by Greg Franklin
UPDATED 11/5/20, 8:16 PM
Beginning this past Summer, I had the opportunity of re-engaging in a more rigorous schedule with my family when my daughter offered to be my chauffer since driving distances was no longer an option for me. Since my first occupation has always been "in my blood" from a teenager, that of being a reporter/editor/publisher. I have had to make special efforts to intentionally pull away from that love in order to enable other important aspects in my life to flourish--such as personal and family relationships.
The plan is to spend much more time with family members during the winter months. Although it saddens me to be away from both the Institute and the piano at First U.M. Church in Perry where I play weekly, I want more time to enjoy my family during these special years of my family's rapid growth and development. I don't want to regret not doing it.
My daily plan for the winter months is to begin my mornings with an update of the Newsletter which will be augmented by persons still on the Institute campus and communicating with me. This includes however-much information is shared with me with regards to snow, road conditions and any unanticipated events along the way. The weather and Covid-19 reports will also be updated, as will most anything that is requested by readers.
You may notice a reduction in the amount of details in a story and a reduction of graphics or photos--all of which take time to research and create. Hopefully you won't notice much of anything that matters. If so, let me know; and particularly let me know if you are willing to do some "reporting" on details with which I need help. I look forward to our continued reader-writer-comment relationships and being a continuing part of your morning coffee.
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I never fail to be amazed that somehow we have managed to keep busy year round from 2010 to the present, with Silver Lake specific, Wyoming County, surrounding counties, and miscellaneous stories of human interest. At first it was slow, but under the leadership of then-Trustee-President, Pete Mairs, improvements and efficiencies were introduced in the SLI budget that created news which we were eager to share with you.
It was always fun to look through history accounts and many pages of old photos to determine what might be interesting to both those of you who experienced "the old times," and those for whom the "memories" of history were all new. The highs and lows of Institute history helped to bring a range of emotions. We received positive comments from almost all quarters indicating the readers' general interest.
Special projects stimulated much interest for our readers, as more and more detail became available about the proposed Heritage Walkway and the paver bricks at the core of the walkway. The refurbishing of Stoody Hall, the new accessible bath room in Hoag Memorial, and the major projects involving Epworth Hall, left readers consumed with interest.
Three years into our new communications tool, came the "request" to separate from the United Methodist Church which led to several years of negotiations, proposals, and some disappointments--all of which were solid news for the community--as was the final disposition in State Supreme Court in Warsaw. Finally, 143 years after the first events at Silver Lake in 1873, the Silver Lake Institute was finally a totally independent, 501c3 corporation of its own, and what an ongoing story it came to be.
With all the talk and energies that went into separation, the suggestion came that the Institute consider a healing gesture of sorts by beginning a mini-Chautauqua that would merge our efforts with those of the Asbury Retreat Center for a whole new era of working for the wider community and fulfilling our identity as expressed in our charter. The summer of 2021 will be our fourth three-day, multi-event Silver Lake Experience (SLE) also dubbed "mini-Chautauqua."
From the first Silver Lake Experience came the idea of a second Walkway in the Institute, one that offers people an alternative to competing with the wheeled traffic on Perry Avenue. SLE registrants now make their way between Epworth Hall and the Park Tent, Stoody and Hoag by way of Ames.
As fate would have it, there was already a walkway in place and it just needed to be resurrected. Ames Avenue Walkway had historically been the "main drag" of the old Camp Wesley, Chautauqua Assembly, and Silver Lake Assembly. Prior to 1950 it served as the only connector between the old auditorium and surrounding Park, and the three historic buildings on the south side: Epworth Hall, the Hall of Philosophy (later Epworth Inn), and the Methodist Manor.
The process of re-opening Ames for pedestrians during the open season of the Institute (July-Labor Day) provided for many interesting stories of both history and potentially beautified future. Even without the additional flowers and walkways envisioned, Ames Walkway is well loved and used even when illegally parked cars on the south end, and winter snow make it difficult to transverse.
Many good things have been initiated and completed at SLI and at the Asbury Retreat Center. Neither can we ignore the many good things with regards to water quality by volunteers at SLA for which we all are grateful. Protecting and enhancing water quality is our future.