COVID-19 Updates: Camp@Home Takes Off!

Posted on: July 10th, 2020 by Silver Lake Mennonite Camp

COVID-19:  We’re in this together

July 11

Quotes from Camp@Home Campers and Parents:

  • Just wanted to tell you that my camper has been LOVING Camp@Home this week!  Thank you so very very much for creating this camp for the kids.  She has loved every Silver Lake camp opportunity she’s participated in.  She would like to sign up for the Camp@Home for the week of her birthday, if possible.  She said she WANTS to go to camp on her special day.  Isn’t that great?  Thanks to Silver Lake staff for all your hard work in putting this on.  What you do matters!
  • My camper was very excited each day. It was so fun, and more engaging than expected to be honest… especially right after finishing online school. Having memories and traditions to draw on really helped. Thank you for offering this–I think she’ll be back!
  • I loved that the kids were in cabin groups for most of the time. The program was well done and exceeded my expectations. It was such a relief to have this structure for the first week of summer. Thanks to everyone for making Camp@Home a fun and creative program for our kids!
  • We appreciated the online camp. Our 7 year old camper was totally engaged for the 3 hours

Katarina Klassen, Fifth Year Staff, shared this Morning Watch with campers and staff:

The theme of the summer is seek, love, walk, so this morning I wanted to touch on love, specifically loving kindness. I’m sure that all of you agree with me when I say that I love Silver Lake! I love being up at camp during the summer, I love how green the trees are and how blue the sky is, I love the people that are there every summer and I love all of the wacky activities that happen there on a daily basis. I could go on forever about what I love about camp, and I’m sure you all could too. So when I found out that all in person summer camps had been cancelled this year, I was just so heartbroken, because that’s such a huge part of my life every year. I was so sad that I wouldn’t be able to spread or receive love and kindness from everyone because that always brings me so much joy, and I’m sure each one of you have experienced this love and kindness at camp as well. But, when Silver Lake announced that Camp@Home was happening, I had a lot of different thoughts about it. I thought, how on Earth is this going to work?? There’s no way this will feel the same as going up to camp during the summer! And of course, it’s not the same as physically going up to camp, we have all experienced how different Camp@Home is throughout this week. We can’t swim in the pond or go rock climbing or anything like that. But different does not necessarily mean bad. Instead, this year we have been able to get creative with our everyday activities, and come up with new and exciting sessions for you all every day. And what I realized really early on while working Camp@Home is that Silver Lake doesn’t necessarily have to be about the place itself, but rather it is about the community it fosters and the joy, love and kindness we can spread to each other, even online over zoom. I have felt so much love and kindness being spread to me even just over these past two weeks of Camp@Home which I am so grateful for, and I have been so lucky to still be a part of this community this summer. And I really hope that you have all been feeling this way too, because without each and every one of you, this camp community would not be possible! So since it’s our last day of camp together, I challenge you to go and find unique ways to keep spreading love and kindness to others in your life in this weird time even after Camp@Home is over today. I hope that you can all continue to be creative, stay connected with friends and loved ones, and again, spread love and kindness to those in your life who you may not have seen in a while, because, like Camp@Home has proven to me, there is always another way to foster community even if it may not seem like it.

June 5,2020

It has been a challenging week for camp.  Sadly, in accordance with Grey Bruce Public Health, and in light of the recent announcement by the government of Ontario that the state of emergency is extended to the end of June, Silver Lake Mennonite Camp will not be offering Discovery Day Camp in the Summer 2020 season. 

Information about the CILT program has now been shared with CILT families and we ask CILT families to let us know by June 15th about their camper’s participation in the program.

Information about Camp@Home will be out to families by June 15th.

We are so sad that camp is not happening at Silver Lake this summer and hope to see you up at camp as soon as possible.

May 19, 2020

Supporting and Strengthening the Silver Lake Community

As many of you have already heard, the government of Ontario today announced that there will be no overnight camps this summer and so with a heavy heart, Silver Lake Mennonite Camp is confirming the cancellation of all Summer 2020 overnight camp programs. 

