Silver Lake Award Celebration Honors Rev. Davida Crabtree
By Brian Lapis
The Silver Lake community spent the afternoon of October 14th celebrating The Rev. Davida Crabtree, and supporting UCC outdoor ministry at Silver Lake Conference Center.
The Silver Lake Award Celebration, lifted up the (ongoing) life's work and ministry of the Rev. Crabtree, the recipient of the 2nd Annual Silver Lake Award. The Silver Lake Award honors someone who has been shaped by the mission of Silver Lake, and has gone on to do great things in the world beyond camp.
Davida's camp experience goes all the way back to Silver Lake's first summer, in 1957. In her remarks, she recalled the "kitchen table" chat with her parents and pastor, convincing her to give summer camp at Silver Lake a try. That "trial run" became decades of trailblazing ministry and service for the United Church of Christ.
"We are here to recognize a leader among leaders, a fierce advocate of justice for all God's children, a person who is a legend among us," said The Rev. Kent Siladi, Connecticut Conference Minister. "Silver Lake is in Davida's blood. She brings it up in so many conversations. She is an advocate and ambassador for the transformative power of outdoor ministries."
Connecticut Conference Regional Minister The Rev. Mary Nelson related a story of pointing out the name "Dee Foy" painted on the wall of Silver Lake's historic Camp Family Cabin to some young women on the camp staff. "I told them that Dee Foy and Davida Crabtree are the same person. The first female Senior Minister in Connecticut; the fourth female Conference Minister in the whole United Church of Christ; a big-deal mover and shaker; a waymaker and mentor to countless leaders, male and female. Once upon a time, she was a teenager on Camp Family, living in that cabin, spending her summers in service and in community, just like them. Now she is a living legend across the United Church of Christ."
The Rev. Nelson also relayed accolades from leaders across the United Church of Christ including The Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, who described The Rev. Crabtree as a "total badass when it comes to confronting sexism, racism and other social evils."
The Garden party is one of Silver Lake's signature fundraising events, and an opportunity for camp friends to spend some quality time together.
"The Second Annual Silver Lake Award was a spirit-filled celebration of the ministry of Silver Lake and the work The Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree has done at and on behalf of Silver Lake and a reflection of the way she has been shaped by the Silver Lake ministry," said The Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer, Silver Lake's Executive Director. "Simply stated, Silver Lake changes lives and there was no shortage of people at the event sharing those life transforming encounters. It was wonderful to have so many folks gathered who love Silver Lake so dearly and who love The Rev. Crabtree."
The 100 people at the gathering hailed from all over New England and as far away as Paris, France, and they spanned all six decades of the camp's history. Attendees bid on over 30 items in a silent auction, many of which had unique ties to the camp and/or were hand crafted by Silver Lake alumni & staff. The silent auction raised over $4000 for Silver Lake. There was also an opportunity to make a direct donation to Silver Lake's scholarship fund, which provides young people a week of summer camp, regardless of their ability to pay.
“I am simply overwhelmed by the honor of receiving the Silver Lake Award, all the over-the-top words of affirmation and the presence and gifts of so many," Crabtree said. "Keeping SLCC strong is a mission that belongs to all of us. I’m grateful that I have been able to help further that mission. Lives are transformed at SLCC all year long and throughout people’s lives - that’s why we do it!”
True to form, in her remarks at the event, Crabtree reminded those present that Silver Lake relies heavily on financial support from alumni & friends!. Anyone who could not attend the Garden Party but would like to make a gift to support Silver Lake can go to https://www.silverlakect.org/donate Donations to the Fund for Silver Lake will be applied to a $30,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor.