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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
Stephanie Pitman
Business Manager


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

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! There are so many dedicated summer staff who are here, ready to help you experience incredible, fun-filled times with new friends, 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 information 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,

Anne and Tim Hughes
Co-Directors, Silver Lake

Open House at Silver Lake…

Open House tours for parents and visitors will be held on a Sunday in early May, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 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 a.m. Morning Dip at the lake (optional)
8:00 a.m. Wake Up Bell
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Cabin Clean Up
9:15 a.m. Morning Watch/Opening Circle
9:45 a.m. Conference Programs
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. Cabin Quiet Time
2:00 p.m. Ceramics, Arts and Crafts, Nature, Music
2:45 p.m. Camp Store
3:00 p.m. Swim Time
4:00 p.m. High or Low ropes/Challenge course
5:00 p.m. Conference Programs
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. All Conference Worship
8:00 p.m. Evening Programs/Campfires
8:00 - 9:00 p.m. Snack (by conference)
9:00 through 10:30 p.m. Lights Out (depending on grade level)

See conference descriptions in 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 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
CHECK–OUT Saturday (from cabin/building area)
10:00 a.m.

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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

*Don’t forget your health form and physician’s order form, completed and signed.

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What NOT to bring to Silver Lake…

Cell phones are NOT permitted and will be confiscated.  Please do NOT bring 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 also attend training sessions at Silver Lake.

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 is 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. Please call us to request an application, money need not be a barrier for attending. 860.364.5526.

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Medical Needs…

A blank Health Form is available on the website. In accordance with State Health Codes, a Health Form is current for three (3) years from the date of the exam. The Health Form must be signed and dated by the examining Physician and a parent or guardian.

All conferees must bring a current Health Form with them on Check-In day; it will be returned to you on Check-Out day. Connecticut Law prohibits Silver Lake Conference Center from admitting any child without a current health form signed by a physician. Please make sure that the health form is updated with proper emergency contacts, allergies, etc. and copy of insurance card.

If your child is taking prescription medication, you must provide a Physician’s Order Form completed by the doctor who prescribed it. State law requires that all prescription medication be properly labeled in its original container with only the amount of medication needed for the week. Please do not bring over the counter medications such as Benadryl and Tylenol as a supply of these medications is available in the Health Center, from the camp nurse.

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 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 Co-Directors prior to the start of the conference. Every reasonable effort will be made to meet your child’s special needs.

Please inform the Conference Center Co-Directors 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 Co-Directors 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 Conference Center Co-Directors.


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 Co-Directors.
  • Extreme cases of homesickness are managed by the Co-Directors. 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 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 at right.

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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 time later during the week. The swim test consists of the following:

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

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…

We encourage you to limit your child’s amount of spending money during their week. We suggest a total of $25-$35 per week including their contribution to the mission collection on Wednesday.

If you have not opened a store account previously during online registration, you can open an account at Sunday Check-in. Please be advised, that only cash or credit will be accepted for store accounts at Sunday check-in. On Saturday, at Check-Out time, any unspent money will be returned to you at the Camp Store in the same form it was deposited. This system is designed to prevent lost, misplaced or stolen money during the week.

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 to get during the regular store times during the conference.

Care & Share Packages are available for purchase as part of your online registration account. Purchase can be made after completing registration by logging into your account.

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 indicate what conference your child is attending. 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. If you would like to arrange for a carpool, a list of children registered for the same conference as your child may be obtained from the Dean of the conference.

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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 Co-Directors.

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
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 for the 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, go to the second light and turn left on to Route 4.)

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

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

- The road curves to the right, slight down hill, turn left on to Low Road (before Trotta’s and 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 1/20/2007

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