We are still looking at options for CILTs (a potential online program with future weekend retreats) and Discovery Day Camp (we don’t know yet if Grey Bruce will be allowing Day Camps to operate), so for all of you with registrations in these programs, look for information about these programs by June 15th.  We ask that you wait until then to connect with Silver Lake about these programs.

Refunds will be processed over the month of July and will be processed through the credit card that was used to pay for camp fees.

During this challenging time, your support is more important than ever. We fully recognize that some families are facing significant struggles due to COVID-19.  For any family who is able to do so, we would ask that you consider supporting Silver Lake by converting all or a portion of camp registrations into donations to help off-set ongoing camp costs. Cancelling camp will have a significant financial impact for Silver Lake. There are still critical operating expenses that must be covered in order to keep Silver Lake running.

As a way of continuing to support and strengthen the Silver Lake community, Silver Lake is offering “Camp @ Home” for campers currently registered for each camp program.  Silver Lake will be in touch about this program by June 15th.

Join us this Thursday for our weekly online campfire on Zoom where we can all let out a collective scream together, and find ways to continue to support and strengthen each other.

This will be the first year since Silver Lake was founded that there will be no overnight camp during the summer. We have made this decision because we take the health and well-being of all who come to Silver Lake seriously and wish to demonstrate the utmost care and concern for our camp family.  You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers and we are truly trying to make the best decisions we can with your best interests in mind.

With your support, we will be able to continue operating in the seasons to come despite the setbacks of COVID-19. Next year we will be celebrating Silver Lake’s 60th anniversary, and we are hopeful to see what God will do beyond this milestone. We know that with the support of dedicated Silver Lake families like you, we can maintain the legacy of Silver Lake that began so long ago and continues to change lives today. We are so sad that overnight camp will not be running this summer, and we eagerly looking forward to seeing overnight campers next year!

May we each find the gift in this challenging time.  We look forward to the day when we can all be together again!

Peace to you all,

Karen Cornies                                                 Christina Reimer

Executive Director                                         Board Chair

Silver Lake Mennonite Camp                      Silver Lake Mennonite Camp

May 15, 2020

The board is set to make decisions about summer camp starting June 1.  Look for communication June 2 about that.

Today we would have been heading to Silver Lake for Family Camp but this year it was not to be so my heart is saddened by this absence.  Last night at Zoom campfire there was a beautiful construction paper campfire that a camper brought along- a reminder that we will find new ways to bring campfire home in our hearts, and that we will find our way on this road together.

At that campfire Laura and Jacob sang a song that was very popular at Silver Lake years ago called “The Road Goes Ever On and On,” lyrics by JRR Tolkien.  They sang it as a shout out to Henry Pauls, who we lovingly say is “Silver Lake Royalty!”  Some of the words are here.

The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow, if I can
Pursuing with eager feet
Until it joins in some larger way
Where paths and arrows meet
And whither then? I cannot say
When, when the wandering fire
Strikes the heart of stone
Will you follow
Will you leave your home
The road goes ever on and on
Over rock and under the trees
By caves where never sun has shone
By streams that never find the sea
Over snow by winter sown
And through merry flowers of June
Over grass and over stone
And under mountains on the moon
When, when the wandering fire
Strikes the heart of stone
Will you follow
Will you leave your home
The road goes ever on and on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And the horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known
When, when the wandering fire
Strikes the heart of stone
Will you follow
Will you leave your home

May 8, 2020

Snow is back!  But even so, there are now some beautiful birds who regularly sit outside my window.  Winter is trying its best to cross over to spring, just as we are doing our best to cross over this COVID time.

Thank you to all of you who were part of last night’s Opening Campfire.  It was so heartwarming to share that moment with all of you.  And a special thank you to Nancy and Henry Pauls for joining in.  What a gift!

Spring staff have begun their work at Silver Lake and we are looking forward to summer days.  While there are no new decisions to report, we are continuing to plan for the summer, keeping our eyes wide open to whatever news comes our way on any given day!

You are so much in our hearts and prayers these days.

Peace to you all.

April 30, 2020

Spring rains are here and outside my window fresh shoots are appearing on a rosebush.  As we continue between what was and what will be, I wish you much peace!  We are crossing the bridge to the other side.

