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Silver Lake Parent Information Guide

Silver Lake Conference Center
223 Low Rd.
Sharon, CT 06069
Phone: 860.364.5526
Fax: 860.364.1000

Tim Hughes
Executive Director


Area Lodging and Dining Misconduct
Cabin and Bunking Assignments Open House at Silver Lake
Camp Store, Care Packages, Spending Money Scholarships and Financial Aid
Calling Home Swim Tests
Check-In/Check-Out Times Special Needs
Deans and Counselors Transportation
Directions Typical Day at Silver Lake
Homesickness Visits
Lost and Found Items Welcome
Mail and Faxes What to bring (and not to bring) to Silver Lake
Medical Needs

Click here to download this document in PDF format.

Welcome. . .

Welcome to Silver Lake! If you've never been here before, or if you're coming back for the umpteenth time, you're in for a treat! Our dedicated summer staff are ready to help you experience incredible, fun-filled times with new friends and great stuff to do in the magnificent beauty of God's creation, and to help you discover your spiritual gifts. We are grateful you'll be joining the adventure of Silver Lake this summer. In this booklet, we've explained the nuts and bolts of what you and your parents need to know to have a successful time, to bring what you need, and to find out how to get here!

Please read the whole guide, and feel free to call us or email us with any questions you have. Come back often, and enjoy what's been so special, for many generations about coming to The Lake. See you this summer.

Peace in Christ,
Tim Hughes
Executive Director, Silver Lake

Open House at Silver Lake…

Open House tours for parents and visitors will be held on a Sunday in May from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Check the website for the dates. This is a wonderful opportunity for families and conferees to learn more about Silver Lake and to meet staff. We highly recommend that you attend an Open House, especially if your child will be attending Silver Lake for the first time.

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A Sample Day at Silver Lake…

7:30 am Morning Dip at the lake (optional)
8:00 am Wake Up Bell
8:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Cabin Clean Up/Composting
9:15 am Morning Watch/Opening Circle
9:45 am Conference Programs
12:30 pm Lunch
1:15 pm Cabin Quiet Time
2:00 pm Ceramics, Arts and Crafts, Nature, Music, Theater
2:45 pm Camp Store
3:00 pm Swim Time
4:00 pm High or Low ropes/Challenge course
5:00 pm Conference Programs
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm All Conference Worship
8:00 pm Evening Programs/Campfires
8:30 pm Snack time
9:00 through 10:30 pm In cabin - get ready for bed (depending on grade level)

See conference descriptions in the summer calendar for individual conference program themes and special events.

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Summer Conference Check-In/Check-Out Times…

Please observe arrival and departure times as these are busy days and the conference center must be cleaned and prepared between the time one group leaves and the next arrives.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
CHECK–OUT Saturday (from cabin/building area)
10:00 am

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What to bring to Silver Lake. . .

We recommend that each child bring the following clothing and supplies when attending a conference at Silver Lake:

Bedding/Linen Clothing
  • Sleeping bag or bedding
  • Pillow
  • Bath Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Beach Towels
  • Blanket
  • Shirts
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Raincoat
  • Sneakers or closed toed shoes (for Challenge Courses)
  • Shower Flip-flops
  • Windbreaker
  • Swimsuit (s)
  • Sweatshirt
Toiletries Supplies
  • Shower Caddy (to carry supplies)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Bible
  • Camera
  • Stationery/stamps
  • Flashlight

*Everyone who comes to Silver Lake during the summer must have a complete health record on file (even adults attending Family Camp!). Please see your online registration account for health forms. The Doctor's Signature Page is good for 3 years from the date of the doctor's signature. Physicians order form (to dispense medication) must be updated annually.

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What NOT to bring to Silver Lake…

Cell phones are NOT permitted and will be confiscated. Please do NOT bring: alcohol, illegal drugs, weapons, expensive jewelry, pets, pocket knives, fireworks, gum, candy, food, or valuables, including electronic and handheld devices: cell phones, radios, mp3 players, CD players, beepers, laptops, walkmans, or video games. Silver Lake cannot be responsible for items that may be lost, stolen, or broken.

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Deans and Counselors…

In the tradition of United Church of Christ summer camps and conferences, Silver Lake Deans and Counselors are volunteer leaders predominantly from UCC Churches. They make a one week (or more) commitment to Silver Lake as a form of service to the church and the Christian community. Deans are selected by the Co-Directors, in conjunction with the Silver Lake Board. Deans attend a training weekend in March, develop their conference program, and recruit their volunteer staff of counselors. Counselors are at least 16 years old and most have been recommended by local church pastors. Counselors must attend training sessions at Silver Lake and do online training as well. We perform background checks through an outside security company, Praesidium, on all volunteers over 18.

Cabin and Bunking Assignments…

We have found throughout our long and rich history of summer conferences that conferees make new friends faster and easier if they room with new people. We encourage parents to help their children understand that part of the Silver Lake experience is making new friends. If your child registers for a conference with a close friend, please assure the children that they will see each other throughout the day even if they are not assigned to the same cabin or bunkroom.

