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The American Camp Association, Illinois is a membership and volunteer-driven organization. As a small organization, we thrive and move forward because of the collaboration of committed & active volunteers, members, and staff. The volunteers and staff of ACA Illinois partner each year to make a truly transformative impact on our state, camps, and the world. Annually, this group of remarkable individuals recognize members, friends of ACA Illinois and others for their contributions and leadership through the camp experience. 

Questions about the nomination process can be directed to Colette at 

Nominations | Deadline is December 9, 2022

Did you know you can nominate yourself for one of our awards? You can also nominate others! 

Click here to submit a nomination today! 

About the Awards

Please find the ACA Illinois Recognition Awards and criteria below. 

Distinguished Service Award: 

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor given by ACA Illinois. It is awarded to individuals who have given outstanding leadership and service to our association for at least ten years. 

To qualify, the individual must have demonstrated the following: 

1. Outstanding service to the section through participation in programs, events, and the work of the section; devotion of time above and beyond the normal volunteer commitment; and ongoing, active volunteer service. 

2. Leadership on the board of directors, committee(s), and ACA, inc. roles such as a task force, national committee or national board of directors, 

Honor Award: 

The Honor Award is given to honor individuals for meritorious service to the camp profession and ACA Illinois. 

To qualify, the individual must meet the following criteria: 

1. Be a current ACA member or former member now retired from active participation.

2. Have served in camping programs for at least ten years.

3. Have made noteworthy contributions to the section as demonstrated by at least five of the following: 

a) member of the ACA Illinois board 

b) officer of ACA Illinois 

c) chair of a committee or task group 

d) member of a committee for three years 

e) significant service to a regional or national conference or training event f) employed staff of ACA Illinois 

g) significant contribution to the public awareness of the camp profession h) significant research in the field of camping 

i) author or co-author of one or more published books or articles related to the field of camping 

j) mentoring future leaders in the camp profession 

Special Recognition Award: 

The Special Recognition Award is given by the ACA Illinois to honor groups, organizations, or individuals (e.g. parents, volunteers, board members) for their efforts to advance the value of the camp profession. The award will be made for efforts that have significance at the state and/or regional level. No more than two Special Recognition Awards will be awarded annually. 

New Professional Award: 

The New Professional Award is given by ACA Illinois to honor an outstanding new professional in the camp profession with ten or less years of full-time service. The award will be made for efforts that have significance within the resident camp, day camp, and/or retreat and conference center setting. 

The Gordie E. Kaplan Program Excellence Award: 

The Program Excellence Award is given by ACA Illinois to honor programs that develop effective, creative responses to the needs of people and/or societal problems using the camp environment; to encourage continued development of such ideas; to stimulate the exchange of creative ideas; and to present to the public examples of positive contributions camp has made to the well-being of individuals and society. 

To qualify, camp programs will demonstrate one or more of the following: 

1. Understand and make use of intergrouping – combining groups that have differences (e.g. physical abilities, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, religion, and home environment). 

2. Develop programs suited to the needs and interests of teenage campers.

3. Broaden the range of services to persons with disabilities. 

4. Emphasize awareness of interpersonal relationships and development of interpersonal skills 

5. Conduct continuing innovative and effective staff-development programs. 6. Offer support activities or leadership that significantly expands the opportunities for human growth and enrichment through the camp profession (for non-camp organizations).

To be eligible for nominations a program must have been in operation for at least one year (excluding planning and development time). Membership in the American Camp Association is not required for eligibility. Nominations will be judged on creativity and imaginative planning; relevance to the needs of participants; involvement of the target participants in the planning and implementation; adaptability and potential for replication; cooperative efforts with other organizations, agencies, or camps; and the ability of the program to meet stated objectives. 

Marcy and Bob Brower Award for Innovative and Intentional Professional Development 

The Marcy and Bob Brower Award for Innovative and Intentional Professional Development is given by ACA Illinois to a person, camp, organization, or group that demonstrates commitment and intention for creating or implementing Innovative Professional Development space, programs, or services. 

To qualify, awardee must meet one or more of the following requirements: ● Provides leadership and/or support for Innovative Professional Development through organizing events or programs for or with ACA Illinois. 

● Trains, speaks, or shares innovative content as a speaker, individual, or facilitator that is accessible and inclusive to all. 

● Encourages and demonstrates innovative professional development for their own camp/organization. 

● Provides significant leadership or support in the camp community that promotes intentional andi innovative thinking and learning by camp professionals.

Past Award Recipients

With the exception of the Special Recognition Award, a person or group cannot receive the same award more than once. The Special Recognition is specific to project, purpose, or type of service, therefore each Special Recognition Award is unique and the award can be presented to the same person more than once, so long as it is presented for different acknowledgement and reasoning. 

