Dean Brian Lapis with members of the Fun in the Son conference last summer.
Silver Lake staff photo
by Drew Page
SHARON (10/16/2012) -- Thirteen deans from Silver Lake's 2012 Summer conference season gathered at the Conference Center last weekend to share their experiences and explore improvements to future programs. From first-time deans to seasoned veterans, each participant brought insights which will enrich the program for all conferees in the coming years.
Each dean was asked to share some portion of their program that worked particularly well. This valuable cache of ideas sparked discussion about covenants, counselor recruitment, worship planning, and ways to ensure all children enjoy their experience with Silver Lake. Methods for disseminating these and other proven ideas were also discussed, including improving the use and visibility of the online Deans and Counselors Resource page.
Karen Ziel, Minister of Christian Education, discussed some strategies for planning worship with conferees and discussed a plan for giving deans more resources for off-season planning. Long-time dean Brian Lapis shared his process for recruiting counselors and reminded all that these volunteers are the heart of each conference.
Fun in the Son counselors lead a small group activity.
Silver Lake staff photo
"I am nothing without my counselors," said Lapis, who finished his presentation with this simple advice: "Love your counselors."
Further topics of conversation focused on dealing with a wide variety of children's needs, improving communication with parents, and helping deans with the challenges of planning and scheduling.
Silver Lake deans have gathered in the spring for several years, working together to plan their summer conferences. The fall debriefing retreat is just in its second year, helping them gather and share their learnings while the memories are fresh.
One message was clear throughout the weekend: good volunteers are critical to the success of each conference. The Silver Lake staff has already begun planning the 2013 summer program. Any adults, or teens 16 and over, who have an interest in volunteering as counselors or deans should contact the Silver Lake office at 860.364.5526.
Drew Page is Media Assistant for the Connecticut Conference UCC, and a long-time volunteer dean at Silver Lake Conference Center.