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Recognition Awards Nominations!


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 Marquardt, Chief Executive Officer, at colette@acail.org



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Nominations Deadline is February 15, 2024.

Did you know you can nominate yourself for one of our ACA Illinois awards? You can also nominate others! Nominations are accepted for the Emerging Professional Award, the Honor Award, the Gordie E Kaplan Program Excellence Award, and the Marcy and Bob Brower Award for Innovative and Intentional Professional Development.


Please note: The Nominations Committee chooses all other award recipients.


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; and

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.

*The recipient of this award is chosen by the Nomination Committees of ACA Illinois.




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; and
  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 


To nominate an individual, organization, or yourself, please use the nomination form.



Special Recognition Award

The Special Recognition Award is given by 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. 


*The recipient of this award is chosen by the Nomination Committee of ACA Illinois.




Emerging Professional Award

The Emerging Professional Award is given by ACA Illinois to honor an outstanding 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. 

To nominate an individual, organization, or yourself, please use the nomination form.




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; and/or
  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. 

To nominate an individual, organization, or yourself, please use the nomination form.



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:

  1. Provides leadership and/or support for Innovative Professional Development through organizing events or programs for or with ACA Illinois;
  2. Trains, speaks, or shares innovative content as a speaker, individual, or facilitator that is accessible and inclusive to all;
  3. Encourages and demonstrates innovative professional development for their own camp/organization; and/or
  4. Provides significant leadership or support in the camp community that promotes intentional and innovative thinking and learning by camp professionals.


To nominate an individual, organization, or yourself, please use the nomination form.




Visitor of the Year

The Visitor of the Year is awarded to a volunteer accreditation Visitor who has gone above and beyond to demonstrate commitment and provide quality service to the accreditation program within ACA Illinois.


*The recipient of this award is chosen by the Nomination Committees of ACA Illinois.



Past Award Honorees

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. 


To see Past Award Honorees, click here.


Nomination Committee Members 

Cat Curry, Chair

Dale Adkins, Membership Committee Chair

Brad Cripe

Shauna Guglielmo

Colette Marquardt, Ex Officio



Mailing Address:

American Camp Association, Illinois   I   PO Box 5412, Evanston, IL 60204

Mailing Address:

American Camp Association, Illinois

5 S Wabash Ave

Suite 1406

Chicago, IL 60603


Phone: 312-332-0833

Email: info@acail.org

Website: acail.org

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