Outdoor Education staff start on Monday and will be developing some ways to connect with the Silver Lake community, starting with “Opening Campfire” next Thursday (May 7) at 7pm at  All ages welcome!

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers many helpful tools and resources from talking with children about COVID-19 to managing your own stress and anxiety throughout this pandemic. Check out this link for info:

April 23, 2020

After a week of snow it’s time for spring to arrive and it looks like it’s coming our way!  We hope that you and your loved ones are finding ways to be kind, be calm and be safe (to quote Dr. Bonnie Henry).

The update for this week is that there will be no on-site events at Silver Lake until the end of June.  We will continue to update you as decisions are made about events and summer camp.

In the meantime, check out some great nests:



April 17, 2020

The sun and snow that fill our days this spring can remind us of the wide variety of experiences we are undergoing together in these days.  You continue to be in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.

There will be no on-site events at Silver Lake until at least the end of May.  We will continue to update you as decisions are made about events and summer camp.

In the meantime, if you and your family are looking for some music, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:23pm EST, Bryan Moyer Suderman is hosting a family singalong.  Check it out here:

Strength and courage to each one of you!

April 9, 2020

Friends of Silver Lake- you are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers as we walk through this challenging time, especially with all who have experienced heart-breaking losses.

Good Friday is tomorrow, a day in the church calendar set aside for lament to remember and acknowledge shadows,  sorrow and death.  It is followed on Sunday by Easter, a day to remember that death is not the end, that there is hope.

In these days it is fitting that a weekend set aside for centuries that acknowledges everything from death to life is here to help ground us.

May this weekend bring comfort through time to grieve, lament, cry, connect, hope, create,  laugh and live.

We are not alone.

April 2, 2020

At Silver Lake we are continuing to monitor Public Health recommendations regarding upcoming spring events and summer camp.

In light of the global situation we are beginning to plan for Family Camp being postponed to August 21-23.  Stay tuned for an update about Family Camp in early May.

Visit the WHO, the Canadian Government, and Ontario government websites for the most important and relevant updates and information regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

Reach out to or call 519-422-1401 if you want to talk further about how Silver Lake is responding to COVID-19 or about camp in general.


March 25, 2020

With an enormous global impact, COVID-19 has sparked a lot of questions.  How serious is it?  How can I avoid the virus? How do we keep loved ones safe?  When will it go away?  Will we be okay?

Some Silver Lake families are asking the question “Is summer camp going to run?”

Camp is an important part of every child’s summer and Silver Lake is currently planning for the best summer ever! We are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and if it is unsafe to run camp, it will not run.  Our highest priority is the health and well-being of staff, volunteers, campers and all who come to Silver Lake.

To help families plan for the future please note the following:

  • The Silver Lake office is closed to the public until further notice.
  • All SLMC face-to-face meetings are cancelled until further notice.
  • All SLMC on-site events are cancelled through to May 10.
  • The deadline for full payment of summer camp fees has been extended to June 1.  All March 31 pending payments will be held until June 1st. 
  • June 1 a decision will be made about the first 4 weeks of Camp (Mini Camp, Camp 1, Young Explorers Hike, Young Explorers Canoe, Camp 2, Crafts Camp, Sports Camp, Dance Camp, Climbing Camp, Boating Camp, Fishing Camp, Food and Garden Camp, CILT 1A, CILT 2A and Day Camp Weeks 1-3)
  • July 1 a decision will be made about weeks 5-8 of Camp (Teen X Hike, Teen X Canoe, Bronze Medallion/ Cross, Teen Camp, Camp 5, Skillz Camp, CILT 1B, CILT 2B and Day Camp Weeks 4-5)
  • Should any camp be cancelled, please be assured that Silver Lake will offer refunds to families who need them.

Silver Lake has consulted with the local Public Health unit (Grey Bruce) and the Ontario Camps Association, and is following recommendations and directions from them.  We will continue to update as new information is available.

Make sure to visit the WHO, the Canadian Government, and Ontario government websites for the most important and relevant updates and information regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

More information about COVID-19 and related Silver Lake protocols is below.  Look to Silver Lake’s facebook page and instagram account for connection and updates in the days ahead.

