American Camp Association, Illinois

Services Portal

Professional Development Events & Conferences

    • Thursday, May 20, 2021
    • Thursday, June 30, 2022
    • 13 sessions
    • Online
    • 42

    About This Event...

    Join us for Thursday updates from ACA Illinois every month. This is time for executives, directors, and owners to gather to discuss current issues and challenges, seek advice from others, and get updates from ACA Illinois Executive Director, Colette Marquardt and Board Leadership. Jump into regular updates from our Board of Directors, Government Relations Committee as well as COVID-19 information and resources. Additionally, topics may include Accreditation, membership updates, and more. 

    Come to one or many - it’s up to you. You can even decide on the day of the event. Just think of this as a place you can come for updates and information from the Association's leadership.

    • Wednesday, October 27, 2021
    • Tuesday, December 14, 2021
    • 3 sessions
    • Online
    Registration is closed

    Let's find real solutions to the staffing crisis - together! 

    For many years, camp professionals around the country have talked about staffing challenges. Each year, the difficulty for finding and retaining seasonal camp staff has grown more difficult. The sudden onset of the pandemic only amplified this problem - it's not new, it just got harder. It’s time we start getting real about changes camps can make to recruit, hire, and retain seasonal staff - because our camps cannot function without them.

    Join a think tank group searching for intentional ideas and solutions to address this problem for their camps. Tackle questions around benefits, wages, time off, hiring procedures, culture, recruiting strategies, retention, and more. This group will lean on each other as we embrace, with curiosity, new and past methods to recruit, hire, and retain staff. 

    Why this Solutions Group on staffing?

    Promoting that working at camp is fun and builds leadership skills is not enough - camps have to rethink how they pay, recruit, train, schedule, and more in order to find the right staff to accomplish the goals. 

    FAQs about Solution Groups

    What’s a Solution Group?

    A Solution Group is a gathering of camp professionals who seek to find solutions, workshop ideas, and actively engage in solving a problem, challenge, or crisis.

    Who should attend a Solution Group?

    Any professional who is actively involved in the area of focus for the problem the group is addressing. For example, a group focused on hiring staff may include directors, managers, human resources staff, and others who participate in the hiring policy development and process. 

    What is the difference between a Solution Group and a Networking Group?

    A Solution Group requires everyone in the group to be actively involved in finding solutions. This may look like asking questions, being vulnerable with sharing new ideas, sharing real challenges, being open to new concepts, providing constructive feedback to others, and a willingness to change from what’s always been done in the past.  

    Why a Solution Group?

    Certain challenges and problems facing the camp industry are not new and are rooted in past traditions, cultural norms, bureaucracy, and the mindset of “we’ve always done it that way!” Solution Groups set out to form new ideas and develop policies and procedures that turn into change. The group will tackle hard topics from a lens of intentional and curious problem solving. Every solution may not be right for every camp, but every camp must be willing to open their minds to new strategies in order to continue to serve our campers, families, and communities.

    • Thursday, December 09, 2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • Online

    Join us for a Pay What You Can Fundraiser & Social to Support the Women In Camp Summit!

    Sponsored by Camps Rock

    Bring your favorite beverage and/or fun spirit to our virtual event and meet other fabulous humans with 6 rounds of female-focused trivia. No need to bring your own team as we will randomize the groups and you will meet some new friends. All levels of trivia knowledge are welcomed as each round will have a variety of questions.

    Be prepared for any type of question as not all category titles are what they seem… “Wild Women”, “Camp Songs”, “She got her start on SNL”, “Guess the Year”, “Sing it Sister”, “ Book Titles as Emojis"

    Registration is free. A donation is deeply appreciation. Thank you for helping us to continue to create change in the camping community.

    Camps Rock - Social Event Sponsor 

    Anne Potter

    (937) 271-0392

    Instagram: @campsrock

    Facebook: &

    Camps Rock is a fully searchable and comprehensive online directory of summer camps. Using Camps Rock, parents can search by age, grade, topic, date, location, and keyword. It is FREE to list your camps, and because each of your camps are listed separately, parents can find the exact camp that fits their family’s needs. Camps Rock is Nationwide in the US, and also in Canada.

    • Friday, December 10, 2021
    • 1:15 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Online

    Women in Camp Summit

    Sponsored by CampBrain   

    Join #ladycamppros from across the industry for two days of networking, discussion, and professional development designed specifically for those who identify as women working in or in support of summer camp.

    Visit for more information.

    Schedule (All times are in central standard)

    Thursday, December 9, 2021

    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CST: Trivia Night (click here for separate registration) 

    Sponsored by Camps Rock

    Friday, December 10, 2021

    1:15 pm - 1:35 pm CST: Welcome Program & the Dare to Lead Award

    1:45 pm - 2:45 pm CST: Development Workshop Sessions sponsored by CampMinder

    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CST: Keynote Speaker & Closing

    Keynote Speaker

    Mandi Baker, Torrens University, Australia

    The Power of Hope: What camp has taught us for this moment!