Distinguished Service Award

Robert Chorley 1994
Virginia Spiller 1994
Katheryn Heidrich 1995
Marcy Brower 1996
Bob Brower 1997
Russell Hogrefe 1999
Elaine Finnegan 2001
Gordie Kaplan 2002
Susan Rochlis 2004
Jack Thomas 2006
Cathola Hill 2010
Mark Burkhardt 2010
K Dale Adkins 2014
Sandra (Sam)  Thompson  2016
Michael Brandwein 2020
Dan King 2022 

Honor Award

TobyCohen Litin 2002
Sandra (Sam) Thomspn2004
SandraHupp (Dr)2006

Special Recognition Award

Delores Moses 1999  Ran the Food Service at Summer Fair
Theresa Nagel 1999 Ran the Food Service at Summer Fair
Leonard Lieberman 2001 Lobbyist in Springfield that Advocated for Camp/worked for the summer camp exemption for unemployment, minimum wage exemption for day camps.
Tom Masloski 2001 Marketing Person for Summer Fair for Several Years
Kathy Holland 2002 First Camping Person for the YMCA of Chicago
JoAnn Zimmerman 2002
Kim Hogrefe 2003 Fundraised $22,000 for his 50th for Fresh Start Fund
Pat Metz 2003 Directed the Youth Camp Licensing Dept in IDPH
Cathleen Trudelle 2003 Cook County Juvenile Court
Branda Brown 2003 Cook County Juvenile Court
Mary Beth Ryan 2003 Cook County Juvenile Court
Bonita Ghess 2003 Cook County Juvenile Court
Dale Estes 2003 Cook County Juvenile Court
Jennifer Edwards 2003 Cook County Juvenile Court
David Schwartzwald 2004 Treasurer when Finance Policies Were Developed
Mary Walker 2004 Standards Chair
Dayna Hardin 2005 SCOPE Midwest, MAIC, and Included ACA Illinois
Susan Hicks 2006 Support of DFI Title XX (IDHS)
Rosalind Dirks 2009 Support of DFI Title XX (IDHS)
Bob Brower 2017 Lifetime Achievement
Marcy Brower 2017 Lifetime Achievement
2017 Mid States Camp Conference Steering Committe
Susan Rochlis 2019 Lifetime Achievement
Colette Marquardt 2019 Innovative Professional Development to Meet Societal Needs
Kimberly Steiner 2019 Innovative Professional Development to Meet Societal Needs
Stacy Harper 2019 Innovative Professional Development to Meet Societal Needs
Beth Allison 2019 Innovative Professional Development to Meet Societal Needs
Gabrielle Raill 2019 Innovative Professional Development to Meet Societal Needs
Ruby Compton 2019 Innovative Professional Development to Meet Societal Needs
Margy Moore 2020 Support and Advocacy for the Mid States Camp Conference (Pheasant Run Conference Director)
Illinois Department of Public Health 2022 Leadership and Guidance in Protecting the Health of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity 2022 Leadership and Guidance in Protecting the Health of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Christopher  Wangard, (Dr) 2022 Advocacy Efforts for Children and Camps

Emerging Professional Award

David Leveron 1998
Laura Galindo 2001
Kurt Podeszwa 2002
David Thoensen 2004
Graham  Little 2005
DJ Newport 2006
Jill Rudolph 2007
Sabrina Hirschfeld  2007 
Kevin Gordon 2008
Judith Stanton 2008
Beth Brodzeller 2009
Cathi Fabjance 2010
Colette Marquardt  2012
Jessica Stachulak 2013
Jessica Brenner 2014
Bryce Post 2014
Karen Hedden 2015
Hanna O'Toole 2016
Gwyneth  Emigh 2019
Kimberly Steiner 2019
Stacy Harper 2020
Shauna Guglielmo 2020
Laura Harres 2022
Mark Feldman 2022

Gordie Kaplan Award

Chicago Camping Committee 1999
Illinois Fire Safety Alliance: Camp I Am Me 2002
Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois: Bright Horizons 2002
ADA 2005
Hertiage YMCA Group Day Camp 2006
Student Camp Leadership Academy 2007
YMCA North Lawndale 2008
Camp Care A Lot 2009
YMCA Camp Duncan 2010
Crystal Lake Park District 2010
Skokie Park District 2012
Brookfield Zoo Day Camp 2013
Harand Camp for the Theatre Arts 2013
JCYS Camp Red Leaf 2014
Northwestern Settlement Hourse: House in the Wood 2015
The Road Less Traveled 2016
Camp One In A Hundred 2017 
Tourette Syndrome Camp 2019
Holiday Home Camp 2022

Marcy & Bob Brower Award

Swift Nature Camp 2013
Camp Eagle Ridge 2013
Camp Bethel Horizons 2013 
YMCA Camp Benson 2014
Gordie Kaplan 2015
Colette Marquardt 2016
Michael  Brandwein 2016
Camp Stomping Ground  2017
Laura Kreigel 2017
Jack Schott 2017
Travis Allison 2018
Jolly Corley 2019
Chris Rehs-Dupin  2022

Mailing Address:

American Camp Association, Illinois   I   5 S Wabash Ave, Suite 1406   I   Chicago, IL 60603

Mailing Address:

American Camp Association, Illinois

5 S Wabash Ave

Suite 1406

Chicago, IL 60603

Phone: 312-332-0833



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