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Illinois Summer Camp Day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

About the Committee

Led by Board Member Gwyneth Emigh, the committee is all about supporting ACA Illinois members in relationship-building with our elected officials. The committee and ACA Illinois staff pay attention to legislative and government initiatives that impact camp, and camps must have relationships with their officials so if we need support, we have established relationships!

ACA Illinois CEO Colette Marquardt, several Board Members, and a few of our Camp Pros attended the May American Camp Association Camp Hill Days in Washington D.CWe met with all Illinois Representatives and Senators to let them know about our Illinois Summer Camp Day and asked them to make time to visit a camp in their own districts.

You can go to to find your State Representative, State Senator, and Federal Representative.

Please note: ACA Illinois will be working with the statewide offices - including Governor Pritzker, Senator Durbin, and Senator Duckworth - to arrange a camp visit.  If you know anyone on these representative teams, please let Colette know!

We ask that you "CC" on any email communications you have, including invites for scheduled dates. Our Government Relations Committee will be keeping track of who we’ve built good relationships with for when we need to follow up on legislative and government initiatives.

Locate Your Representatives

You can go to and find your State Representative, State Senator, and Federal Representative and reach out to them by sending an email listed on their website or through the “Contact Us” form. 

You can also invite local City Council representatives, Mayor, Commissioners, etc. The more the merrier! 

Inviting Your Representatives & Their Teams

Invite your representatives early to get on their calendars! If your Representative can’t attend themselves, consider asking if a member or members of their staff would like to attend in their place. You can also consider inviting them on a different day that works with their schedule. 

We ask that you "CC" us on any invites you send at: Our Government Relations Committee keeps track of representatives who hear from camps, the committees those representatives are on, and who you are building relationships with so when we have asks we know who has good communications with their elected officials!

Sample Email

Hello [Representative/Senator {Last Name]

My summer camp [Name of Camp/Agency], located at [Address] is in your district and I would like to invite you or someone from your office to come visit our program this summer on [Date or Date Range].

Out-of-school time programs such as summer camp are important to youth and their families in our Illinois districts. Summer camps help prevent the “summer slide” or summer learning loss; they provide opportunities for learning new experiences and practicing resiliency, and they also provide childcare for families who need safe places with trained staff to care for their children.

Whether you come for a meal, or activity, or stay for the day, I would appreciate the opportunity to show you why summer camp is an essential resource for families in our communities.

You can learn more about our program here [website address] or you can reach out to me with any questions that you have.

Thank you for your time and your service,

[Your First and Last Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Camp/Agency]

[Your Work Email

[Best Number to Reach You]

Social Media Images

These images may be shared publicly so long as the the original image, ratio, size, color, and content have not been altered. All images are property of and copyrighted by the American Camp Association, Illinois, 2024.







After Sending Your Invitations

Email Colette to let us know the following:

  • Did you invite any local Representatives? If so, who?

  • Did your invited Federal Representative RSVP yes? No? Any feedback received?

  • The date of your potential visit if different than the official Illinois Summer Camp Day.

After the Illinois Summer Camp Day

To bring attention to our Illinois Summer Camp Day, we ask that you do the following afterward:

Post a photo from your day with your visitors on your social media, tagging ACA Illinois, and use the hashtag #ilsummercampday. Find us on the following social media platforms:

Send a quick email to Colette to share:

    • Who attended; 

    • Any photos that we can use on our social media to promote your visit and your camp, using your social handles; and 

    • A link to your own social media posts so we can share them.

*Please do not send photos of minors.

The "DO'S" and "DON'TS" for Government Relations


  • Use their constituent website, and remember: this is not a campaign visit! You can typically tell Representatives apart by introductions or the use of “For” or “4” in the website address, or on the page indicating they are running for office. They also might refer to volunteers as “friends” to signify volunteering for their campaign specifically.

  • Get excited if they send a staff member in their stead! They will likely send someone whose expertise is in youth development or social services, and those staff work closely with the elected official to make voting decisions and prioritize issues.

  • Take pictures throughout the visit! Make sure to double-check the photograph consent for your campers and ensure with your camper’s adults before you share any photographs of the day. Some parents might have feelings about their children being associated with politics.

  • Work with your organization, if applicable, before reaching out with an invitation. You may already have an established relationship with the representative!

  • Join their mailing list so you can see events in the district! 


  • Be discouraged if they can’t attend. Remember: you can invite them again next year!  Also, be mindful of where you put your focus and optimism. There are 118 State Representative Districts, 59 State Legislative Districts, and 17 Federal Representative Districts, so your most likely attendee is your State Representative.

  • Talk about elections or voting, especially if you are a nonprofit.  These visits are to create community with our elected officials, not to keep them in office or get them out.

  • Go out of your way to make the day a special event. The goal is to showcase camp exactly as it is, so it’s okay for our Representatives to see that.

  • Think that this is just an Illinois event. If you are an ACA Illinois member but do not operate in the state, we still want you to reach out to your officials based on your camp’s operating address. They represent your business and the tourism that happens in that district and we need to build relationships with them as well.

After Your Camp Visit

  • Double-check with parents that you can share a photograph of them with the elected officials. While you might have parental consent for photographs, your camper’s adults might not want their campers affiliated with politics.

  • Share on social media and your website thanking the elected official for visiting your camp. Share your discussions about the importance of summer camp and what camp means to the families you serve. Don’t forget to tag their government office - many representatives also have campaign accounts - and also tag ACA Illinois. These things will go a long way in developing relationships with your Representatives! 

  • Send an official thank you letter and/or email with photos from the day! Again, this encourages your Representative(s) to continue fostering a relationship with you and your camp.

  • Send a press release and/or high-quality video to your local newspapers/radio stations/TV channels, letting them know about the visit.

Sample Press Release

For Immediate Release




[Camp/Agency Name] was honored to host [Representative Title and Name] to discuss the importance of out-of-school programming, specifically summer camps!

[Date] - [Representative Title and Name] joined the [Your Position Title] and seasonal staff of [Camp/Agency Name], to see and enjoy the powerful impact of summer camp! Summer camps across the state of Illinois have been inviting their local Representatives to come and experience a day at camp this week. We were able to demonstrate the value of out-of-school time programming, and how it supports the development of social-emotional skills by keeping campers safe while schools and day programs are out of session.

[Add details here about the day and what Representatives did while they were at camp. Be sure to add details about any State/Federal Funds your camp(s) receives, such as but not limited to: any block/business grant, Summer Food Program, Title XX, Daycare funds, etc.]

[Add a quote here from a camper/staff member/yourself talking about what the day was like, expressing gratitude for the Representative attending, what it was like participating in an activity/eating a meal with them, etc.]

For more information about [Your Camp/Agency], you can go to our website [Website], or follow us on our social media platforms [Include the tag and sites you are ACTIVE on]. You can also contact our media representative, [Media Contact Person].

[Create a line about any licensing, accreditation affiliations, memberships, etc. that the camp is].

Buy Illinois Summer Camp Day Shirt!

Buy our exclusive Illinois Summer Camp Day or Camp is Essential shirts from our ACA Illinois Bonfire store! We've got short-sleeved, long-sleeved, and even sweatshirts.

Buy a Shirt!

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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



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