Scholarships and Financial Aid…

Scholarships and financial aid are available through many local churches. Please check with your local church regarding assistance in paying for a conference at Silver Lake. Scholarships are also available, on a limited basis, through the Scholarship Fund of Silver Lake. The scholarship application is available through your online account. Please call us for more information. Money need not be a barrier for attending.

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Medical Needs…

Please fill out the online Camper Health History form for each of your children attending camp. It can be accessed through your online registration account.

Your child will still need to be examined by a physician, who must sign a form indicating an exam has been performed. You may download Silver Lake's form while logged into your account, or you may substitute another form (school form, state form, doctor's office form). In accordance with State Health Codes, the Doctor's Signature Page is current for three (3) years from the date of the exam. If you are not able to upload the Silver Lake form to your online account, please send it to Silver Lake in advance of your conference. Fax: 860.364.1000. Email: Mail: SLCC attn: Jennifer, 223 Low Road, Sharon CT 06069.

Connecticut Law prohibits Silver Lake Conference Center from admitting any child without a current Doctor's Signature Page signed by a physician. Please make sure that your online record is updated with proper emergency contacts, allergies, etc.

If your child will bring medication to camp (including over-the-counter meds; see the Camper Health History for a list of medications kept in the health center), you must provide a Physician's Order Form completed by the doctor who prescribed it. As with the Doctor's Signature Form, you may download Silver Lake's form while logged into your account. If you are not able to upload the form to your account, please send it to Silver Lake in advance of your conference. State law requires that all prescription medication be properly labeled in its original container with only the amount of medication needed for the week. A Physician's Order form will be needed to administer any supplements (including vitamins) or non-prescription medication not covered by the nurse's standing orders.

Instructions on how to complete your health record will be sent to you in an email with the confirmation of your registration. If you have further questions, please call our office for clarification: 860.364.5526. All forms should be completed and turned in to Silver Lake (electronically or in paper form) at least two weeks before you arrive at camp.

A full-time nurse is on site for medication administration and minor medical needs. If there is a medical emergency, every effort will be made to contact you (parent/guardian) immediately. Your child's medical insurance (or yours) will be used first by the physician or emergency medical service. Silver Lake provides limited medical coverage for accidental injury, subject to the group policy terms and conditions. Pre-existing conditions must be covered by the parent's medical plan. Conferees who are not medically restricted are expected to participate fully in all activities, programs, meals, worship, and recreation.

Special Needs…

Silver Lake Summer Conferences provide an environment that seeks to nurture children and youth of many ability levels so that all may have the opportunity to share in the riches of our Christian Community. It is our sincerest wish to ensure a positive conference experience for all God's children. We strongly encourage parental involvement ahead of their conference to ensure programs and facilities meet the requirements of your individual child.

If your child has special physical, mental, developmental, or dietary needs that require special support, please contact the camp prior to the start of the conference. Every reasonable effort will be made to meet your child's special needs.

Please inform the camp of any special circumstances that your child may be facing prior to arriving at Silver Lake. A recent death of a loved one, family divorce, or a change in medication may contribute to a child's behavior while at Silver Lake and any information you share with us will assist us in understanding and meeting the needs of your child. All information shared with the camp will be handled confidentially.

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Any conferee who uses illegal drugs or alcohol, abusive language, promotes or participates in sexual behavior/misconduct, or demonstrates aggressive/violent behavior will be asked to leave Silver Lake immediately. The conferee's parents/guardians and church pastor will be notified so that counseling or other relevant services may be arranged to assist the conferee and family. All issues related to misconduct will be managed by the Executive Director or Alternate Directors in his absence.


Sometimes children experience homesickness, especially if they have not been away from home or have not previously been to Silver Lake. There are several effective ways of helping your child work through the sadness of being away from home. Sometimes this may take a few days, so please be prepared! Based on our experience with children and homesickness, we suggest the following strategies:

  • Please do not promise your child that you will come and pick them up if they call home. This may set them up for failure.
  • Understand that there are many people working to help your child have a successful experience: Deans, counselors, the SLCC Nurse, chaplain, and Executive Director, as well as the Summer Staff.
  • Extreme cases of homesickness are managed by the Executive Director. If it is advisable, we will call you to discuss options about how to manage your child's situation.
  • It is helpful if you make immediate contact with your child by sending a letter early in the week (some parents prepare them ahead of time so they can be mailed early enough to arrive on the Monday or Tuesday of the child's conference). You may also fax a message to your child at 860.364.1000. Please limit faxed messages to one page without a cover page and be sure to note what conference they are attending. Please keep the message upbeat and do not focus on how much you miss your child as this can trigger homesickness.
  • If you, as the parent, are having a bad case of missing your child, please do not let on! Of course, let them know that they are missed and loved, but encourage them to make new friends and to have a great time staying at Silver Lake!
  • For further tips on avoiding homesickness, check the links on our website,

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Calling Home …

We have found that children can avoid feelings of homesickness by getting involved in the conference. Conferees are discouraged from making telephone calls home as this invariably makes them more homesick.