In this time of uncertainty the creativity, faith, compassion and resiliency of the Silver Lake community has been inspiring.  May we each find the gift in this challenging time.  We look forward to the day when we can all be together again!

Karen Cornies Executive Director

David Lobe, SLMC Board Chair

What’s The Situation in Canada? Ontario?

According to the Canadian government’s official website–which you can visit here, and which is a great resource to stay up to date with the latest developments–Canada first began seeing occurrences on January 15th, with infections increasing since then.  Click here to see CTV’s regular update for  tracking infections in Canada.  The Ontario government has told its citizens to continue to be vigilant as the number of cases grows.

What Can I Do To Keep Me And My Family Safe?

There are many simple measures you can take to ensure both you and your family’s safety according to the World Health Organization.

  • CLEAN YOUR HANDS. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with either an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. This helps to kill viruses that may be on your hands and stop you from spreading it to yourself and others.
  • DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. This will be tough for people who regularly catch themselves touching their face or chewing on their nails, but it’s very important. Your hands are touching surfaces all day long and there’s no way to know what viruses are living on those surfaces. Once your hand has picked up the virus, it’s easy for the virus to enter your body if you’re always touching your face and mouth.
  • PRACTICE GOOD RESPIRATORY HYGIENE.  Cover your mouth and nose with your ELBOW, not your hand, or a tissue when you cough or sneeze then dispose of the tissue right away.  If you see someone coughing or sneezing, keep at least a metre distance from them.
  • DON’T HOARD MASKS. The only people who should be wearing masks are those who are infected with COVID-19 or looking after someone with the virus. The WHO states that if you are not in either of these camps, you are wasting masks. There is a huge shortage of masks right now, which are essential for those with the virus as well as health care professionals treating the infected.
  • SELF-ISOLATE and stay home if at all possible.
  • WATCH FOR WARNING SIGNS.  Fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are all warning signs. If you start experiencing any of these, seek medical attention and call in advance.
  • FOLLOW DIRECTIONS OF YOUR LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITY.  They will have the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation in your area.

What Protocols will Silver Lake Follow at Camp?

Looking towards the summer, you may be wondering what Silver Lake will do to help keep campers safe and happy.  Silver Lake staff are committed to following sanitation protocols and are well-aware of the seriousness of COVID-19.  Silver Lake will follow several procedures for this upcoming camp season to ensure everyone at camp stays healthy and happy throughout the summer!

Below is a list of protocols that will be followed.  This list will be monitored and updated as needed as guidance from public health evolves.

Handwashing and Sanitizing

  • On Sunday before supper (or first thing Monday mornings for Day Camp) all campers will be taught the correct handwashing procedures.
  • Hand washing or sanitizing breaks after every single activity.
  • Hand washing to be emphasized before and after snack and lunch and before and after the use of the washroom.
  • Hand Sanitizer available in every cabin.

Cleaning Protocols

  • Use an EPA approved disinfectant, before and after use of any surface such as tables, desks, etc.
  • Use an EPA approved disinfectant, before and after use of any materials and equipment such as balls, pencils, board games etc.
  • The standard cleaning process for kitchens, cabins, washrooms and all buildings being used requires sanitizing all surfaces including door handles and common surfaces.
  • The kitchen follows stringent Public Health guidelines.

To Limit Spread of Germs

  • On Sunday before supper (or first thing Monday mornings for Day Camp) all campers will be taught the proper way to cover their cough: with the inside of the elbow.
  • Campers will be instructed to not touch their faces, if they do they will need to wash or sanitize their hands again.
  • Limit the games where campers are required to touch each other.

Procedures for Maintaining a Safe Environment at Camp

  • Children are asked to not come to camp if they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • If a child seems sluggish or is complaining of not feeling well, their temperature will be taken.
  •  If a child has a temperature higher than 98.9°F or 37.9°C, they will be sent home.
  •  Staff will carefully monitor campers who display other symptoms such as coughing and shortage of breath and will notify parents if these symptoms persist for more than 20 minutes.

 What’s Next?

Silver Lake will be closely monitoring updates on the COVID-19 virus in Ontario. Check back here for evolving updates regarding the virus as it relates to Silver Lake. This page will be updated once a week.