2023 ACA National Award Recipients Announced

The American Camp Association® (ACA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 National Awards. The award winners will be recognized at ACA's National Conference in Orlando, Florida, from February 21–24.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor presented to a member of the American Camp Association. The award recognizes an individual for outstanding service in the field, as well as leadership within ACA.

2023 Recipient:

  • Tish Bolger, Northland

National Honor Award

The National Honor Award is designed to recognize meritorious service by an ACA member or former member for noteworthy contributions to the advancement of camp through leadership and industry.

2023 Recipient:

  • William “Bill” Jones, Northland

National Service Award

The National Service Award is designed to recognize continued and increasing service to ACA at the national level.

2023 Recipients:

  • David Peterson and Nancy Garran, New England
  • Nancy Hartmann, New England
  • Maria Horner, Southern California/Hawaii 
  • Sterling Nell Leija, Rocky Mountain
  • Mike Stillson, Southern California/Hawaii
  • Elizabeth “Liz” Young, New England
  • Anne Weinberg, Heart of the South
  • Andrea Yenter, Wisconsin

Hedley S. Dimock Award

The Hedley S. Dimock Award is given to one who contributes to camping through related fields such as outdoor education, conservation, recreation, medicine, education, architecture, or social sciences.

2023 Recipients:

  • Matt Buczek, New York and New Jersey
  • Rachel Fendell Satinsky, Keystone

Jack Weiner Leadership Award

The Jack Weiner Leadership Award is designed to support a young person who is pursuing a career in the camp field. The award ensures professional development by providing financial support for the recipient to attend and fully participate in the ACA National Conference.

2023 Recipient:

  • Jordan Pugh, Texoma

Special Recognition Award

The Special Recognition Award is designed to honor groups, organizations, or individuals for their efforts to promote camp on a national level.

2023 Recipients:

  • Terry Ackley, Southeastern
  • Michelle Koplan, Oregon Trail

Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence

The Eleanor P. Eells Award for Program Excellence is designed to honor programs that develop effective, creative responses to the needs of people and/or societal problems using the camp environment or programs which demonstrate the positive contributions the camp experience has on the well-being of individuals and society.

2023 Recipients:

  • MedCamps of Louisiana, Inc.
  • DC Department of Parks and Recreation — DPR Boost Camp, Chesapeake
  • Camp Aldersgate — Kota Camps, Heart of the South
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul Detroit — Camp Ozanam, Michigan
  • Camp Hometown Heroes — Grief Therapy and Healing through Camp Experiences, Wisconsin
  • Roundup River Ranch — Joy, Delivered, Rocky Mountain

Eleanor P. Eells Award for Research in Practice

This award recognizes excellence in research practices that improve program practice or evaluate the outcomes of the camp experience.

2023 Recipient:

  • Tim Hortons Foundations Camps: “Continuous improvement and program quality assessments,” Heart of the South

Marge Scanlin Research Award

Marge Scanlin was a driving force behind many of the research efforts of ACA. Upon her retirement, this award was established as an ongoing tribute to recognize Marge’s contributions. The monetary award is given annually to a student in recognition of their completed research efforts that result in originality, innovation, and significant contribution to the advancement of the body of knowledge concerning the camp experience. In addition to being presented with the award at the national conference, the winner will present the research at the Research Symposium.

2023 Recipient:

  • Meagan Ricks, University of Utah, Southwest

J. Wendell and Ruth T. Howe Golden Quill and Golden Lens Awards

These awards, which are funded through a memorial established in J. Wendell and Ruth T. Howe’s name, encourage excellence in writing and photography. The awards recognize those individuals who contribute their talents to Camping Magazine through quality articles that address the needs of camp professionals and outstanding photography.

2023 Golden Quill Recipient:

  • Kathleen “Mo” Taylor, OTR/L, Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the article “Life and Autism: How Camps Can Support Campers and Staff on the Autism Spectrum” (published Jan/Feb 2022)


  • Kim Aycock, MST, for the article “Commitment: How Do We Earn It — and How Do We Keep It? (Published March/April 2022), Southeastern
  • Jolly Corley, MS, for the article “Commitment: How Do We Earn It — and How Do We Keep It? (Published March/April 2022), New England

2023 Golden Lens Recipient:

  • Luke Coxhead for the photo “Wings of Wonder”; Camp Chinqueka, New England


  • Sasha Calderon for the photo “Riding the Camp Wave”; YMCA Camp Surf, Imperial Beach, San Diego, CA