Swim Tests…

Silver Lake provides two swimming areas at the waterfront. There is a shallow entrance area for conferees who do not wish to take or who do not complete the swim test or who are beginner swimmers. The deeper swimming area is available for those who have successfully completed the swim test.

The swim test is optional and can be taken during Check-In on Sunday or at any swim time later in the week.

The swim test consists of the following:

  • Swimming 6 lengths between the docks, any stroke, nonstop.
  • Treading water for 90 seconds.

If a child does not successfully complete the swim test on their first try, they are encouraged to try again later in the week.

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Camp Store, Care & Share Packages, Spending Money…

Each day, your child will have a chance to visit the Camp Store to purchase a snack and drink or an item of Silver Lake memorabilia. On Wednesday, Missions Day, they will have the opportunity to designate part of their camp store money to the summer missions that they learn about on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We suggest a total of $25 or more per week including their contribution to the mission collection on Wednesday (typical snack cost per day is $3).

We encourage you to set up your child's Camp Store account online before you get to camp. This will make your Sunday Check-In speedier. See the FAQ on the registration site for instructions on how to add money to your Camp Store account. If you do not set up your store account before you get to camp, you will be able to do that during Sunday Check-In. This system is designed to prevent lost, misplaced or stolen money.

On Saturday, at Check-Out time, stop by the Camp Store to collect any unspent money. Money left in store accounts at the end of the summer will be considered a donation.

The Silver Lake Camp Store is open on Saturdays during Check-Out so that conferees and their families may purchase the photo CD from their week and memorabilia items which they may not have had time (or money) to get during the regular store times during the conference.

The Silver Lake Camp Store encourages parents to purchase our special Care & Share Packages in advance. You can order them online through your registration account. For instructions on how to add a Care & Share Package to your registration, please see the FAQ icon on the toolbar on your online registration account. You will have the option to purchase a Care & Share Package during Check-In with a credit card or cash. We cannot accept checks.

Lost and Found Items…

The very best way to prevent the loss of an item while at Silver Lake is to label all articles of clothing, towels, bedding, and other personal items. If your child is missing a particular item, the staff will make every effort to help him/her find the item in the Lost and Found. At the end of each week, prior to and during departure, all items from the Lost and Found are displayed near the Summer Office and Camp Store. It is a good idea to check for any missing items before departing from Silver Lake.

All unclaimed, unmarked clothing/personal items are held at Silver Lake for 30 days. If they are still unclaimed after 30 days, we donate them to a local charity.

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Mail and Faxes…

We encourage you to write to your child while he/she is at Silver Lake. You may also send a fax to your child at 860.364.1000. Please limit faxes to one page, without a cover sheet. Please be sure to write the name of your child's conference on the fax. Mail may be sent to:

Conferee’s Name
Title of Conference
223 Low Road
Sharon, CT 06069


Transportation to and from Silver Lake is the responsibility of each conferee and their family. Check with others in your church to see who might be going the same week so you can car pool. If someone other than a parent or guardian is dropping off or picking up your child, please indicate this on the online Alternate Driver form, accessed through your registration account. Paper forms will be available at Check-In.

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Parent/Guardian Visiting Silver Lake. . .

In our experience, we have found that parents/guardians visiting their children during their conference can be extremely disruptive to the conferee's experience. Therefore, Parents/Guardians may only visit the Conference Center during their child's stay if prior authorization is obtained from the Executive Director.

Area Lodging…

Some families have found it helpful to stay in the area on Friday night before picking up their children at departure time on Saturday morning, especially if they are driving a long distance. If you would like to stay in the area, here are a few of the local lodging facilities that we recommend:

Wake Robin Inn
Mary Stuart House
Sharon Country Inn
(Formerly Sharon Motor Lodge)
Camping Facilities:
Housatonic State Park
Lone Oaks Camp Site
East Canaan
Local Dining:
13 West Main St.
Country Corner Restaurant
Gay St.

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Travel Directions to Silver Lake Conference Center…

From Torrington:

- From Exit #44 on Route 8: Follow signs to Route 4 West (from the South, go straight at the end of the ramp to the second light and turn left).

- CT Route 4 into the center of Sharon, four way stop.

- Turn right on to Main Street; follow town green on your right.

- The road curves to the right, slight down hill, turn left on to Low Road (before the gas station)

- Follow Low Road to SLCC (ap. 1.5 miles).

From New Haven:

- Route 34 to Route 8 - continue with directions from Torrington above.

From Waterbury:

- Directions from Route 8 continue with directions from Torrington above.

From Danbury:

- Route 7 North to Cornwall Bridge and the intersection with Route 4

- Turn left on to Route 4, travel on Route 4 to the center of Sharon.

- Follow directions above from center of Sharon.

From Hartford:

- Route 84 West to Route 4 (Exit for Farmington).

- Follow Route 4 through Torrington, directions as above from Torrington, Route 4.

From New London:

- Route 9 North to Route I-91 South (exit 20S).

- I-91 to merge with I-691.

- I-691 to Route I-84 West to Waterbury.

- Route 8 (exit 20) in Waterbury.

- Follow directions as above from Route 8 in Torrington above.

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Revised 5/14/2015

The Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ
United Church Center
125 Sherman Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06105