    Development Workshop Sessions

    Intersectional Feminism in Camping: A Call to Action

    Simone Gamble,

    In this workshop, participants will learn about the concept of Intersectionality and its relevance to camping. Participants will discuss the way women and femmes in camping can align their feminist politic with all women and centering those most marginalized. We will discuss gaps that exist for certain groups and learn the tools of accompliceship.

    Gather ‘round the Campfire!

    Emily (EmJ) Juszczyk, Camps and Programs Director

    They say there's an opportunity to learn from every person you come to meet and that’s the plan! Come grab a seat around the campfire that is our development round table. Bring you burning questions about professionalism in camp and set it next to the expertise you already have with you. We will be discussing a wide variety of development: professional, self-care, leadership, etc. This session is centered around types of development but like a fire in the wind, there is no telling which way we'll go.

    Not Just a Game of Capture the Flag!

    Susanna (Shoshi) Rothschild, Independent Consultant

    Even a game of Capture the Flag should have purpose behind it! Borrowing methodologies adapted from Design Thinking, participants will be led through a program development process that encourages them to design thoughtful, intentional, and meaningful programs, using their camps' mission and values as guiding principles.

    I Should've Fired That Staff Member......

    Kelly Schuna, Hidden Pines Ranch

    I should've fired that staff member.. but I didn't. Learn from my fear of firing a toxic staff member and the growth to be brave enough to handle that differently next time. Gain tools and resources on having tough conversation, implementing performance improvement plans and making the tough decision for the betterment of your staff & culture.

    Embracing LGBTQ2+ At Camp: This Ain't No 101-Level S#!*

    Kate Taylor, Camp YMCA Kanawana

    Who else is tired of conference sessions about LGBTQ2+ issues in camp that go over the glossary of terms for the first 20 minutes? This development workshop will hold space for us to get into some concrete problem solving for the traditionally gendered spaces in summer camp, and suggest immediate action steps for you to take with your organization.

    Thanks to our Sponsors!

    CampBrain - Women in Camp Event Sponsor

    Luke Williams

    CampBrain provides management and registration software to camps and conference centers. Serving 1400+ camps since 1994, with a dedicated staff of 50+ providing personal, caring support and building beautiful, intuitive software.

    CampMinder - Development Workshop Sponsor

    Sarah Braker


    Meet Campanion, the mobile app created by the team at CampMinder. Campanion helps you collect forms and re-enroll campers, while keeping your customers psyched about their investment in camp. Join the hundreds of industry leaders who are already deepening connections and getting their work done more easily. Give both your customers and team a first-class experience with Campanion this season.

    How to Register...

    You'll need to be logged into the ACA Illinois Services Portal to register. Click here to create your profile, or click here to log in.

    Please be ready to complete your payment at the time that your register. Registrations without completed payment will only be held for 15 minutes.

    For scholarship or financial support information please contact Kim Steiner at

    For additional questions email

    • Friday, April 22, 2022
    • Chicagoland Area

    Spring Conference: Friday, April 22, 2022

    Skills Lab: Wednesday, April 20 through Sunday, April 24, 2021 

    (Exact dates for each Skills Lab will be announced on January 3rd, 2022.)

    Chicagoland, Illinois*

    This is an in-person event.

    What is Base Camp? You may recall we had a Base Camp area at Mid States each year that acted as a community gathering space. Community is at the core of our mission. This year we are pleased to launch our new spring conference: Base Camp. Base Camp will be an annual camp community focused event that brings together camp professionals to network, learn, and gather in community before heading to camp for the summer! 

    This multi program event and conference has been designed to fit in your busy schedule and tackle your toughest challenges with other camp pros. With a variety of education sessions to choose from, keynote speakers, and more - this is the community to join this spring! 

    Open to ALL camp professionals. ACA membership and/or Illinois residency is not required to attend. 

    Return of the Skills Lab! Get ready for your summer and meet the Accreditation requirements by attending one of our Skills Labs. Training includes Archery Instructor Certification, Lifeguard Training, New Supervisor Training, and more. These programs are chosen to meet the requirements of the Accreditation program but are open to all camps, regardless of Accreditation status.

    Call for Proposals Are Now Open submit by January 3rd, 2022

    Base Camp Spring Conference Schedule**

    8:00a.m. to 9:30a.m.: Opening Keynote

    9:45a.m. to 11:00a.m.: Education Session I

    11:15a.m. to 12:30p.m.: Education Session II

    12:30p.m. to 1:45p.m.: Lunch (Included)

    1:45p.m. to 3:00p.m.: Education Session III

    3:15p.m. to 5:00p.m.: Closing Keynote

    6:00p.m. to 10:00p.m.: Camp Pros Social & Networking Event (Extra Ticket Required.) 

    **Schedule subject to change.

    Registration opens January 3rd, 2022

    Exhibits and Sponsorship Information

    Contact Kim Steiner at

Mailing Address:

American Camp Association, Illinois

5 S Wabash Ave

Suite 1406

Chicago, IL 60603

Phone: 312-332-0833


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