John Cornies. Each of these pillars of Silver Lake was a longstanding friend of camp.
We thank God for another year and look forward to what 2021 will bring. At the start of this year, Silver Lake marks 60 years of camping and is preparing for another unique summer. It is still unclear what this season will hold, but Silver Lake is preparing for what may come, offering day camps in 14 locations across Ontario, cabin rentals, a modified overnight summer program and online back-up plans.
For information about 2021, visit slmc.ca.