SHARON –Tom Thatcher may be new to Silver Lake – he started as Administrator on March 5 – but he has been working in summer camps since 1999 and living in the Northwest Corner for just over three years.
“Everyone’s been super welcoming and friendly,” Thatcher said of his first month. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting people, first at Deans Retreat, and now through phone calls.”
As Administrator, Thatcher acts as the camp registrar, helping families find the right week of camp for their children and navigate the required forms. He is the first voice you’ll hear on the phone and the first face you’ll see when you walk in the door. He helps out with general office work, from databases to mailings, supports fundraising efforts, and handles camp communications.
Originally from Southampton, England, Thatcher spent time in Germany and Switzerland in his youth. He first came to the United States in 1999 through Camp America, an organization that places people from Europe in American summer camp jobs. His first placement was at Camp Sloane in Lakeville, CT, just a couple of miles from Silver Lake. He served five summers at Sloane, the last three as Adventure Director.
He then returned to Switzerland, where he taught school ski camps for three years.
“Then I said to myself, I miss summer camp in America. I have to come back!”
Luckily, one of Thatcher’s friends invited him to be a wilderness trip leader at Birch Trail Camp in Wisconsin, where he met his future wife, Lisa, a fellow camp professional. Thatcher spent summers in Wisconsin and winters in Switzerland for a while before eventually moving full-time with Lisa to Breckenridge, CO, where they worked in the ski and snowboard industry.
Eventually, they moved east, and Lisa became the Camp Director at Camp Sloane three years ago. Thatcher has been teaching ski lessons at Ski Butternut in nearby Great Barrington, MA. When he learned about Silver Lake, he was excited about the chance to go back to summer camp.
“I didn’t get to go to summer camp as a kid, so I’m making up for it as an adult,” he said.
“We are thrilled to add Tom to the Silver Lake team,” said the Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer, Executive Director at Silver Lake. “Tom’s enthusiasm for summer camp and his years of experience are a tremendous asset to the year-round operation of this life-changing ministry. He has jumped in with both feet, and we are so glad to have him.”
In addition to his love for summer camp, Thatcher brings the ability to whistle five different ways, juggling skills, and a small repertoire of card tricks.
“I will never do the same trick twice to the same person, and I will never tell how it’s done,” Thatcher said.
Tom and Lisa have a 2-year-old son, Aiden, a flat-coated retriever named River, and are expecting a second child the first week of April.
Come meet Tom at Open House, May 19th, 1-5 p.m., or give the office a call at 860-364-5526 to say hi.
Jennifer Kronholm Clark is the Program Director at Silver Lake.