2024 ACA National Award Recipients Announced

The American Camp Association® (ACA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 National Awards. The award winners will be recognized at ACA’s National Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 6-9, 2024.

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.

2024 Recipient:

  • Jane Sanborn, Rocky Mountain

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.

2024 Recipient:

  • Phil Liebson, Chesapeake
  • Carl Metzger, Esq., New England

National Service Award

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

2024 Recipients:

  • Jared Knight, Southwest
  • Johnny Domenico, Rocky Mountain
  • Andrew Kimmelman, Southern California/Hawaii
  • Darby Dame, Southeastern

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.

2024 Recipients:

  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner
    Founders, Foundation for Jewish Camp, New York/New Jersey

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.

2024 Recipient:

  • Marshall Cherry, Rocky Mountain

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.

2024 Recipients:

  • Steven R. Nelson, Oregon Trail
  • Maine Summer Camps (MSC) - Indigenous Neighbors Working Group, New England

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.

2024 Recipients:

  • Treasure Valley Family YMCA, Y Camp at Horsethief Reservoir, Oregon Trail
  • CampOut Family Camp, Michigan
  • Camp Kiwanis, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Southeastern
  • Camp Pemigewassett, Cans from Campers, New England
  • MGH Aspire, New England

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.

2024 Recipient:

  • Camp Twin Lakes, Southeastern

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.

2024 Recipient:

  • Monica Arkin, University of Massachusetts Boston, New England

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.

2024 Golden Quill Recipient:

  • John Hamilton, MA, Bedford, NH, for the article “Foster a Feeling to Cross the Generational Divide” (published September/October 2023).


  • Dave Thoensen, Lincolnshire, IL, for the article “Addressing the Elephant in Camp: Little Pay Creates Big Challenges” (Published March/April 2023), Southeastern

2024 Golden Lens Recipient:

  • Joshua Reed for the photo “Camp ‘Specs’-tacular!”; YMCA Camp Zehnder, Shrewsbury, NJ


  • Ruth Jay Royce Mabwe for the photo “Go with the Flow”; Camp Friendship, Palmyra VA