The American Camp Association, Illinois (ACA, Illinois) has a rich history of serving the youth of Chicago, tracing back to 1872 when the Chicago Congregational Church began a “fresh air camp”. As the camp movement grew throughout the late 1880’s and 1890’s, a number of agency camps from church and settlement houses came together to create the “Camps and Outings Committee” in 1919, a committee of the Chicago Council of Social Agencies. Around the same time the Camp Directors Association was born during the preparation for a “sportsmen’s show” in New York, offering a series of conferences and training courses for directors and counselors on subjects such as canoeing, swimming, nature, etc.
Eastern states and camp leaders had greater numbers of private camps than other regions; however by 1926 the few camps and camp directors of the Midwest came together to form the Midwest Section, Camp Directors Association of America, and the first “Chicago Convention”. At the 1935 annual meeting of the Camp Directors Association of America, representatives from various camping interests of Chicago voted to establish a Chicago Camp Association, which would be affiliated with the Chicago Council of Social Agencies, with the purpose of “unifying and establishing a single organization for Chicago camp people”.
The Beginning of ACA Illinois
The Camp Directors Association of America (CDA of A) Board favorably voted to approve the affiliation request from Chicago in 1935, and thus, the Chicago Section of the American Camping Association was born. The Chicago Section of the American Camping Association’s first Executive Committee included:
Note: At the same annual meeting the board voted a name change from Camp Directors Association of America to The American Camping Association).